The First Art Newspaper on the Net Established in 1996 United States Friday, October 24, 2014


After Twenty-Seven Years and $45 Million, Taiwan Restores Ornate 19th Century Mansion
Restored ornate carvings and paintings line rooftops of the famed 150-year-old Lin Family Mansion in the town of Wufeng, Taiwan. The Lin Family Mansion, a complex of five buildings on 7.4 acres, is one of Taiwan's most important historical sites, a rare example of the ornate architectural style favored by nobles from southern China in the waning years of the Qing dynasty. AP Photo/Wally Santana.

By: Annie Huang, Associated Press

WUFENG (AP).- Twenty-seven years in the making, the $45 million renovation of a 150-year-old Taiwanese homestead is finally nearing completion. The Lin Family Mansion — a complex of five buildings on 7.4 acres (3 hectares) — is one of Taiwan's most important historical sites, a rare example of the ornate architectural style favored by nobles from southern China in the waning years of the Qing dynasty.

The renovation has been a painstaking process, with workers facing a variety of challenges — not least a devastating earthquake — to return the 19th-century structures to their original glory.

The complex in Wufeng, an hour by high-speed rail from Taipei, is expected to open to the public at the end of 2011. It sits near a scenic mountain and a lake retreat. Members of the Lin family still live in the mansion and will share their quarters with what the government expects will be an onslaught of tourists.

A family of unrivaled wealth and political influence in central Taiwan, the Lins began building their homestead in 1858.

Like many early immigrants to the island off China's coast, the ancestors of the Lin family arrived from Fujian province in southern China. To construct their homes they brought workers from their native province as well as building materials including cedar wood and large slabs of granite.

The main structure in the original complex — the Gongbao Official Residence — was built by military strongman General Lin Wen-cha, who gained fame leading militiamen against pirates in Taiwan and then, on the Chinese mainland, fighting rebel forces in the Taiping Rebellion. Lin died there in battle in 1864, and his son — also a general — completed the homestead's construction.

The Gongbao Official Residence consisted of five courtyards and 108 rooms — a scale reserved for top officials. It was characterized by elaborately painted and meticulously carved doors, with pillars extending up to the ceilings. The main reception area was adorned by impressive portraits, beautiful calligraphic scrolls and other high end works of art.

A central element in the residence was an exquisite theater and a grand banquet hall, which served as the center of the Lin family's social life.

Though Lins continued to live in the complex, through the Japanese occupation of the island and the Nationalist Party takeover in 1945, decades of neglect had reduced it to a shadow of its former self by the 1960s. Today, the mansion is the largest 19th-century structure left on the island.

Renovation work funded by the government began in 1984.

When work began, the theater, whose wooden beams locked seamlessly without nuts and bolts, was in ruins. Lai Chih-chang, a member of the National Taiwan University team that took the lead in the restoration, said he had no idea how to replicate its former glory.

But in the attic of one of the houses, he found three dusty trunks containing glass negatives of the original structures that enabled architects to draw up a plan.

The restored theater features the original's upward sloping roof and a raised platform with gilded, intricate wood carvings. Under the ceiling is a multilayered, octagonal dome that projects the building's acoustics from stage to audience.

Lai said the restoration has helped preserve an important regional style.

"This is the one mansion that has integrated various building arts in southern China," he said.

The project was nearly abandoned following a 7.6-magnitude earthquake that hit central Taiwan in 1999, when the work was nearly complete. The government wanted out, but architects and art lovers intervened, and the work continued, with additional government funding.


Copyright 2011 The Associated Press.





Today's News

August 1, 2011

Living Room Installation at The Jewish Museum Evokes Everyday Life in 1930s Berlin

National Veterans Art Museum in Chicago's South Loop Battles for Survival

Propaganda Posters of Soviet Union on View for First Time in Six Decades at the Art Institute

Museum of Fine Arts, Boston to Unveil Linde Family Wing with 24 Hours of Celebration

Santa Clara University's de Saisset Museum Explores Homelessness from the New Deal to the Present

Singapore's Pop and Contemporary Fine Art Celebrates the Artwork of Yayoi Kusama

MoMA PS 1 to Look at Art from the Past 50 Years from a Post 9/11 Perspective     

Forty-Five Magnificent Landscape Paintings on View at Peabody Essex Museum

After Twenty-Seven Years and $45 Million, Taiwan Restores Ornate 19th Century Mansion

Goodwood Pays Tribute to The Horse Collaborating with Tim Flach for the Annual Summer Exhibition

Gwangju Biennale Foundation Announces Six Young Asian Women as Joint Artistic Directors

The Spectacular of Vernacular on View at the Contemporary Arts Museum in Houston

MOVE: Art and Dance Since the 60s on View at Stiftung Kunstsammlung Nordrhein-Westfalen

Early U.S. Coinage Experiments, Proof Rarities Lead Heritage U.S. Coin Auction In Chicago

Distillery to Make South Carolina's First Legal Moonshine; will Include a Museum

Travel Picks: Online Travel Adviser Cheapflights Offers Its Top Ten Museum Destinations

Aspen Art Museum Presents an Exhibition of New Works by Internationally Renowned Artist Haegue Yang

CAM Raleigh Presents First U.S. Museum Show of Commissioned Works by Artist Rebecca Ward

Smithsonian's National Numismatic Collection to Present "Good as Gold: America's Double Eagles"

Rare Packard Tops RM's Sale at the Concours d'Elegance of America at St. John's

Germany's Pergamon Museum Returns Ancient Sphinx of Hattusa to Its Home in Turkey

Philanthropist Ruth Perelman, a Major Donor to Institutions in the City of Philadelphia, Dies at 90

Brooklyn's Bushwick Neighborhood Quickly Becomes World-Class Arts Mecca

Most Popular Last Seven Days



1.- Image of a Christ without a beard, short hair and wearing a toga unearthed in Spain

2.- Giant mosaic unearthed in mysterious tomb in Amphipolis in northern Macedonia

3.- Bonhams sale of 18th century French decorative arts to benefit Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco

4.- Paris flustered by erection of 'sex-toy' sculpture; Paul McCarthy slapped by a passer-by

5.- High art or vile pornography? Marquis de Sade explored in Orsay museum exhibition

6.- 'Cubism: The Leonard A. Lauder Collection' opens at the Metropolitan Museum of Art

7.- Greek culture minister says Elgin Marbles return a matter of 'global heritage'

8.- Vandals deflate Paris 'sex-toy' sculpture by American artist Paul McCarthy after outrage

9.- Exhibition at National Gallery in London explores Rembrandt's final years of painting

10.- 'Hans Memling: A Flemish Renaissance' opens at the Scuderie del Quirinale in Rome



Museums, Exhibits, Artists, Milestones, Digital Art, Architecture, Photography,
Photographers, Special Photos, Special Reports, Featured Stories, Auctions, Art Fairs,
Anecdotes, Art Quiz, Education, Mythology, 3D Images, Last Week, .

 

Founder:
Ignacio Villarreal
Editor & Publisher: Jose Villarreal - Consultant: Ignacio Villarreal Jr.
Art Director: Juan José Sepúlveda Ramírez - Marketing: Carla Gutiérrez
Special Contributor: Liz Gangemi - Special Advisor: Carlos Amador
Contributing Editor: Carolina Farias

Royalville Communications, Inc
produces:

ignaciovillarreal.org theavemaria.org juncodelavega.org facundocabral-elfinal.org
Founder's Site. The most varied versions
of this beautiful prayer.
Hommage
to a Mexican poet.
Hommage
       

The First Art Newspaper on the Net. The Best Versions Of Ave Maria Song Junco de la Vega Site Ignacio Villarreal Site