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The House of China
enorth.com.cn   2007-12-12 23:22

 

In Tianjin, a city long known for its abundance of diverse international architecture, the intriguing Western-style structure embedded with seemingly countless pieces of fine antique porcelain is commonly referred to as "China House." Officially, however, it is Yuebao House, a name bestowed by the owner, Zhang Lianzhi, a local collector.

Located in Chifeng Avenue in Heping District, the history-imbued French-designed building has stood for more than a century. The previous homeowner was a minister of finance during the Northern Warlords Period (1912-1927). After the founding of the People's Republic in 1949, the building belonged to the Administration for Industry and Commerce of Heping District. It was left vacant and in disrepair until September of 2002, when Zhang Lianzhi, president of Yueweixian Group, purchased it for 30 million yuan. After a painstaking five-year renovation, he renamed the structure "Yuebao House."

Tianjin, east of Beijing on the edge of Bohai Sea, has remained an important port city for more than 600 years. After the Yuan Dynasty (1271-1368), porcelains produced in the southern part of the country were transported to Beijing and other northern regions via Tianjin. During the Qing Dynasty (1644-1911), an agent was established in Tianjin to examine and repackage the chinaware for ongoing transport to the Forbidden City in Beijing. Damaged pieces were secretly buried, and many valuable pieces of china went into circulation. This gave rise to the popularity of such articles in Tianjin, and still today the citizens of Tianjin hold a special appreciation for porcelain wares.

Since his early years, Zhang Lianzhi, also famous for his "Edible Museum," has been a devoted collector of fine things. In more than two decades in practice, he has possessed 20,000 pieces of valuable and varied collectables. Zhang asked his collector friends to aid him in acquiring archaic china pieces, and he personally visited several famous kilns around the nation to collect porcelain pieces.

Zhang was inspired by a particularly enthusiastic response to a wall inlaid with ancient china pieces in his Yueweixian Restaurant. During the 2002 Asian-Europe Economic Ministers' Meeting, the wall generated a big buzz among the treasury officials from around the world when they dined there. So Zhang attached the archaic china pieces to his French-style house and it thus became a work of art. Zhang's concept was to convert the house into a place for the exhibition of antiques and cultural exchanges.

A fascinating blend of Chinese classical craft and Western architecture, Yuebao House displays the designer's spirit and intricate elaboration. The pieces attached to the house are mainly Jun porcelain made during the Song (960-1279) and Yuan Dynasties, and some were fired in the Ruyao Kiln, Dingyao Kiln and Longquan Kiln. If the visitor has patience and good eyesight, they can find almost all types of porcelain baked in both royal and folk kilns. Circling the house is a vivid dragon, 768 meters in length and 0.8 meters in width. A personal creation of Zhang Lianzhi, the flying dragon forms the character "CHINA."

Since his early years, Zhang Lianzhi, also famous for his "Edible Museum," has been a devoted collector of fine things. In more than two decades in practice, he has possessed 20,000 pieces of valuable and varied collectables. Zhang asked his collector friends to aid him in acquiring archaic china pieces, and he personally visited several famous kilns around the nation to collect porcelain pieces.

Zhang was inspired by a particularly enthusiastic response to a wall inlaid with ancient china pieces in his Yueweixian Restaurant. During the 2002 Asian-Europe Economic Ministers' Meeting, the wall generated a big buzz among the treasury officials from around the world when they dined there. So Zhang attached the archaic china pieces to his French-style house and it thus became a work of art. Zhang's concept was to convert the house into a place for the exhibition of antiques and cultural exchanges.

A fascinating blend of Chinese classical craft and Western architecture, Yuebao House displays the designer's spirit and intricate elaboration. The pieces attached to the house are mainly Jun porcelain made during the Song (960-1279) and Yuan Dynasties, and some were fired in the Ruyao Kiln, Dingyao Kiln and Longquan Kiln. If the visitor has patience and good eyesight, they can find almost all types of porcelain baked in both royal and folk kilns. Circling the house is a vivid dragon, 768 meters in length and 0.8 meters in width. A personal creation of Zhang Lianzhi, the flying dragon forms the character "CHINA."


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Editor: Zhang Jialu

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