The Golden House of Bi Jiang, a golden horse with a red sleeve 129
The Golden House is a place where you can hide a beautiful woman and add fragrance to your red sleeves. It is not difficult for a poor scholar with good luck to read at night, but a golden house that hides a woman is not something that can be done by ordinary people.
In the village of Bi Jiang, Beijiao Town, Shunde District, Foshan City, Guangdong Province, there is indeed such a golden house, known as Bi Jiang Golden House, where a hundred years ago, there was such a golden house to hide a girl, and a red sleeve to add fragrance to the past. During the late Qing Dynasty, Dai Peiqiong, the daughter of Cixi's goddaughter, Dai Hong ci, a famous Minister of Military Affairs and a conciliatory university minister at the end of the Qing Dynasty, married Piwen of Bijiangsu, and it is said that Miss Dai not only had the appearance of a sunken fish, but also had the talent to read and write, and was proficient in all kinds of arts and crafts. Sue Piwen was a third-ranking official in the Qing Dynasty's Ministry of Military Affairs, but he must have been overjoyed to marry the daughter of a military minister, and the Su family doted on Dai Peiqiong, placing her in a splendid golden house. The story of the "golden house" became a good story.
Time has passed, and I would like to know what happened to Mr Su and Miss Dai in the Republic of China or 49 years later, but I can no longer find any information about them online. To this day, the former Miss Dai has long since passed away, leaving only a gold building remains, very much a "human face does not know where to go, the peach blossom still smiling spring breeze" feeling, future generations lament the gold building dazzling while not many people understand that once happened in this gold building in the golden house, the red sleeve to add fragrance to the story.
The glorious gold, carved beams and painted pillars, the yellow gold may seem too tacky, to use a buzzword, a bit "rustic", but the intricate ornamentation and fine carving give people historical precipitation, and if you know beforehand the past of the golden house and the red cuffs, you will feel even more envious.
When I arrived at the Bi Jiang Village, it was completely different from what I had imagined a famous Chinese historical and cultural village to be like.
The entrance fee of 15 yuan for the Bi Jiang Golden House is really generous.
The Golden House of Bi Jiang is not just a building, but a complex of ancient buildings, including the Mud House, the Jifangdi, the Golden House, the Nanshan Ancestral Hall, the Seeing Dragon Gate, the Yiyu Legacy School, the Mustang Ancestral Hall, the brick wall and the Sanxing Mansion.
The Su family has been building ancestral halls and mansions for generations, and in the Qing dynasty, there is a record in the Five Mountains Magazine that "the ancestral halls are the most important and the most magnificent are in Bi Jiang".
Since its founding in the Song Dynasty, Bi Jiang has been a place of economic prosperity and cultural profundity, with more than 200 ancestral halls before the war, and a flourishing 'three pebbles and six markets', of which Jinlou has been just one surviving microcosm.
The owner of the Golden House was not a "tycoon", but a literary man who knew how to read and write. The Golden House was originally called the Fugaku House, but with all its splendour, people have gradually forgotten the name of such a poetic building.
The Golden House was in fact a bookstore for the "Jifangdi", so the story of the Golden House hides a girl and the red sleeves adding fragrance is not a legend, but really a historical fact.
On the ground floor, there is a 28cm diameter yin well in the central hall, which corresponds to the algae well on the roof of the building, in order to "restrain the fire", as there are many wooden carvings in the Golden House.
The first-floor chancel is modest, and apart from some gold decorations and patterns, it is not too impressive.
"The door is decorated with a poetic inscription in gold, which reflects the taste of the owner.
From the staircase onwards you can gradually feel the luxury of the gold building.
The first floor of the Golden House is the essence of the entire ancient architectural complex of the National Historical and Cultural Village of Bi Jiang and is also a masterpiece of ancient Lingnan architecture.
On the four panels of the bookcase are engraved the ink treasures of the four great calligraphers of the Qing Dynasty, and on the inconspicuous part of the staircase is the ink treasure of Liu Luopan Liu Yong, the famous Chancellor of the Qing Dynasty, "Han and ink, Danqing, everything is beautiful, the lake and mountain are good places to send talents and sages. Several times the flowers in the Zen courtyard compete for hair, and the moon is full in the mountain hall overnight." The fact that Liu Yong held the Golden House in such high esteem shows that he and the owner had a good friendship and shared the same interests, as the saying goes, "There are great scholars who talk and laugh, and there are no white men who come and go.
If it were just a pile of gold, the splendour would only be a "vulgar" word, but the essence of the Golden House is not in the "gold", but in the ghostly and exquisite traditional wood carvings, which are gilded with a layer of gold.
Most of the furniture, wooden doors and windows, and wooden screens in the Golden House are made of fine-grained, smooth Sourwood, which, after being scraped and polished, has a mirror-like surface and is smooth and cool to the touch, giving it a sense of deep and subtle beauty, both visually and tactilely.
A layer of gold leaf is applied to the top, giving the room a sense of opulence and elegance.
The layout of the first floor of the Golden House is based on the Pearl River cruise ship Purple Cave Boat, and the carvings are all of the most traditional Chinese auspicious objects, while the artistic style draws on Western culture, reflecting the compatibility of Lingnan culture.
The Golden House was built by the father of the Su family, Su Shaotan, and is a magnificent, dignified and elegant building. The idea of the Su family may have been to use a dignified building to highlight the status of the Su family and encourage their descendants to seek success.
In the film The Grandmaster, the ghostly guide Wong Kar-we also created a breezy golden building scene, and important scenes in the film were filmed in the Golden Building, which was the source of the idea for the Bi Jiang Golden Building.
All the wood carvings in the Golden House are beautifully detailed and you can find many traditional Chinese auspicious motifs.
The technology and craftsmanship of the ancients were not as good as today's, but a calm and collected mind is a hundred times better than the impetuous attitude of today's people, which is why it is difficult for us to reach the level of craftsmanship of the ancients in many areas.
After a closer look at the Golden House, you will find that the essence of the building is not the dazzling gold decorations, but the extraordinary wood carvings underneath.
The wood carvings are mostly taken from traditional Chinese culture, such as the 'Three Friends of the Year', the 'Pine and Crane in Longevity' and the 'Orchid and Laurel', as well as figures such as fishermen with hats, children with buns and young girls in coats.
The experts' identification of antiques is a very important method of identification, as each dynasty had a different style and there were rules about which motifs could be used and which could not be used, whereas today's forgeries are of varying quality and shoddily made.
Hundreds of years later, we can still see the dedication and persistence of the craftsmen. Hundreds of years ago, the meticulous "Made in China" was the object of chasing by foreign royalty, but today, the "Made in China" is disdained even by Africans.
On the first floor is the Fuchu plaque. The Golden Building, originally called Fuchu Building, was a study hall and book collection for Su Piwen's poets and friends.
This century-old longan tree in the courtyard is still lush and full of fruit.
Standing on the first floor of the Golden House, you can see a two-storey brick wok house across the lane, which was originally called the "Shouqing House". It was lived in by a "Shouqing wife" who had married into the Su family from the Long family, a well-known family in dealing, Shunde. What is "Shouqing"? It is said that there are two types of marriage: one is when a living person "marries" a boy who has suffered an early death. As both parents were betrothed at an early age, the man died before the marriage was consummated, but the woman still had to "marry" her husband's family and live there for a long time. The other type of woman is related to the "self-combing woman", which is a woman in Shunde who values chastity more than life and is not interested in normal marriage or even has a psychological disorder. In feudal society, however, a woman could not enter the ancestral hall without getting married, so there was a kind of "Shouqing", who was nominally married but lived independently in essence. No matter what kind of "show qing", it was a crippling form of marriage. When you look at the old house, you can feel the coldness and isolation of the custom of cannibalism that has existed in Shunde for two or three hundred years.
The Golden House is more than just a golden house, it is a complex of ancient buildings and there are many more to see.
The oldest brother in the complex is the Mud Building, a building that looks so ancient that it is almost clumsy, and its age is said to date from the late Ming Dynasty at the latest. In this traditional Chinese building, you will see four European-style concrete columns and door arches, which were converted into colonnades by the descendants of the owner of the mud building, who returned from studying in Japan and saw the two corridors in front of the building in a state of decay.
Within a few hundred metres of the building, there is an era of ancient architecture, which includes streets, ancestral halls, mansions, gardens, private schools and study halls; the architectural style retains the characteristics of dry barricades, oyster shell walls, water-rubbed bricks and wok-ear walls; and the decoration includes wood carvings, brick carvings, stone carvings, grey sculptures and murals, all representative of each historical period.
The base of the wall is red sandstone, the walls are green brick, the plaques from the olden days are laid out, and the slogans from the Cultural Revolution are on the wall, where different eras intersect.
Many plaques from various periods, documenting history.
These plaques are placed casually in the empty old house, without the luxury of a gold building, only the sediment of history.
Under the promenade in the back garden, a huge 23.8m x 1.5m cast bronze wall sculpture, "Bi Jiang Twenty Four Chants", is a true account of the human and natural landscape of Bi Jiang more than 100 years ago, and can be called the "Qingming Shanghe Tu" of Bi Jiang.
It is said that the history of Bi Jiang can be traced back to the Eastern Han Dynasty and that during the Ming and Qing Dynasties it became a rare and prosperous place in Southern Guangdong. Su He, a native of Bi Jiang, wrote 24 poems based on the customs and people of the time.
The restored back garden of the Golden House is less than two-fifths of its original size, but a pond of elegant lotus flowers is still particularly striking.
Especially the large pots of large king lilies, the thought of sitting on a child or something always comes to mind.
There's actually more than one kind of lotus, with flowers competing for crispness.
Climbing up to the first floor of the Hexagonal Pavilion, you can overlook the whole lotus pond, but the ancient complex of the Golden Tower is not so photogenic, as the neighbourhood is full of residential houses and tall buildings, some of which even have their windows in the scenic area.
There is also an exhibition of ancient beds, featuring a variety of beds from all eras, always wondering if it would have been too hot for the ancients to sleep in such enclosed beds in a hot and humid place like Southern Guangdong, with no air conditioning or fans.
"The water of the blue river is drenched in smoke, and the spring trees are thickly shaded by 10,000 families. The most important thing is that there are few wanderers in the countryside, and the green bamboo in the wild pond is half of their life." According to the Shunde County Magazine, Bi Jiang had at least 22 scholars and 106 scholars, including Su Kwai, Su Ir, Liang Ruoheng, Su Piwen and Su Jichen, and other famous scholars and eminent officials. In the mid-Qing Dynasty, Bi Jiang had developed into a sizeable base in the handmade paper industry, forming three pebbles and six markets. At the end of the Qing Dynasty, the area followed the introduction of steam engines for food processing and became an important "grain port" in the Pearl River Delta, a place where officials, merchants and Confucians flourished.
The emergence and prosperity of the commercial economy contributed to the wealth of Bi Jiang and gave birth to such masterpieces as the Golden House. It is a pity that to this day we have no way of finding the bustle of Bijiang's "three pebbles and six markets", the glory of the "Gubu" and the magnificence of the 200 ancestral halls, which can only be explored from a single surviving Golden House. Fortunately, there is still a golden building in Bi Jiang, where the legacy of the Ming and Qing dynasties can be stored, leaving us with an infinite reverie of a golden house and a red sleeve.