Fujian: Fuzhou's Meticulous Efforts to Conserve and Upgrade Ancient Houses
15:10 2020-03-16 Guangming Daily App Zhang Shiyao
Yangqi Village, located in Gaishan Town, Cangshan District, Fuzhou, Fujian, was the hometown of Yan Fu, a renowned modern Chinese thinker of the late 19th century. The former residence of Yan Fu, a major monument protected at the national level, has taken on a new look after more than a year of meticulous repairs, and will soon be unveiled together with an exhibition on the life of Yan Fu.
The existing buildings in the former residence of Yan Fu were built during the late Ming Dynasty and early Qing Dynasty. It is a Qing Dynasty style building with a bucket-type wooden structure, covering an area of 745 square meters. The white walls and grey tiles are elegant and chic. "At the beginning of the restoration, the former residence looked different. The wooden components of the house were in varying degrees of degradation, and there was some peeling on the exterior walls due to the lack of maintenance over a long period of time. However, the architectural form of the former residence has been largely preserved," said a staff member from the Cangshan Museum.
This reporter learned that “no change to the original state of the cultural relics” and “minimum interference” were the principles followed in the renovation. To this end, Fuzhou has invited a group of experts on ancient buildings to visit the site severally to formulate a plan based on the appearance and remaining traces of the former residence. The renovation strives to preserve the original historical appearance of the building to the greatest extent, pay close attention to details as much as possible, and truly reflect the history of the building.
The renovation project of Yan Fu’s former residence is only one of the cases in Fuzhou’s efforts to promote the gucuo (Fuzhou-style ancient houses) protection while preparing for the session of the World Heritage Committee. As the venue for the 44th session of the World Heritage Committee, Fuzhou is awakening the urban culture and memories through a batch of conservation and improvement projects on ancient houses and upgrading urban quality based on its gucuo characteristics through the opportunity accorded by the session.
The scholarly and antiquely charming Aofengfang historic and cultural street block in Gulou District, the Yantaishan historical and cultural street block integrating the Chinese and Western architectural features, and the Tanshishan historical and cultural street block in Minhou County are among the 15 historical and cultural blocks of Fuzhou opened to the public as the “welcome gifts” for the occasion of the 44th session of the World Heritage Committee to be held in Fuzhou. Following the principle of repairing the old as it was, the renovation of the blocks is intended to rejuvenate the unique cultural attraction of the counties, cities and districts of Fuzhou through micro-renovation and micro-renewal, and demonstrate the achievements of various places in protecting and inheriting historical and cultural heritage.
In addition, Fuzhou continues to promote the conservation and restoration of the 12 key cultural monuments, Taiwan-related cultural monuments, and cultural monuments related to the Chinese Revolution, including the Ancestral Hall and Museum of Lin Zexu, the Zhaozhong Ancestral Hall, and the Qigong Ancestral Hall; enhances repair works on 35 historical architectures and the upgrading of “Three Hills and Two Pagodas” (cultural monuments in Fuzhou), Mount Gu and Kuliang; launches conservation and utilization projects for 11 renowned historical and cultural towns as well as traditional villages, including Yueque Village in Songkou Town, Yongtai County, and Dongshan Village in Yidu Town, Fuqing. This year, Fuzhou has initiated the second phase preject of the Yeshan Chunqiu Park, the first phase project of the Xindian Ancient City Relics Park, the first phase project of the Fuzhou South Park historical scenic areas and the Liangcuo historical and cultural blocks project, as well as conservation works on historic building complex in Fukien Christian University. In the upcoming session of the World Heritage Committee, the history, memory, culture and charm of Fuzhou will be unveiled to the whole world.