Wang’s Grand Courtyard is in the Jingsheng County which is 12 kilometers to the east of Lingshi County in Shanxi Province. Wang’s Grand Courtyard is the master of the buildings in Qing Dynasty. It is built by descendants of Wang in Taiyuan, one of the four families of Lingshi County and finished successively during Kangxi, Qianlong, Jiaqing period of Qing Dynasty.

The building structure is huge, which includes “five alleys”, “five villages” and “five ancestral halls”. The layout of the five ancient villages is compared with shapes of five sacred animals, “dragon”, and “phoenix”, “turtle”, “kylin” and “tiger”. The whole area accounts for over 250,000 square meters. Now the three architectural complexes, Red Door Village (dragon), Gao’s Cliff (phoenix) and Chongning Village (tiger) are open to the public separately as “Chinese Residential Art Gallery”, “Chinese Wang’s Museum” and “Liqun Art Gallery”. Including Wang’s Ancestral Hall, there are 231 yards, 2078 rooms and 80,000 square meters’ area open to the public.

Wang’s Ancestral Hall is separated into upper and lower one, which has complete functions and delicate design. There is elaborated carve “Xiaoyi Lane” in front of the ancestral hall. The general structure of Chongning Village leans upon the tall slope, sitting north and facing south, the style of which is quite similar to that of Ming Dynasty. The Liqun Art Gallery in it displays all the works of modern famous print engraver, Li Qun, which are the quintessence of his art image. The art image will spread from generation to generation and has a profound and lasting effect in the circle of culture and art.

Gao’s Cliff and Red Door Village are oppositely connected by a bridge, which are all the castle-like buildings with totally enclosed type on the Yellow Soil Plateau. The outward appearance is according to the nature and has both body and the spirit while the inner part consists of cave dwellings, which are cleverly connected and inherit the courtyard style with halls in the front and bedrooms in the backyard which had been formed during Chinese Xizhou period. Added with elaborated brick carvings, wood carvings and stone carvings, the village is both beautiful and functional, integrating both south and north appeal and of high cultural value. The two main buildings of Gao’s Cliff are both quadrangle dwellings. Apart from high ancestral hall and crassula sericeas, every yard has its own galley and study room and they share common book room, garden, and servant room. The walls around are totally enclosed and the four doors suit to local conditions. The big and small yards have both happy connection and independence, visible and invisible from time to time. When you place yourself in it, you will feel like being in a maze, for there is always one yard in another. Now all the yards and rooms are arranged according to the feudal rules “social status, economic position, old and young, inward and outward” and display all the antiques of Jingsheng Wang, which almost resume the historical image of Wang. Wang’s Grand Courtyard, as the excellent traditional architecture cultural heritage and art pressure of folk houses, has a positive effect at home and abroad. It is honored as “First House of Huaxia Folk Residence”, “Chinese Folk Forbidden City” and “Forbidden City in Shanxi”.

Wang’s Grand Courtyard Attractions

Gao’s Cliff

Red Door Village

Wang’s Ancestral Hall

Chinese Wang’s Museum

Jingsheng Temple

Wang’s Grand Courtyard Story

1. Red Door Village and Green Door Courtyard

The rows of yards in Red Door Village, from top to bottom, the local people usually call them bottom first, second first, third first and top first. Most of the yards are quadrangle dwellings with halls and rooms. Located in the east alley of third first, the magnificent green door yard is one of the places which travelers feast their eyes. The green door yard used to the mansion of Wang Zhongji, a senior officer in feudal China. Qianlong Emperor came here and granted a yellow jacket and a piece silver tablet to him in the fiftieth year of Qianlong Emperor (in 1785). In the first year of Jiaqing Emperor, he was invited to “thousands old people dinner” held by feudal government. Wang Zhongji was quite honored and brought glory to his ancestors. His grandfather used to be invited to “thousands old people dinner” and granted a dragon head crutch for he had helped Kangxi Emperor to conquer the rebellion Wu Sangui. They both brought endless glory to Wang family, so the mansion was built more and more grand. It is said after construction, to gain good fortune, they painted the door into red. However, out of their expectation, people prosecuted his family against feudal rules, so the feudal government sent people to investigate and deal with the case. In danger, the feudal officer in the imperial court sent news secretly, so Wang Zhongji painted the door into green and painted the door of the village into red, which helped them get rid of disaster. This is why we call Red Door Village and Green Door Courtyard.

Jack Li

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