The Memorial for Cao Xueqin was built in 1996 on the former site of the Wu Residence which is a building of the Qing Dynasty. The memorial covers an area of 1,365 square meters. It is a compound with houses around courtyard, and has 21 rooms altogether. In the courtyard there stands the Statue of Cao Xueqin. Cao Xueqin is the author of the Chinese classical masterpiece, Dream of the Red Chamber. Through years of textual research, experts prove that the ancestral home of Cao Xueqin is Liaoyang. In the exhibition halls of the Memorial there keep and exhibit a series of literature materials such as the historical files concerning the Cao Family, the poems by Cao Yin, the grandfather of Cao Xueqin, the stemma of the Cao Family, the files of the Palace of the Qing Dynasty, and so on. All these materials show the fact that the ancestral home of Cao Xueqin is indeed Liaoyang. Besides, there are also different editions of Dream of the Red Chamber, and the paintings and calligraphy by national masters concerning the masterpiece. The whole Memorial is a building of the style of the Qing Dynasty. There are couplets hung on the columns of every exhibition hall. At the front door there hangs a tablet with these golden characters, the Memorial for Cao Xueqin, which have been inscribed by Feng Qiyong, a famous expert of Dream of the Red Chamber.
Brief introduction to Cao Xueqin
Cao Xueqin, with Mengruan as his style, is a Chinese novelist in the Qing Dynasty. Qinpu and Qinxi are both his aliases. He was born in 1715 and died in 1763 with Liaoyang as his original family home.
He was able to write poems and paint, and especially good at writing. He devoted all himself to the composition of the novel, Dream of the Red Chamber, with great will power. After ten years of hard work and five times of additions and deletions, the masterpiece which stands for the zenith of the Chinese classical novels has been finished. Its rich content, labyrinthian plots, profound thoughts and exquisite artistic technique make Dream of the Red Chamber a great realistic work among the Chinese classical novels.
In the 27th year of Qianlong of the Qing Dynasty (1762AD), the youngest son of Cao Xueqin died, and Cao fell into great sorrow. On the New Year’s Eve of the same year (the February 1st, 1764), Cao died of disease and poverty. He was finally buried with the financial aid from his good friend. (Concerning the year of Cao’s death, there are two more editions: one is the 28th year of Qianlong; the other is the 29th year of Qianlong)
According to some people in the academe, Dream of the Red Chamber has not been finished because of Cao’s death. Among the 120 chapters of the work, the first 80 have been written by Cao Xueqin, and the remaining 40 have been done by Gao E. However, it seems that this saying is very likely to be demolished.