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The Yantai Museum was originally built as a guild hall. The museum had been built by ship owners and foreign merchants of the Fujian Province during the Qing Dynasty. It was officially converted into Yantai Museum in the year 1858.
Things to Do
One of the places that tourists should not miss when they are visiting the area is Yantai Museum. The museum is housed today in the most beautiful and the largest guild halls of the city and was originally used by ship owners and merchants.
The Entrance Hall
The Yantai Museum’s entrance hall is very impressive. It is decorated with over a thousand wood and stone carvings. The beams here are shaped as a woman nursing a baby, lying on one side. Under the eaves are various Arab figures with musical instruments. The panels located towards the north showcase scenes from Three Kingdoms Romance, the story of General Su Wu from the 2nd century who had been condemned to take care of sheep for 19 years as well as the story of Eight Immortals that Crossed the Sea.
The most important building in Yantai Museum is the Temple of the Goddess of Sea. A legend goes that for generations sailors who were facing troubles at the sea were guided to a safe location by visions of a mysterious woman. She was named as an official deity during the Qing and Ming Dynasties. Various temples have been built in her honor along the coastline.
The temple has been built in the style of Song Dynasty’s imperial buildings. It was actually brought by ship in 1864 from Fujian. It is a beautiful and unique example of the southern architecture with sweeping horns and double roof, its mythical figures in glazed ceramics, stone and wood as well as fanciful ornamentation.
The Stone Columns
Under the temple are various stone columns with a deep motif of carved dragons. These are considered to be the finest in China. The entire complex of the temple is set in a beautiful garden with a stage and pools. The museum is located in various side galleries and it is home to various arrowheads, axes and cooking pots from the Stone Age which are considered to be more than 6000 years old. It also has 17th and 18th century porcelain.
The Construction and Architecture
The Yantai Museum is mainly attractive to users because of its architecture and its construction. The construction of the building began in the year 1884 and it was completed in 1906. The building’s construction was designed as well as completed in the Quanzhou City in Fuijian and was then shipped for 3,500 miles for assembly in Yantai.
Carving Art Treasure
The complex of Yantai Museum is spread over an area of around 3500 sq m. It is also decorated brightly with various exquisite carvings and is often known as a carving art treasure. The sculptures follow a theme of mainly figures, animals, flowers and birds that have place in local legends. These were also the subjects used in Chinese sculptures and paintings. The carvings add magnificence and beauty to the complex and also portray legends and scenes. The carvings depicting the Crossing of the Sea by Eight Immortals, for example, depicts the story so well that even people who don’t know the story would be able to understand the meaning from the carvings.