The Huaiyuan Building

Last updated by chinatravel at 2013-10-31

Huaiyuan Building, a circle Earth Building served as the residence of the Jian Family, was built in the Xuantong Era of the Qing dynasty (1909 AD). Positioned in the north and facing south, the building is 1384.7 square meters in area and 14.5 meters in height, with a total number of 136 rooms, 34 on each floor. There is a couplet on the gate, saying “keeping morals and virtues in mind to follow the words of ancestors, the essence of mountain in distance and water nearby fostering elite and culture”. Huaiyuan Building is most attractive for its patrimonial hall in the center of the inner yard, which is the studying place for the children of the Jian family and is named “Si shi shi (literally means “this is the room”)”. Si shi shi, a traditional architecture with upper and lower rooms, covers an area of 190 square meters. The girders and ridgepoles with sculptures in the hall show a style of primitive simplicity, while the couplets and plaques indicate a good learning atmosphere. The horizontal inscribed board hanging on top of the hall is carved the characters of Si shi shi in vigorous and forceful Running Handwriting of Chinese calligraphy. There are couplets on the pillars of both sides. The first line reads “The hall is not used for fun and sightseeing but for diligent reading to widen horizon”, while the second line reads, “Do not care the narrow of the room because it is built to respect virtue and teach the descendants”. Another couplet “The books are roots of virtue in the land under heaven, and are the origin of riches and honors in the world.” hang in the upper hall, as well as “The finest virtues in the world are loyalty and piety, the best activities under heaven are reading and farming”. The couplet on the outside gate reads “Read and teach the descendants to learn forethought, pass on the courtesy to the family to make it prosperous”, with a plaque “Shi Li Tang”, (Hall of Poem and Courtesy).

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