張弼士古宅(藍屋)(Cheong Fatt Tze Mansion), Malaysia :)

Received in late July 2013 via Postcrossing private swap. Thanks SL! :)

The Cheong Fatt Tze Mansion, also called the Blue Mansion, is a Unesco site in Penang, Malaysia.

The Blue Mansion (Penang, Malaysia)

About Cheong Fatt Tze (張弼士):

Cheong Fatt Tze (Chinese: 張弼士; pinyin: Zhāng Bìshì) (1840–1916) was a Chinese businessman and politician born in 1840 in Dabu, Guangdong Province in South China. He was a powerful Nanyang industrialist and a first-class Mandarin in the Manchu government; he was made Consul-General in Singapore and economic advisor to the Empress Dowager.

He had eight wives and owned many residences throughout his trading empire (mostly Southeast Asia) but made Penang his base, where he raised his six sons.

(Thanks Wikipedia! )

About the Blue Mansion:

Memoir Of A Mansion In Its Prime

Undoubtedly the prototype of the land-hopping ‘jet-setter’, Cheong Fatt Tze maintained mansions in Indonesia, Singapore, Hong Kong and China, besides the one in Penang. But although each of his far flung homes amply reflected his high station in life in terms of scale and luxuriousness, it would appear from all accounts, that the Leith Street home was the favoured one. The Blue Mansion was certainly his most elaborate and lavish – its detailing and artisan works more refined than even those in his native home in Tai’pu; and it was reputedly one of only two such buildings of its size outside China.

Blue’s Blueprint

The Mansion’s construction began before the end of the 19th Century, and it was said that Cheong Fatt Tze had hoped to house nine generations of his descendants there. The plot of land was chosen after heavy consultation with the era’s preeminent feng shui masters, and while all his Hakka friends and relatives chose to build very modern, Anglo-Indian houses in and around the area, Cheong Fatt Tze gave the go-ahead for the construction of a traditional Chinese home. Artisans were shipped in from Southern China expressly for the project, and building materials were imported from as far away as Scotland.

The paradigm two-storey courtyard house, incidentally, was built in stages – the centre bay was constructed first, while the wings were added at a later stage (clear indications of after-thought are found in the corridors that lead nowhere and originally external windows opening out into covered verandah ways).

Mansion’s Functions

Towards Cheong Fatt Tze’s later life, No. 14 served as both an office and a home. It acted as the base for his commercial enterprises and housed the Chinese Vice-Consulate – not to mention his favoured 7th wife.

All significant activities were concentrated in the centre of the mansion, with front halls allocated for business meetings, the administration of the Vice-Consul Generalship and formal greeting of guests. The rear halls were for ancestral prayers, dining and family; while areas on the first floor housed rooms for significant family members. It was understood that preferred family members were housed in the Centre Bay, while those who had lost favour, as well as lesser relatives, were moved to the wings.

Stables were sited at the back of the Mansion, together with a row of outhouses and bathrooms, the main house itself having no indoor plumbing. Residents depended on chamber pots and the willingness of many retainers to empty them. A low building by the main gate was used as staff quarters together with a raised viewing pavilion that was badly damaged by bombing during the Second World War.

(Source: The official website of the Blue Mansion)

In Chinese:

張弼士古宅(Cheong Fatt Tze Mansion)是檳城首府喬治市最美的建築,現在已經被列為聯合國教科文組織的社會文化遺產之一。

建造這棟豪宅的原屋主張弼士(1840~1916),是清朝末期著名的商人,他被稱為「中國第一位資本家」,紐約時報也曾譽他為「東方的洛克菲勒」。 

張弼士古宅(Cheong Fatt Tze Mansion)共有38個房間、5個庭院、7座樓梯、和220扇窗戶。既有中式的精緻木雕與清瓷剪黏,又有西式的庭閣樓宇,中西風格完美結合,高雅而不華俗。

這棟故居平時開放限定導覽,並提供16間客房住宿,房內保有傳統的中式裝潢,和現代化的冷氣與衛浴設備。此外,此處也是檳城熱門的宴會場所,故居提供舉辦婚宴或是派對的全套佈置和餐點。

(Source: http://www.promotemalaysia.com)

I love the Year of the Rabbit stamp put on the postcard! :D Thanks SL!

Year of the Rabbit 2011 stamp - Malaysia

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