HOME >> Sight Seeing

Pu Yuan --Former residence of cultural celebrity

Source: hubei.gov.cn 08/29/2016 05:08:11

On the Hubei Institute of Fine Art campus, there's a two-story, Western-style mansion, Pu Yuan (朴园), which got its name after the hackberry trees beside the mansion. A cultural celebrity, Qian Jibo (钱基博), once lived here. It's now an art salon.

Qian Jibo (1887-1957) was born in Wuxi, Jiangsu Province; he was an expert in classical Chinese literature and an educator. In fact, he was no less knowledgeable than his son, Qian Zhongshu (钱钟书), the world famous Chinese literary scholar and writer. Qian Jibo worked as a professor at Tsinghua University, Shanghai Saint John's University, Shanghai Kwang Hua University, Zhejiang University, and Central China Normal University. Although he taught and guided numerous talented individuals and contributed greatly to the study of ancient China, his brilliance was overshadowed by his son. Qian Jibo authored more than 20 works in his life, collected over 50,000 books, 1,000 local chronicles, and 200 precious cultural relics, all of which were donated to Central China Normal University. His dedication to academia helped to turn Wuhan into an important academic city in China.

In 1945, Qian Jibo began teaching at Central China Normal University, which was Huazhong University at that time. He lived in Pu Yuan until he died in 1957. During Qian Jibo's last few years, Qian Zhongshu, along with his wife and his daughter, visited his father during holidays and festivals; he would often bring fancy gifts from Beijing.

Architectural style

Built in 1936, this two-story, wood and brick structure, with its hipped roof, black brick, and dry walls has all the characteristics of the eclectic American garden style. It was one of the new apartments built for the professors on the foundation of the torn-down Wuchang city walls. The overall floor space of the house is 630 square meters. The lush green trees in front of the building create a unique serenity.

Unlike most of Wuhan's buildings, which face south, Pu Yuan faces east, most likely because this fits better with the natural surroundings. In order to make up for the defect in orientation, the windows were designed smaller than normal with a width of 1.1 meters and height of 1.5 meters. Fortunately, there are many windows, which keep the rooms well lit without letting in too much sunshine. From the windows, you can see trees of different species, ages, and heights; the beautiful natural scenes are accompanied by the chirping of birds, the singing of the cicadas, and the sweet fragrances of various kinds of flowers.

Now an art salon

Pu Yuan is located on the Hubei Institute of Fine Art campus. On weekends, lots of students will come to visit it. It offers a place of joy for many in the downtown area. Qian Jibo's love for life has been passed on to all of Pu Yuan's modern visitors. Pu Yuan stands as a testament to contentment, the bonds between father and son, and a passion for academia.

Nowadays, Qian Jibo's former residence serves as an "art salon." The preserved fireplace coordinates well with the archaistic ceiling fans and windows. The artistic elegance salutes this structure's rich history.

Photo gallery: Heritage Architecture in Wuhan--Pu Yuan