Opened on 2nd, Sep, 2007, Porcelain
House, also known as the "China House"
or Yuebao House, is located on Chifeng Street
in Heping District, the Tianjin Commercial Center.
Covering an area of 3,000 square meters, it was
an old French-style building with a history of
over 100 years. The house was originally inhabited
by a central finance minister in the late Qing
Dynasty (1644-1911) and later served as a bank
after the founding of New China in 1949. It was
then deserted for a long time as the bank moved
out and nobody went to take care of the house.
In September, 2002, the porcelain
collector Zhang Lianzhi spent 1 million yuan (US$
125,000) buying the house. Then in the following
four years, the 49-year-old Tianjin native devoted
most of his time to refurnish it with hundreds
of thousands of porcelain pieces dating from Tang
(AD 618-907) to Qing (1644-1911) dynasties. It
is calculated that more than 400 million pieces
of ancient porcelain, 16 thousand pieces of ancient
chinaware, 300 white-marble carvings, and 20 tons
of natural crystals were used in the process,
costing approximately over 2 billion RMB.
Based on the understanding of antique
porcelain and traditional Chinese culture, Zhang
Lianzhi mixed up fragments from different pieces.
About 80 percent of the porcelain used in the
house is broken or damaged antiques. But the flaw
of these pieces had been carefully concealed when
being pasted on the wall. These antiques just
look as presentable as the good ones. In such
way the damaged porcelain is given a new life.
Thereby Zhang achieved the surprising effect of
a new, more lively and interesting composition
and presented it to the public in 2007.
The house is covered with various
porcelain pieces such as plates, vases and figurines,
making it come into the spotlight in the neighborhood.
Elements of Chinese culture can be seen at every
turn of the house, for example, the four "China
dragons," entwining the exterior wall of
the building, auspiciously symbolize the power
in ancient China and is one of the dominant features
in ancient Chinese architecture. Each "dragon",
which has a length of more than 200 meters, is
actually pieced together by mosaic of porcelain
Covered with more than 3,000 porcelain
vases, the wall around the courtyard gets a very
auspicious name "Ping'an Qiang" (Wall
of Wellness). The pronunciation of Chinese word
for vase ("ping") is the same as the
word for wellness.
Meanwhile, porcelain pillows are also
widely used, which symbolized "suisui ping'an"
(wellness every year)." The Chinese word
for "sleeping" (shui) sounds similar
to the word for "year" (sui).
Inside the house, however, porcelain
is only used to decorate the part of the ceiling,
the rail and the doors.
As the designer and contractor of
the project, Zhang is a successful businessman
owning a Cantonese-style chain restaurant. He
was born into a wealthy businessman's family in
Tianjin and has a strong interest in art and antiques.
Over the past 20 years, he has kept expanding
his collection of which antique porcelain makes
up the majority.
Tianjin Travel Attractions
Family Grand Courtyard
New Year's paintings