Hangzhou – Paradise on Earth

December 4, 2012

If you ever visit Hangzhou, after cruising on the West Lake, you may want to see this tourist attraction in the city. Before 1949, it was the home of a wealthy family but was first owned by Hu Xue-yan (1823-1885).

Hu Xue-yan made his money in banking then expanded into pawn shops, import-export, real estate and made his biggest fortune as the founder of a Chinese herbal medicine company. After he died, his family lost the fortune and sold the house.

The house in these pictures and video was built in 1872. After it was renovated in 2008, it was turned into a museum and tourist attraction worth seeing.

When the Communists won China’s Civil War in 1949, the mansion (covering about two acres) was owned by another family that made its fortune first in the silk industry then banking.


rock art in garden with tunnels

There’s more to the mansion than this example of rock art in the garden you see in the photo above.  These rocks were added when the mansion was built. There was a time in China during the Imperial era when rock art was popular. Hidden under the building and among the rocks are manmade caves.

During a visit to Hangzhou, for a few yuan, you will be able to tour most of the mansion and the gardens (there is more than one garden beyond what you see in the two photographs).

The Hu Xue-yan mansion is in a city with a population of more than eight million, but once inside its walls you have no sense of the crowded city outside. Once the owner was home and the gates locked at night, it was a world-of-tranquility apart from the city.

The city of Hangzhou is more than two-thousand years old and was the capital of the Southern Song Dynasty (1127 – 1279 AD) before Kublai Khan, who founded the Yuan Dynasty (1206-1368 AD), conquered all of China.

Pond with carp – Hu Xue-yan’s Mansion

While Kublai Khan ruled China, Marco Polo visited Hangzhou in 1290.

There is a famous Chinese saying that says, “In heaven there is paradise, on Earth there is Su and Hang (Hangzhou – Paradise on Earth).

Discover Kublai Khan’s Yuan Dynasty

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Lloyd Lofthouse is the award-winning author of The Concubine Saga. When you love a Chinese woman, you marry her family and culture too. This is the love story Sir Robert Hart did not want the world to discover.

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Americans doing Business in China – Part 8/16

February 28, 2012

Note from Blog host — another example of East meets West through business and trade: Matt Egan of Fox Business.com reported, “Muhtar Kent, the CEO of All-American corporate giant Coca-Cola… knocked Washington over its handling of taxes and the level of political rancor and said he prefers investing in faster-growing countries like China, Russia and Brazil… In many respects, Kent told the paper, it is easier to do business with China, which he compared with a well-managed company.”

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This guest post was Originally published by Bob Grant — publisher/editor for Speak Without Interruption.

The original is a long piece with many photos. If you want to see more of Hangzhou and the Westlake, I recommend that after you read the few paragraphs here, you click on the link above. My wife and I have visited this city and lake several times over the years, and I enjoyed Bob’s piece about his visit and had a few good laughs.

Bog Grant wrote, Below is something that I sent to my family and they all said they liked it. However, they are family and what else could they say? I have a manager/partner in China whose name is David – we have associates named Eric and Uncle Wong. I live in Missouri and my relatives live in Wyoming. This sets the stage for the following recap of My Big Day Off – In China:

We found ourselves on a Saturday in a city I have visited before named Hangzhou (Han-Joe) with no appointments and time on our hands before our plane departed for Shenzhen (Sin-Gin). There is a lake in Hangzhou named West Lake. Not a very original name for the Chinese, but using Chinese logic, I am certain – somewhere – there is a North Lake, South Lake, Southeast Lake, Southwest Lake, South South Lake – you get the picture. The possibilities are endless.

David said, “Let’s take a boat ride.” Great – sounded like a good idea. Sitting quietly in a boat watching the countryside and relaxing – NOT. Think Progressive Dinner.

Note from Blog host – If you plan to do business in China, I recommend visiting the China Law Blog first.

Continued February 29, 2012 in Americans doing Business in China – Part 9 (a guest post) or return to Part 7

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Lloyd Lofthouse is the award-winning author of The Concubine Saga. When you love a Chinese woman, you marry her family and culture too. This is the love story Sir Robert Hart did not want the world to discover.

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Note: This guest post first appeared on February 25, 2010.


Vestiges of China’s Early Empires

August 8, 2010

 David Frum writes about China’s Early Empires referring to Belknap’s six-volume history of Imperial China. Frum says, “There is no Chinese equivalent of the Parthenon or the Roman Forum, no Pantheon or Coliseum.  For all its overpowering continuity, China does not preserve physical remains of the past… Lewis offhandedly mentions at one point that there remains not a single surviving house or palace from Han China. There are not even ruins,” which is wrong.

I recently wrote a three-part series about Han Dynasty tombs discovered in Xuzhou, which was the location of the capital of the Han Dynasty. The tombs, which had not been destroyed or looted, are now tourist attractions. A museum was built to house artifacts that were discovered. One tomb has a living room and a bedroom before the coffin chamber.  Since the tomb was built inside a hollowed-out mountain and made of rock, it survived more than two millennia with evidence of how the Han Dynasty lived then.

In fact, I’ve toured the Ming tombs, seen the graves of heroes from the Song Dynasty near the West Lake in Hangzhou, south of Shanghai.  Also, let’s not forget that the Grand Canal, which was started five centuries before the birth of Christ and is still in use today.

In fact, the Nationalists fled to Taiwan in 1949 with much of China’s imperial treasures.

Then, if you visit Tibet, there’s the Potala Palace, which was first built in 637 AD and is still lived in. Although much of ancient China has vanished, there are still vestiges that equal or surpass what the Roman and Greek civilizations left behind.

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Lloyd Lofthouse is the award-winning author of the concubine saga, My Splendid Concubine & Our Hart. When you love a Chinese woman, you marry her family and culture too. 

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Hangzhou Mansion

February 25, 2010

After cruising on the West Lake at Hangzhou with Bob Grant, you may want to see this government run tourist attraction in the city. Before the Communists claimed China, this mansion was owned by a family that made its money first in the silk industry and then banking.

rock art in garden with tunnels

There’s more to the mansion than this example of rock art in the garden.  These rocks were not here when the mansion was built. There was a time in China during the Imperial era where rock art was popular.

Pond with carp at Hangzhou Mansion

For a few yuan, you will be able to tour most of the mansion and the gardens (yes there is more than one garden area beyond what you see in these two pictures).  This mansion was in the city but once inside you have no sense of the crowded city surrounding the high walls.  Once the owner was home and the gates locked at night, this home become another world apart.


My Big Day Off – In China

February 25, 2010

This guest post from Bob Grant is a long piece with a lot of pictures.  If you want to see more of  Hangzhou and the Westlake, I recommend that after you read the first two paragraphs, you click on the link and visit “Speak Without Interruption.”  My wife and I have visited this city and lake several times over the years and I enjoyed Bob’s piece about his visit and had a few good laughs.

Originally published at Speak Without Interruption on February 11, 2010 by Bob Grant — publisher/editor for Speak Without Interruption

Below is something that I sent to my family and they all said they liked it.  However, they are family and what else could they say?  I have a manager/partner in China whose name is David – we have associates named Eric and Uncle Wong.  I live in Missouri and my relatives live in Wyoming.  This sets the stage for the following recap of My Big Day Off – In China:

We found ourselves on a Saturday in a city I have visited before named Hangzhou (Han-Joe) with no appointments and time on our hands before our plane departed for Shenzhen (Sin-Gin).  There is a lake in Hangzhou named West Lake.  Not a very original name for the Chinese, but using Chinese logic, I am certain – somewhere – there is a North Lake, South Lake, Southeast Lake, Southwest Lake, South South Lake – you get the picture.  The possibilities are endless.
 
David said, “Let’s take a boat ride.”  Great – sounded like a good idea.  Sitting quietly in a boat watching the countryside and relaxing – NOT.  Think Progressive Dinner.


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