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Mandarin House
Mandarin House
Section 16 on 22


Area related : Macao

UNESCO World Heritage Site (Définitif) : 2005

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The Macau Mandarin House is the former residence owned by eminent modern Chinese thinker Zheng Guanying and his father Zheng Wenrui.
Zheng Guanying was a member of the literati who published several books that are still considered classics today.

The Macau Mandarin House was built in around 1881. Over time, many families occupied the complex.

In July 2001, the Cultural Institute of the Macao S.A.R. Government bought the property and conservation work is now underway to restore the Mandarin's House to its original condition.

The Mandarin's House covers an area of about 4,000 square metres at the corner of Barra Street and António da Silva Lane and is a traditional Chinese-style compound containing a number of buildings.

The complex of buildings, from the gatehouse to the inner courtyard with its series of courtyard houses and servants' quarters, extends more than 120m along Barra Street.

The buildings are mainly constructed of traditional Chinese grey bricks, and the main buildings, which are two to three storeys high, have pitch roofs, while the single storey servants' buildings have either simple gable or flat roofs.

The entrance to the Mandarin's House compound is through a gateway, which is oriented to the northeast and located on António da Silva Lane. This is a two-storey structure 13 metres wide and 7.9 metres deep, which is independent of the main building cluster.

It has projecting roof eaves, windows on the upper floor and an arched entrance gateway on the lower floor. The eave boards are painted with typical Chinese decorative motifs, while the ceiling of the entrance hallway features Western plaster decorations.

A shrine of the Earth God is set into one of the walls in the hallway. A flight of granite steps leads down from the entrance through the hallway into the compound at a lower level.

The individual entrances to the series of houses in the compound are all oriented in the same direction, facing northwest. The different orientation of the main entrance and the house entrances distinguishes the Mandarin's House from the typical Chinese dwelling.

A continuous spacious forecourt fronts the series of houses, in the middle of which is a gateway leading into a large courtyard that separates the master's quarters from the servants' quarters and the outer garden.

Located in the inner part of the compound are the master's quarters, which consist of two traditional enclosed courtyard houses of three bays in width and three halls in depth, separated by a drain.

The buildings are built on foundations of granite slabs, and the friezes on the external walls are decorated with relief ornamentations sculpted from clay.

Like the entrance to the compound, the surrounding walls of each house entrance are recessed from the main wall plane. A granite frame around the house entrances further emphasizes its importance as the gateway into the house.

The interior layout of the houses is in accordance with traditional design, except that the main living room is located on the upper floor of the main hall instead of the usual ground floor. The main hall is of timber post-and-beam construction.

Although the Mandarin's House is a traditional Chinese building in form, it features a combination of Chinese and foreign elements in its details.

The Chinese tectonics is expressed in the roof, the house superstructure, the building materials and the painted and relief ornamentations on the friezes, the pattern of the windows, and the design details of the main entrances and the traditional timber sliding shutters.

Western and other foreign influences are evident on some of the interior ceilings, the archway over the door and window openings, the architrave along the roof eaves, the mother-of-pearl window panels of Indian origin and the plasterwork on the external walls.
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