Village exhibition hall a tribute to Minhang scholar
The Suzhou Creek First Village Exhibition Hall, which is the former residence of Wang Qi, opened to the public late last month.
It is expected to revitalize the cultural and modern aspects of Qianwan, the bay region of Minhang District from which Suzhou Creek enters downtown.
Wang was a scholar and an official born in Minhang during the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644).
In Chinese elementary school textbooks, illustrations of ancient emperors look similar: prominent foreheads, upwardly curved eyes, prominent noses and radiant smiles.
The resemblance was related to Wang, according to Zhang Jianguang, vice dean of the School of Humanities at Shanghai Normal University.
Wang and his son compiled a book "Sancai Tuhui" which consisted of 108 volumes covering subjects such as astronomy, geography, flowers, birds, insects, figures, and treasures. It was the first large-scale image collection in China. They wanted to include portraits of all the famous historical figures, but gathering information on everyone's appearance was a huge task, and they were not good at painting. Finally, they came up with an idea – the emperors' appearances used a template, commonly known as "one face for a thousand people," and their dress would be changed based on their respective dynasties.
Wang also used a round world map in this book which was relatively rare in ancient China.
Around eight years after Italian missionary Matteo Ricci visited China and printed a world map for then Emperor Wanli in 1601, Wang and his son accepted that the Earth was round and chose a round world map for the image encyclopedia.
Wang also did a lot of research on ways to control floods from Suzhou Creek, which was then known as the Wusong River.
After retirement, the scholar returned to what is now Zhaojia Village in the Qianwan area and lived there for the rest of his life, planting tens of thousands of plum trees, which are admired for their loftiness, along the Wusong River.
The Suzhou Creek First Village in the northernmost part of Huacao Town is around 400 square meters in size and is divided into five sections: Wang's birthplace, officialdom, retirement, influence and contemporary development of Zhaojia Village.
The hall is open 8:30am to 11am and 1:30pm to 4pm from Monday to Friday, closed on public holidays.