Ming dynasty house in Songjiang restored

Songjiang District has completed its renovation of a Ming-dynasty (1368-1644) residential building featuring typical Shanghai-style architecture.
Songjiang District / Ti Gong

Songjiang District has finished restoring a Ming dynasty (1368-1644) residential building featuring typical Shanghai-style architecture, the district government said on Monday.

Baosutang Hall is sited within Cangcheng Old City, a historic rice storage depot, on Zhongshan Road W. The hall is the only remaining part of a large residential complex   owned by former Ming Dynasty county director Xu Jiade.

The hall was the building's principal sitting room and covers 420 square meters and is 30 meters wide. Facing south, it has five well-preserved rooms, according to Songjiang Museum.

The hall is marked by a complicated wooden structure and has a typical “grass bracket ceiling” for residential buildings in south China and numerous exquisite dougong, the quintessential Chinese interlocking wooden brackets that support the roof, whose wooden pillars have elegant stone carvings.

The hall was listed as a district level protected building in 1985 and received a major renovation in 2000, an official with the museum said.

“Many wooden parts have cracked and even rotted since no preservation has been launched since then,” the official said. That changed last June, when the district government announced the restoration project to fix both broken parts and to restore the hall to its original appearance.

Songjiang District / Ti Gong

The building has served as a teaching site for nearby Yongfeng Kindergarten. Children regularly visit the historic building to learn about its architectural style.

Craftsmen for the renovation work have applied traditional painting skills with environmental friendly paints and materials to ensure the safety of the young visitors, a government official said.

The hall is one of the historic structures on Cangcheng Street, the central business street for the once glorious old city. The hall’s neighboring heritage sites include Yi Garden, also built during the Ming Dynasty and Dacang Bridge, which is 385 years old.

The old city also contains nine heritage sites under district-level protection and 81 registered cultural sites, including Zuibai Pond Park, Du Mansion and Songfang Tower, a mosque built during the Yuan Dynasty (1271-1368).

Cangcheng was renowned as a rice storage depot and river transport center for grain. The town’s web of rivers and canals connect with the sea. Mansions, temples and bridges were built alongside the waterways during the Ming Dynasty.

The district government has invested 3 billion yuan (US$450 million) for the renovation and preservation of historic venues in the old city since 2008. Some 3,000 families living in dilapidated old houses are being relocated.

Songjiang District / Ti Gong
Special Reports