Yin Yu Tang: A Traditional Chinese HouseHardback
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- Publisher: Periplus Editions/Berkeley Books Pte Ltd
- Format: Hardback | 256 pages
- Dimensions: 239mm x 262mm x 25mm | 1,089g
- Publication date: 1 May 2003
- Publication City/Country: Singapore
- ISBN 10: 0804834873
- ISBN 13: 9780804834872
- Edition statement: New.
- Illustrations note: col
- Sales rank: 1,361,626
In the late Qing dynasty, around the year 1800, a prosperous Chinese merchant named Huang built a house for his family in a remote village southwest of Shanghai. He named the house "Yin Yu Tang" which means Hall of Abundant Shelter--implying his desire for the building to shelter many of his descendants. For seven generations, members of the Huang family ate, slept, laughed, cried, married and gave birth in the house. By the mid-1990s, the surviving members of the Huang family had moved away from Yin Yu Tang to take jobs in the cities. In 2003 the house found a new home as a permanent exhibit in the Peabody Essex Museum in Salem, Massachusetts. This book, with its room-by-room, generation-by-generation documentation of life in the house, serves as a unique and invaluable introduction to traditional Chinese family and village life. Nancy Berliner, one of the country's foremost experts on Chinese furniture and arts, takes the reader on a tour of this unique homestead providing detail on Chinese architecture, construction methods, decoration, furniture and family heirlooms. She weaves a story of domestic life in Chinese culture by explaining the traditions of the family who lived here--especially their love and respect for family and ancestors. She also documents the remarkable restoration and reconstruction of Yin Yu Tang, truly a treasure trove of Chinese history. With hundreds of photographs, scores of primary documents, and thousands of fascinating details, "Yin Yu Tang: The Architecture and Daily Life of a Chinese House" offers a vivid portrait of everyday life in traditional China.
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"Nancy Berliner" is curator of Chinese art at the Peabody Essex Museum in Salem, Massachusetts, and has curated exhibits of Chinese arts at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, and the Yale University Art Gallery, among others. She has lectured at Harvard University, Dartmouth College, the Asia Society of Houston, and the ChinaInstitute. She has written for the "New York Times, Asian Wall Street Journal, Boston Globe, Asian Art, " and" American Craft "magazines, and is the author of "Beyond the Screen: Chinese Furniture of the 16th and 17th Century," and "Chinese Folk Art."
"The complex tale of Yin Yu Tang's salvation, careful dismantling, painstaking reconstruction and authentic refurnishing at the New England institution is alluded to in a brief epilogue. But it is the profoundly moving saga of the Huang family, generations of whom lived and died in Yin Yu Tang, that raises this above a routine preservation success story. Their touching and uplifting stories, told in the first person through letters, diaries and interviews, confirm how the psychic relationship between house and home is by far the most elemental function of architecture."--"The New York Times"