If you go to Tianjin, China, there are a few places that you just have to go! At the top of that list is the Porcelain House (瓷屋 cí wū). It’s also known as the China House, referring to quality porcelain plates.
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The Porcelain House: An Introduction
The house itself has stood since the 1920s, when it was just another French-style house in the Tianjin downtown. In 2002, Zhang Lianzhi, a businessman and art collector, bought it for ¥30 million (about $4.5 million). He collects porcelain, so he redecorated the house to reflect that.
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It contains over 700 porcelain pieces, most of them broken and made into mosaics. Many of them have changed the exterior of the house into a beautiful display, and the rest of them make up various paintings and designs on the walls.
The whole house reflects a pretty thorough history of China. For example, Zhang has celadon from the Jin Dynasty (265-420) and tri-colored glazed pieces from the Tang. There is one ceiling on the porch that has the classic blue and white plates from the Yuan and Ming Dynasties, and others with rose china from the Qing.
The culture in the walls includes more. The exterior gate of the house has rows of vases, which represent peace. Since the words for peace and vase sound similar in Chinese (ping), the vases are used to wish for peace. Having more means more protection from harm. Similarly, the shapes of dragons and phoenixes symbolizes prosperity and auspiciousness.
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The Porcelain House: The House as a Work of Art
The Porcelain House itself is seriously a work of art. It’s gorgeous, as you can see from the front. Some of the lesser-seen parts of it include the roof and the side walls!
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You can also see some of the intricate designs up close on the upper floors, one of which has a porch/terrace that you can walk out onto. This is where one of the most beautiful ceilings is!
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If you go out on that terrace and look back, you will see the walls of the house up close.
To give you a better idea of just how many porcelain pieces this house has, check this out:
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The Porcelain House: Art on the Walls
The house itself is four stories tall. The space itself is not actually very ornate at all. As you go through the house, though, you will see a variety of art pieces on every wall. The best ones are the ones on the stairs, but you will see some great scenes on the larger walls as well!
You will be able to see some of the animals from the Chinese zodiac as well.
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