Former Residence of Guo Moruo

Address: No 19 Qianhai West Avenue Xicheng Dis.
Tel: +86-10-83225392, +86-10-83225985
Entrance Fee: 20 RMB

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The Former Residence of Guo Moruo is situated at the western bay of Shicha Hai (Hou Hai or Back Sea) with an area of over 7,000 square meters with at least 500 square meters of architectural area. This residential courtyard was previously the imperial garden for the well known corrupt officials of Qing Dynasty, He Shen. Anyway, this garden was abandoned after the execution of He Shen. Later, during the reign of Emperor Tongzhi, this courtyard turned to be the field for horses of Prince Gong Mansion. After the decline of Qing Dynasty, the descendants of Prince Gong had sold this piece of land to the owner of Le Family who owned the Daren Tang Chinese Herbs and Medical Shop. After the formation of People’s Republic of China, this mansion was served as the Embassy of the Republic of Mongolia.
In the November of 1963, Guo Moruo had moved to this residence and spent his final 15 years here. The plague with five golden Chinese characters “Guo Mo Ruo Gu Ju” (Former Residences for Guo Moruo) which is hung at the main entrance of this residence was written by Deng Yingchao. Guo Moruo, a Sichuan origin, was an author, poet, script writer, archeologist as well as expert of ancient Chinese literature. He had stayed here until June of 1978 when he passed away.
The main entrance of the Former Residences for Guo Moruo is situated in the way of facing east. Once you enter the main gate, you will need to walk through a narrow path until you reach a well decorated gate which was named as Chuihua Men (One of the Chinese traditional designed gate). By entering the Chuihua Men, you will therefore reach the residential Siheyuan of Guo Moruo. The main hall was the bedroom, meeting room as well as the office for Guo Moruo while the back room was the bedroom, study room and painting room for Guo’s wife, Madam Yu Liqun. Many hand writings of Guo Moruo as well as his collection of books are displayed here. In year 1982, the Former Residences for Guo Moruo was listed as one of the Keyed Conservative Building of Beijing city and was officially opened to public in year 1988.
The garden within the Chuihua Men (One of the Chinese traditional designed gate) was designed in an unsymmetrical form with two small hills in front of the courtyard. The main building area was located at the northern part of the courtyard. The whole residential area was well designed as a double-entry Siheyuan. The main hall as well as the east building and west building were designed with covered walkways in front of the entrance. The covered walkways are actually connected to the building as the extension from the roofing of each building. In order for the ease of reach between all buildings, there are corridors which specifically made to connect between all these walkways.
Besides that, there is a tall Ginkgo biloba which proudly stood at the front court of the Former Residences for Guo Moruo. Three years had been spent by Professor Situ Zhaoguang, a professor of Central Arts Institution in order to create a sculpture for Guo Moruo. Detailed researches as well as surveys were taken place to find out the most significant posture of Guo Moruo. A bronze sculpture of Guo Moruo in a sitting posture which seems to be in a deep thought was placed under his beloved Ginkgo biloba tree can be found within this garden. Anyway, the reason that the bronze sculpture was placed here but not at the entrance part of the garden was due to his loved to this Ginkgo tree when he was alive.
In the inner garden of this courtyard, some other plants as well as the shelves which used to be the supporters for grapes can be found as well. Nowadays, the main hall as well as the west and east buildings of the Former Residences for Guo Moruo have been modified into the display room for the biography of this well known figure. All his contributions to the nation no matter in terms of Chinese literature, history, archeology as well as translation are listed in detailed within this limited space.
Perhaps even when you accidentally pass by the entrance of the Former Residences for Guo Moruo during your trishaw ride along the narrow path around Shicha Hai (Hou Hai or Back Sea), you may not discover that there is a unique residential yard here. It is in fact a large scale Siheyuan which served as the royal garden of Heshen during Qing Dynasty at the first place. However, the yard had gone through a few hands of owner before Guo Moruo took over the ownership of this lovely courtyard.
Although this residential courtyard had witnessed the changes throughout the century, there is no unique architecture left within this area. The ancient well which was located at the south western part of the main gate was a well which was used ever since the whole area served as Prince Gong Mansion. Anyway, this ancient well had been abandoned for years. It was recovered it previous look as a well when the renovation project for the whole residential area was carried out during the spring of 2000. Thus, this well can be considered as the best evidence which is able to proof the changes occurred within this courtyard.
The entire rooms within Former Residences for Guo Moruo are basically allowed for visit through window tours only. All the rooms had been covered by glasses with the items displayed inside are exactly the same when Guo Moruo and his family stayed here. For living room, Guo Moruo preferred to sit at the single sofa which was placed beside the piano. This was due to his deafness and need to listen with the aid of audiphones which produced better effect in his left ear. So, when he was sitting here, the guest would be sitting on his left which some what improved the sound quality of the conversation.
The Chinese painting that hung behind the seat of Guo Moruo was the great work of Fu Baoshi, one of the Chinese Painting Masters in China. Anyway, the persons drawn within the painting were not ancient people with traditional clothing but in fact referred to both Guo Moruo and the painter himself. Some favorite stones of Guo Moruo were placed below this great painting. A not working clock which forever shows at 4:20 can be found along the window of the living room. The stated time was the exact time when Guo Moruo passed away.
The room that located next to the living room was the office of Guo Moruo when he was alive. He used to complete his daily affairs on the desk here. The table calendar on the desk shows the date when Guo Moruo passed away. His frequent used audiphones as well as the tea cup is still placed within easy reach of his hand in case he was sitting at the desk. Moreover, the diary of his sons which was written by him was tidily arranged on the desk for remembrance of his sons who had sacrificed during the Cultural Revolution of China.

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