Thursday, November 15, 2007

Old House from the TaiPing Uprising (太平天國) Age

Suzhou is an old city, with many historical buildings. This is one of them. This one on 大新橋巷, facing a canal, and quite close to 藕園, is not that old, comparatively speaking. About 150 years only. I was walking towards 藕園, saw this house with the door open, and this old man sitting down in front of the house to have tea. So I chatted to him.

According to this man, this house and those around it used to belong to a general in the 太平天國. And he himself was a descendent of male and female servants of the TaiPing general. Believe it or not.

What is not in doubt is that this is a protected historical house. It is also well known that 忠王李秀成, one of the more respected leaders of the TaiPing, was the general who captured Suzhou in 1960 when the TaiPing was in its heyday and was also beginning to decline. His palace in Suzhou is now the Suzhou Museum. Suzhou is full of history. Everywhere I turn, I half expected to bump into some ghost from the past. Too bad they are just ghosts.

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