Thursday, April 15, 2010

Cheong Fatt Tze Mansion, Georgetown, Penang

Hello. As always, thanks for coming.

When we went to Penang we stayed two nights in the Cheong Fatt Tze Mansion, otherwise known as the "Blue Mansion". This blog is dedicated to this beautiful, historical building. There are also a few shots of the Eastern and Oriental Hotel, the "Raffles Hotel" of Penang, where we stayed the last two nights.

We very much enjoyed our stay at the Blue Mansion. It does bed and breakfast. It is comfortable but, of course, has no gym, pool or spa! It is a delight to wander round to your hearts content taking in the beauty of this lovely historic house. And of course trying to capture it with the camera.

You can see that the Blue Mansion is aptly named. I will tell you more about it and the man himself as you scroll through the photos below.

Cheong Fatt Tze was a Hakka who epitomises the rags-to-riches fairy story. At 16 he was penniless when he came to South East Asia - "The Land Of Opportunity". He was however given a leg-up by his merchant father-in-law. Cheong fatt Tze invested wisely, his wealth and influence grew. He was promoted to "Mandarin of the Highest Order" and Special Trade Commissioner for South East Asia.

Old style rickshaws. They don't look very

Cheong Fatt Tze had business interests that
included founding a shipping line, a winery
and modern banks, In 1911 he became a
senator in Parliament and Adviser to the
Chinese Government on administrative
and trade matters

Beautiful decorative work

He wasn't shy of showing his wealth. He had
mansions dotted around Asia

Not to mention 8 officially acknowledgd wives,
as well as concubines and handmaidens for his
every need. He officially acknowledged fathering
8 sons and six daughters, though it is thought
there may have been more. I don't know where
he found the time!

This photo shows a motif on the wall of the

He died of pneumonia in 1916 in Jakarta. The
Dutch and British authorities ordered the
lowering of the flag to half-mast.

The architecture of the Mansion is a model
of the traditional Chinese courtyard house.
The courtyard is in the middle of the house
and open to the elements. This stunning
decorative ironwork frames the entrance
from the sky to the courtyard

A choice corner

Wide, elegant rooms

The Mansion, built at the
end of 19th century, has 38
rooms, 5 granite-paved
courtyards, 7 staircases &
220 vernacular timber
louvre windows. Other
features of the house include
Gothic louvered windows,
Chinese cut and paste
porcelain work, Stoke-on-Trent
floor tiles, Glasgow cast iron
pillars and Art Nouveau
stained glass

Another corner shot with the sunlight adding
to the beauty of this jewel

Gorgeous spiral staircase.....

...from top to bottom

Places to relax outside the rooms on the
ground floor

I really like this painting which is hanging on
the same wall, near the spiral staircase

Simplicity itself

Corridor of the floor we
stayed on

Another staircase

This is the screen that separates the private
areas of the house from the public area, where
guests would be received.

The courtyard itself. The house is designed
according to traditional feng shui principles.
Feng shui masters who have visited the
house have described it as "feng shui
perfection" If you stay here this is your
breakfast room.

A section of the outside of the east wing

The entrance at night. In 2000 the Blue Mansion
was awarded the UNESCO "Most Excellent
Project" award. This was 10 years after it was
returned from a dilapitated state to an
authentic original form of the eclectic and
typical 19th century Straits Settlements

And now for something completely different.
After our special treat of culture and history
for two days we decided to relax with a spot
of luxury at the Eastern and Oriental, about a
10 minutes walk from the Blue Mansion. It
was established in 1885 by the Armenian
Sarkies Brothers. 2 years later, enthused by
the success of their venture, they founded
the Raffles Hotel in Singapore

Part of the view from our room

It was quite nice to be here.....

I hope you enjoyed the photos and learning
a bit about the Blue Mansion. Next time I'll
post photos of the people I came across
while we were in Georgetown. Hope to see
you then


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