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(Artist) Tang Shaoyun Sherlock Holmes of the Canvas!
Overseas Chinese Museum
Xiamen Bridge Museum
Jinquan Coin Museum
(Island Ring Rd.)
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(well worth the drive!) Xiamen
British Museum was home to a million antiquities,
several dozen of which were legitimately come by...Most of these
items made their eventual way to the ever-expanding collections of the
British Museum, where they were set out on display with clear labels in
many languages so that foreign tourists could come and see their lost
valuables with minimum inconvenience."
The Golem's Eye, Jonathan Stroud, p.17
Xiamen has 139 cultural,
historical (even hysterical) preservation sites. And having been up a
tree most of my life, it is comforting to know Xiamen has 533 protected
ancient or famous trees. We have 18 historical temples and churches (including
China's oldest Protestant Church), as well
as 17 museums—including Asia’s largest Piano Museum, China's
1st anthropology museum (Xiamen University),
a Coin Museum, China's best bridge museum (beneath Haicang Suspension
Overseas Chinese Museum,
about 2 km south of Zhongshan Rd. on S. Siming Rd. (just over the hill
from Xiamen University), was proposed by Tan Kah Kee, founder of Xiamen
University, and built in 1956. It opened to the public in May of 1959.
The 30,000 square feet (wow!—that’s 15,000 pairs of socks!)
have over 7,000 items in displays documenting the lives of overseas Chinese
through different historical periods.
The museum is divided into six sections, from relics of old China to photographic
and pictorial evidence of Huaqiao (overseas Chinese) exploration. The
ground floor's three halls contain paintings, photos and documentation
of the Fujianese life abroad, an interesting way for us laowai (foreigners)
to see the other side of the coin. Some of the pottery and bronzes date
back to the Shang Dynasty (1600—1100BC—or, more accurately,
Over 2.5 million overseas Chinese, in over 50 countries, claim to have
their roots in Fujian Province! Open daily, 9 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.
on Gulangyu Islet, is Xiamen’s largest, and housed within the circa
1907 “Eight Trigrams Tower” (named after its round red roof).
The museum has over 10,000 artifacts, including jade and porcelain, and
Xiamen is now building a 300 million Yuan Xiamen Museum in the Yuandang
Lagoon area (which is fast becoming the city’s cultural center).
Piano Museum is on Gulangyu Islet (within
Shuzhuang Garden). Thirty of the over 70 historic pianos were provided
by Mr. Hu Youyi, a piano collector from Australia whose hometown is Gulangyu
I enjoy the old player pianos, and the barrel organs that organ grinders
used to play as their monkeys scampered around the crowds collecting donations.
The pianos came from Britain, France, Germany, America, Austria and Australia.
The museum also has over 100 piano lamps. The displays are in two separate
buildings, so be sure to catch the exhibits in the rear building.
No. 45 Huang Yan Rd., Gulangyu
Bridges are fascinating because they show us the routes people used for
travel and trade. And Xiamen is a great place for a Bridge Museum because
our province has some of the finest bridges on the planet—both old
Quanzhou’s Luoyang Bridge (see the Quanzhou section) was built 1,000
years ago of massive granite slabs—some of them ten meters long.
This bridge is one of the first examples of biological engineering (they
used the secretions of live oysters to cement the granite blocks together).
Anping bridge, just south of Quanzhou, was the world’s longest bridge
during the middle ages. But I most enjoy the delightful wooden covered
bridges that are all over northern and Western Fujian—especially
the 700-year-old structure northwest of Fuzhou (on the way to Zhouning).
The Xiamen Bridge Museum, located right beneath the Haicang Bridge, has
attracted both tourists and experts with its introduction of famous Chinese
and foreign bridges (including the iron arch bridge over the Thames River,
the Normandy Suspension Bridge, deng deng). About 1/3 of the indoor area
is devoted to fascinating exhibits about the construction of Xiamen’s
beautiful Haicang Bridge. I’d tell you more about this suspension
bridge but I want to keep you in suspense.
The former British Consulate is now a coin museum! Xi’an’s
Jin Quan company has transformed the beautiful colonial building (built
around 1870) into Fujian’s largest coin museum, with over 5200 exhibits
dating from the New Stone Age to New China (1949). It also includes a
fine selection of Fujian coins. This fine museum, opened September 28,
1991, must be right on the money because it has attracted coin experts,
dignitaries and tourists from throughout Asia. Jin Quan Coin Museum is
located at #5 Zhongshan Rd., Gulangyu Islet.
The Koxinga Museum
has 23 national level historical relics, as well as one local historical
relic who sells tickets. (Read about Koxinga on pages 18,19 in Amoy Magic.).
Art in the Park
Museums are nice, but Xiamen has also worked to move art and culture
out into the open, where the people are. Our city has 119 traditional
and modern sculptures scattered about downtown areas, open amphitheatres,
along the beach, in picnic areas, and in parks. Favorites include “Egret
Fairy,” “Koxinga,” and “3 Generations of Helping
15 Minute Walk—or
Five? In our presentation for the Nations in Bloom Competition in Stuttgart,
Germany, in October 2002, we wrote, “Xiamen citizens are never more
than a 15 minute walk from a park.” So imagine my surprise when,
two days before our presentation, the mayor of Stuttgart boasted, “Stuttgart
citizens are never more than a 5 mi1nute walk from a park.”
Talk about stealing one’s thunder! But I stole it back. During the
presentation I said, “In Xiamen, citizens are never more than a
15 minute walk from a park.” I paused, then added, “I know
the Mayor of Stuttgart said that his people are only a 5 minute walk from
a park—but fortunately for us, Xiamen people don’t have to
walk so fast!”
Fujian Sites Fujian
Foto Album Xiamen
Last Updated: May 2007
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