Saturday, February 7: When we first arrived in Lijiang, Merry at our hotel told us we should visit “Moose Mansion.” She gave us some tickets to get in and told us if we used them we could pay her for them at a discounted price. If we didn’t use them, we could just return them to her. We wondered about this “Moose” Mansion; we had no idea what it was or whether it was a worthwhile place to visit. Other places seemed more appealing, so we kept putting it off.
Today, Alex and I plan to rent bicycles, although we aren’t sure where to do so; we think it might be nice to ride the bicycles to Baisha, an ancient village with some famous frescoes, and Shuhe, a town along the ancient tea route that some of my colleagues recommended highly. Before we do this, though, we think we’ll drop by the mysterious mansion, what finally discover is called Mu’s Mansion. I’ve finally seen on the map the proper name of the mansion, although we’ve been calling it “Moose Mansion” all this time. We head out into the streets of Lijiang, where we come upon this interesting fire engine, perfect for the pedestrian-only streets of the old town.
As we walk, we see cozy and inviting restaurants along the way.
According to ChinaTravelRUS: Mu’s Residence: The Mufu (Mu’s Mansion) is Lijiang’s ancient ruler Mu’s official residence. Mu received his officials in this palace and although it was basically a residence, it also served as the center of politics, power and wealth in ancient Naxi. Mu was a ruler of Ming dynasty who commissioned this mansion to be built in exactly the same style as the Forbidden City.
I’ve been to the Forbidden City; I like this complex more because of its beautiful grounds.
The mansion was destroyed in the 1870s by warfare in the Qing Dynasty, but it was reconstructed, from 1996-1999 by the World Bank, along the lines of the original. It showcases an eclectic mix of Naxi, Bai and Tibetan architecture.
The eight acre complex faces east and has Shizi Mountain, also known as Lion Mountain, at its back. Mu’s Mansion has two major parts, namely a living area and an office area.
The portions of the architectural complex include Guangbi Building, the Stone Memorial Arch of Loyalty, Hufa Hall, Sanqing Hall, Yimen Meeting Hall, Yuyin Lou, Wanjuan building, and many yards, corridors, rooms, side halls, and rest rooms.
Alex is especially interested in the weapons we find in the main hall. Like many boys, he and my other son Adam have been fascinated by weapons since they were little.
Mu’s seat of power looks very impressive with its chair draped in a tiger skin.
The Ming vases flanking his seat are iconic Chinese.
I always love colorful pavilions. In the shade of this one, Alex hams it up for the camera.
I find the colorful architectural detail on the underside of the flying eaves so intricate and elegant.
The grounds are beautiful too, with pathways leading through gardens, ponds and bamboo groves.
It is such a lovely day to be walking around such a gorgeous place. I find plenty of opportunities to take pictures, so we linger here a long time.
Of course, Alex has to do his signature handstand for posterity.
Inside one hall, we find what I believe are replicas of the Baisha frescoes, some of which we will see this afternoon in Baisha.
We head up the hill behind the mansion, where we can see the rooftops of Lijiang Ancient Town.
I love the ponds and weeping willows. I bet it’s really beautiful when the willows are green.
After exploring the grounds of Mu’s Mansion, we head up to Lion Hill, where we climb up a pavilion to see sweeping views of Lijiang and Jade Dragon Snow Mountain.