Today was a rainy day, so no walks. Instead we went to the Shanghai Oriental Art Center in Pudong, to see the Gallery of Antique Music Boxes. It was so much more, an unusual collection of turn-of-the-century automata. No photos were allowed in the gallery, but there were display cabinets along the stairs up to the gallery:
A guide accompanies you for the first part of the tour, demonstrating the cylinder and disk music boxes, then singing birds and a street organ. You see the oldest music box in the world, made in 1796 by Antoine Favre in Switzerland, in a tiny gold seal/stamp. There is a video of a tea-serving doll. You see the results of the drawing automaton, such as a detailed profile of one of the King Louis XV. There is a small stage to see the performance of a few large automata, which in their actions tell a short story. You are then allowed to look through the rest of the exhibit on your own.
To find the gallery, we ended up walking around the entire Oriental Art Center. You need to make sure you are not there earlier than 10:30 am! Then it is easy to go in the main entrance, up a flight of stairs and to the left you will see a doorway to more stairs. Go to the 4th floor and enter the gallery. There is a 50 RMB admission fee. A couple flights back down, there is a Reuge Music Company shop, where there are more interesting music boxes to see, some very contemporary.
Our next stop was the Beer Fest at Kerry Parkside.
Sunday, September 23, 2012
The Shanghai Metro has vending machines for Metro souvenirs:
Speaking of funny, an ad for an amusement park with inflated heads:
Now for Shanghai Story Walk III ("Money and Trouble") from the book Shanghai Story Walks by Yvette Ho Madany. This walk takes place in the former International Settlement, where the British and American settlements merged in 1863. We did the walk in reverse.
Starting at Nanjing Xi Road, we walked north on Shaanxi Bei Road. At No. 369 Shaanxi Bei Road is the Song Mansion:
The villa is now the clubhouse of the Song Qingling Foundation for the welfare of women and children.
No. 375 Shaanxi Bei Road, the Shanghai Grace Church plaque:
Grace Church was built in 1942 by an American Baptist missionary, Dr. R. T. Bryan. It is now a non-denominational Protestant church, and seems to have a big red cross that can be illuminated:
C. Y. Tung Maritime Museum in Jiaotong University. He bought this house in 1940:
A peek here shows a trompe l'oeil mural:
No. 457 Shaanxi Bei Road plaque:
garian architect László Hudec:
Today the villa houses the Shanghai Lexicographical Publishing House.
In the courtyard, two girls were piecing together plastic vines:
A Greek Revival-style temple building built in 1921, commissioned by the Sephardic Jew, Jacob Elias Sassoon, as a memorial to his wife, Rachel:
At No. 549 Shaanxi Bei Road, a garden-style villa built in 1924 was said to have granitic plaster on the walls and dentil moulding. All we could see were vines:
We turned left on Xikang Road, and left again at Beijing Xi Road, looking for Lane 1222. It is actually Lane 1220 and the Avondale House is at No. 2:
Across the lane next to No.1, someone was protecting his Lincoln Town Car:
Across the street at No. 1301 is the former residence of Bei Zuyi:
I am serious when I say I am the only person in Shanghai who does not have a mobile phone. I always say even the recyclers have mobile phones:
The house was the first in Shanghai to have an elevator, and it also had air conditioning and heated floors. Wu believed the round shape was good feng shui, but in 1966 during the Cultural Revolution, he and his wife committed suicide here. The house was purchased in 1999 by someone from Taiwan and it once housed a restaurant. Today it looked abandoned.
Across the street at Nos. 314, 320 and 330 Tongren Road are apartment buildings built in 1932 and also designed by László Hudec:
Shi Liangcai was a journalist who considered the Qing Dynasty to be corrupt. He purchased a newspaper in 1912 so he could express his views. The newspaper published articles by the leftist writers such as Lu Xun and Mao Dun. This angered the Kuomintang Party and they assassinated Shi. Shi's widow auctioned off the villa and other holdings and donated the money to the fight against the Japanese (not a KMT policy!).
Some architectural details:
The book also tells about what happens with some of the Guo descendants, including the struggles of Daisy Guo during the Cultural Revolution.
Daisy attended the McTyeire School for Girls at 155 Jiangsu Lu. There is another story of the ties between the McTyeire School and the Song family.
A bit farther east on Nanjing Xi Road, in front of the Portman Ritz-Carlton at Shanghai Centre:
Hardoon used his savings to buy real estate, where he took advantage of circumstances to increase his holdings. He owned 40% of the property along Nanjing Road, and used his own money to pave a road.
In 1846 Hardoon married Luo Jialing, who became known as Lisa Roos. She was a devout Buddhist and had a famous monk design a garden at the location of the Exhibition Center. The most opulent estate in Shanghai was completed in 1910, supposedly inspired by the villa and garden from one of China's classical novels, Dream of the Red Chamber. Not only did they host famous artists and politicians, they hosted charity galas, such as for flood victims. They donated money to build Cai Yuanpei's school,as well as a other schools. They had no biological children, but adopted two dozen kids, both Chinese and Caucasian.
Hardoon died in 1931 and his wife died in 1941. The children began disputing the inheritance and the estate became neglected. The Japanese camped here in the 1940s and by 1945 only a few rooms remained, the rest having burned due to faulty wiring. By 1949 all the children had left the mainland, and the government took over the Hardoon properties.
We continued with Shanghai Story Walk IV.