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July
Exhibition showcases Huizhou architecture

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An exhibition of Huizhou architecture is showing at the Hong Kong Heritage Museum until June 13 next year.

The exhibition -- "Huizhou Vernacular Architecture" - consists of 35 pieces, including lattice windows and doors, railings and window panels.

The exhibits were selected from the collection of renowned designer Lo Kai Yin. Lo established her collection of architectural and decorative arts from Anhui province and has generously donated a number of pieces from her collection and loaned several valuable pieces to the Heritage Museum. Her interest in Chinese classical and vernacular furniture has led her to extend her focus to the broader framework of traditional living patterns in China, which include the house, family organisation, and social structure in the living environment.

Vernacular architecture, or "minju", refers to the dwellings of the ordinary people; it is an indigenous building style that uses local materials and traditional methods of construction and ornamentation. Chinese vernacular architecture is ideologically governed by Confucian rites, but it is also influenced by the natural environment as well as economic, cultural and ethnic factors in the individual region.

Wannan, in southern Anhui province, is particularly famous for its vernacular architecture, known as the Huizhou style. Many of the houses and ancestral halls in this region belonged to wealthy local merchants of the Ming and Qing periods. The region is densely populated and situated in a mountainous landscape. Most of the dwellings are small, two-storey courtyard houses and symmetrical in design.

To admit more light and air, the main hall on the ground floor - with side rooms occupying the north of the house - is not partitioned, but opens directly onto the courtyard; on the upper floor, the cantilevered verandas around the courtyard are fitted with wall-to-wall lattice windows.

A striking feature of these compact residences is the exquisite carvings on architectural components, such as the lattice windows and doors, railings, column bases and entrance canopies.

The division of the interior domestic space of a Wannan residence is structured according to hierarchies of generation, age and gender that reflect Confucian rites in traditional Chinese culture.

Located at 1 Man Lam Road in Shatin, the Heritage Museum opens from 10am to 6pm from Monday to Saturday, and from 10am to 7pm on Sundays and public holidays. It is closed every Tuesday (except public holidays). Admission is $10, with half-price concession for senior citizens aged 60 or above, people with disabilities and full-time students. Admission on Wednesdays is free.

As part of the Leisure and Cultural Services Department's Arts Care initiative, admission to the Heritage Museum will be free on all Sundays in July.

Also, visitors who buy one ticket in July and August will receive a complimentary admission coupon valid until September 30 at the following museums: the Heritage Museum, Hong Kong Museum of History, Hong Kong Museum of Art, Hong Kong Science Museum, Hong Kong Museum of Coastal Defence, and Hong Kong Space Museum (except the Space Theatre). The free coupon does not apply to special exhibitions with separate admission charges.

A free shuttle bus operates between the Shatin KCR Station and the Heritage Museum from 1pm to 6pm on Saturdays and from 1pm to 7pm on Sundays and public holidays.

For enquiries call 2180 8188 or visit the Heritage Museum's website at http://hk.heritage.museum.

End/Thursday, July 3, 2003

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