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Find the financial history of China at Pingyao(2010-5-5)

2007-10-01

           Find the financial history of China at Pingyao

 

Pingyao town, which located around 100 km the south of Taiyuan, is one of the UNESCO World Heritage Site. This city, that has no modern building, is unique for its narrow stone plate streets. Shanxi province is popular for its China’s business history. One of the reasons why people visit Pingyao is to learn a little bit further history about the China’s financial history.

 Pingyao city started to develop into a merchant center (the banking center) since the Ming Dynasty. One of the most powerful banks during that time is “The Ri Sheng Chang”. Built during the Qing Dynasty, The Ri Sheng Chang can be considered as the national earliest banks in China. The China Banking System first developed in Pingyao.

 Another attraction from Pingyao is its “Da Yuan” – the Grand Courtyard. There are two famous Da Yuan in Pingyao: The Wangjia Dayuan – the Wang Family’s Grand Courtyard and the Qiaojia Dayuan – the Qiao Family’s Grand Courtyard. Da yuan was a special name for the residential place of the wealthy merchants from Shanxi – the “Jin Shang”. According to its history, the wealthy merchants like Wang’s family or Qiao’s family built the huge courtyard because these families preserve the traditional family value, which is gathering the big family member together.

 The Wangjia Dayuan is unique for its architectural design of the courtyard. According to one source, the woodcarving on the windows was painted and crafted with beautiful landscape, so that the family members or the residents who stayed can enjoy the beauty from the outside world, such as the mountains, the plants, the animals, and the water, without leaving their room. On the other hand, the Qiaojia Dayuan is popular for its labyrinthine. One source said that the labyrinth symbolize the restricted life of women in the classical China. This labyrinth was a setting for the “Raise the Red Lantern” movie, which directed by Zhang Yimou.

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