The Cheong Fatt Tze Blue Mansion ~ Part 2Posted on Oct 21 in Malaysia Exploration, Penang Islandby ShelynPrint
If you have not read Part 1, click here ~> The Cheong Fatt Tze Blue Mansion Part 1
Of his vast empire, Cheong Fatt Tze chose Penang to build the most elaborate of his home and to raise his sons. It is reputed to be ONLY one of two such buildings of this size, outside China and certainly the MOST perfected. While the Mansion’s floorplan is essentially Chinese, the overall effect is eclectic and typical of 19th Century Straits Settlements architecture.
Gothic louvered windows, Chinese cut & paste porcelain work, Stoke-on-Trent floor tiles, Scottish cast iron works and Art Nouveau stained glass are among the features to be found in this inspired work of art. Too bad I can’t show you photos, since photograph is prohibited inside the mansion.
Chinese cut & paste porcelain work
Why did Cheong Fatt Tze choose Penang to build his favourite house?
2 things that men always can’t resist are Money and Sex Women.
Do you have your ‘favourite’ money? What favourite money? I love ALL SORTS of money!
Do you have your favourite woman? Sure I do, among all my 5 girlfriends, I still prefer Angelina Jolie.
So since Cheong Fatt Tze is a man, he has his favourite wife too. Among all his 8 OFFICIAL wives (unofficial is an uncountable number), he favoured 7th wife, Tan Tay Po @ Chan Kim Po, the most. Madam Tan also hold the distinction as being the only one to be mentioned in his will. That’s why he built his favourite house in Penang to house his 7th wife. He married her when he was 70, and she was 50 years younger than him. So do your maths.
The Feng Shui Factor
The whole house, I meant every detail of the house, was designed according to Feng Shui factor. See the 5 houses in the picture below? These are the houses right opposite Cheong Fatt Tze mansion, they belonged to Cheong Fatt Tze. They were actually part of the blue mansion. But why were they built separately? According to the good Feng Shui, a house should not face a T-junction, as the T-junction will direct the ‘money’ away. Thus, Cheong Fatt Tze bought the opposite land and built a row of houses to prevent any possibility of T-junction being built.
If you have a chance to visit blue mansion, you will find that there isn’t kitchen at all in the house. As the kitchens were only built in these 5 houses, so all cooking was done across the street.
Only people with a lot of maids will come out with this amazing idea.
There are also a lot of beautifully crafted BATS. Bats symbolize HAPPINESS. That’s why the mansion is full of Bats aka Happiness.
The classical symmetry of the house, meanwhile, ensures that the Feng Shui ‘heart’ is located in the middle of the central courtyard, thereby retaining the point from which the greatest ‘Chi’ 气 (vortex) energy emanates. This point would have been selected by the original Feng Shui master as the central spot of the construction – with the rest of the mansion evolving from there, as depicted in the photos below.
We were not allowed to take any photo inside the mansion. So this picture is copied from http://linuxformat.co.uk/
Do you like gold hunting? You can hunt gold in Cheong Fatt Tze’s mansion. There is actually REAL gold buried at the bottom of the main foundation pillars in the courtyard. This is said to ensure the flow of continuing wealth. The sunken floor is specially designed to ensure the water flow in the house. For non-Chinese readers, water = money in Chinese belief.
We were not allowed to take any photo inside the mansion. So this picture is copied from http://www.worldisround.com/
On top of these, the best position for a house to be situated is ‘Off the dragon’s back’, meaning firstly, to face the sea, which the mansion does, secondly, to have hills behind it for protection, which it also does, and thirdly, to be on an INCLINE or SLOPE, which, obviously, quite impossible due to the land stopography. But who is the mansion’s owner? It’s Cheong Fatt Tze, the almighty. So to achieve the desired requirements, granite steps to the back of the central courtyard were elevated about eleven inches, as well as the entire rear section of the house, so the last part of the mansion is substantially higher than the front.
I wonder if his Feng Shui master is an almighty, if Feng Shui can bring one wind and rain (要风得风,要雨得雨).
~*~ The Myth of Venetian Blinds ~*~
Even the blinds are incorporated with Feng Shui elements. The shutter grooves form the Yin Yang symbols when closed. Err… hard to imagine right? How I wish I have a photo to describe. According to the guide, Venetian blinds are actually invented in China.
If you love craftsmanship, you can probably spend a few hours here observing every detail of the mansion. It’s like a treasure hunt, you will be amazed by all the different surprises the house conceals.
This is our most interesting tour in Penang. I enjoyed the story of Cheong Fatt Tze, and was especially amazed by his unyielding attitude and yet colorful personality. Besides, the complication of profound Feng Shui has really broadened my views. This is really a great tour. I never knew Malaysian history can be so intriguing. Wait… in fact I can’t even be sure if it’s actually Malaysian history, since it’s not even mentioned in our school history book. Our history book only talks about weak rulers that lost their land to colonials.
Anyway, the history of Cheong Fatt Tze and his Blue Mansion is just way more interesting than all those same stories that I read from my school history books.
~*~ Before the End of the Tour ~*~
Cheong Fatt Tze passed away in Jakarta in 1916. The Dutch & British authorities ordered that flags be flown at half mast throughout their colonies.
The dilapidated Mansion was acquired in 1990 with the prime intention of achieving a return to an authentic original form. Traditional materials and methods have been utilized and the end result has been nationally and internationally acclaimed. Winner of ‘Most Excellent Project’ Award at the UNESCO Heritage Awards 2000, the Cheong Fatt Tze Mansion has earned its place as one of Penang’s foremost tourist destinations, a historical reminder of a past era and a man whose dream will live on in the majesty of his home.
Enquiries: 14 Leith Street, 10200 Penang, Malaysia
Tel: 604-262 0006
Website (with full details of the mansion and Cheong Fatt Tze’s Profile): www.cheongfatttzemansion.com