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Huguang Guild Hall

Huguang Guild Hall

Introduction of Huangguang Guild Hall

Chongqing Huguang Guild Hall, located at the Dong Shuimen Street (East Water Gate Street), was built in the reign of Emperor Qianlong in Qing Dynasty and renovated in the reign of Emperor Daoguang. It covers an area of 8561 square meters, including Guangdong Hall, Jiangnan Hall, Lianghu Hall, Jiangxi Hall and four theaters.

The reliefs and piercing-carvings are vivid and their themes are mainly about Pilgrimage to the West, The Romance of West Chamber and The Legend of Deification. There are also many carvings of dragon and phonix, and different animals and flowers. The entire building complex presents southern architectural art in Ming and Qing Dynasty. Huguang Guild Hall is the biggest ancient guild hall in China.

History of Huguang Guild Hall

At the end of the Ming Dynasty and the beginning of the Qing Dynasty the population in Sichuan declined dramatically. During the early Qing-Dynasty there lived only about 800,000 people in Sichuan Province. So the rulers of that time ordered people living in the Hu and Guang areas (Hu and Guang areas are Hubei, Hunan, Guangdong and Guangxi Provinces today) to move there to cultivate the fertile land. This was the famous Huguang Filled up Sichuan Movement. Those migrants all build their own guildhalls. The huguang Guild Hall was built by people from Hubei and Guangdong Provinces. Here they had a location for business, culture and social affairs. Huguang Guild Hall used to be the most prosperous one of 8 guild halls in Chongqing. The pattern of the walls in Huguang Guild Hall is the common yellow fireproof wall in Qing Dynasty. It is the typical Jiangnan architecture style. (More Details)

Yuwang Temple of Huguang Guild Hall

There is a Yuwang Temple in the guild hall. 300 years ago, Yuwang Temple Fair was held every year to pray for the good harvest in the coming year. Yuwang Temple was built with the donations of the richmen from Hunan and Hubei in 1759. The temple was built with black tiles. According to the regulation of Qing government, yellow is the color of emperor. Civilians can not use yellow tile. So, most of the buildings of civilians were built with black tiles.

The hall of Yuwang Temple is 12.5 meters high and 14 meters wide. The stories of Pilgrimage to the West and The Legend of Deification were exquisitely carved on the walls under the upturned eaves. All the dragon heads on the arches are facing to the Yangtze River which means Lock the river with Giant Dragon. There remains a theater in Yuwang Temple. The personal boxes on both side are for distinguished guests and the ground is for common people to watch the performance. There are other theaters here. In the afternoon, every theater was filled with people from different classes in society. Opera of Chongqing developed fast in this period.

Feature of Huguang Guild Hall

The style of Chongqing Huguang Guild Hall is different from Beijing's. Buildings are much like Jiangnan Garden. The hall was divided into many small courtyards and every courtyard had its own functions and landscapes. Rockery, flowers, bridges, corridors and paintings can be found here. The characters of Jiangnan Garden and Chongiqng building are perfectly combined together. One of the most landscape is the dragon ball in the mouth of a wooden dragon carved on the theater of Guangdong Hall. The wooded ball can move around in dragon's mouth, but it will never fall from the mouth.

The fireproof walls of Huguang Guild Hall are also special. The walls match well with the terrain. Some are in the shape of trapezoid, some are like a giant dragon lying on a mountain. It shows the great wisdom of the migrants.

Huguang Guild Hall used to record the past glory of Chongqing and it will witness the new glory of Chongqing.