June 15 Guo Ziyi House

We were walking with Harmony along one of the main  roads  in Neihu near the Wende subway stop when we discovered another piece of Neihu history.

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Jeff is standing in front of Guo Ziyi house in Neihu

I have walked past this curious gate on the road across from the Neihu high school and not given it a second glance

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Gate above the stairs going up a hill from the roadside to the Guo Ziyi House

There was a sign next to the gate saying that it was the entrance to the Guo Ziyi House, which was open to the public for tours. We decided to check it out, since we had some time before dinner. It was a steep climb up the hill, with a lot of stairs. You cannot see the house from the road, as it is that far up the hill above the road!

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Harmony on the stairs going up the hill to the Guo Ziyi House

The Guo Ziyi House was interesting, as its architecture was more in an European than Asian style. It was built in 1917. It is a two-story Western-style red-brick house. The  T-shaped house is decorated with colored tiles imported from Japan, and Baroque-style embellishments.

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Harmony is standing inside of a first floor room in the Guo Ziyi House

There was a traditional family ancestor shrine in one of the rooms downstairs.

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Shrine of the Guo Ziyi ancestors in a room downstairs in the Guo Ziyi House

Guo Ziyi (697-781) was a Tang Dynasty statesman, known for his impressive feats 1,250 years ago. He is the ancestor of the world’s Guo (often spelled “Kuo” in Taiwan) clan. He earned his fame for ending the An Shi Rebellion in 755, and served under four Tang emperors. In 762, Guo was made Prince of Fenyang for his achievements.

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Close up view of the family shrine

This room was formerly the dining room of the house. A variety of historical documents were on display,

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Jeff is standing in the former dining room of the Guo Ziyi House

The Guo Ziyi House was the home of the first Neihu Village mayor Kuo Hua-jang during the Japanese colonial era, and it was designated as a municipal historical heritage site by the Taipei City Government in 1999.

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A bust of Mayor Kuo Hua-jang on display inside of the house

This room was the library. It had many interesting historical displays. Unfortunately (for me), everything on display only had signs in Chinese. And the tour guide was explaining everything in Chinese. So most of what I am writing about is what Jeff translated for me.

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Photo of the library in the Guo Ziyi House

There were stairs going to second floor in a hallway on the back of the house. The red bricks used in the Guo Ziyi House are larger (about 4 inches) and denser than those used today.

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Stairs going up to the second floor in the Guo Ziyi House

Here is a view looking out of a first floor window to the yard in the back of the house.

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Photo of the view looking out of the downstairs back window

Despite being designated as a historical site, the house continued to be neglected for more than a decade

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Second floor hallway in the Guo Ziyi House

Thanks to the efforts of the World Guo Clan’s Association President Kuo Shih-chi, starting in October, 2010, the house was given a year-long facelift. This effort was lead by Guo Ching-po, another member of the Guo clan and a master craftsman who specializes in restoration work of historical structures.

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View looking out of a second floor window of the Guo Ziyi House

It must be nice to have such expertise in your extended family when you need to restore your ancestral home! Even so, the total renovation cost was approximately $50 million NT ($1.6  million US dollars). The World Guo Clan Association donated more than $30 million NT of these funds and the Taipei City Government provided the rest of the money needed to complete the restoration.

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Second floor room in the Guo Ziyi House

The photo below shows how the house looked before its restoration.

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Photo of the Guo Ziyi House before its restoration

The photo below was taken after the restoration of the Guo Ziyi House. World Guo Clan family members came from all over the world to visit the house. There are more than 500 of them in the photo below!

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Photo of a photo of the World Guo Clan family members gathered in front of the restored Guo Ziyi House in Neihu

 

 

 

 

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