Li Family Courtyard

By Zhou Yuanyuan ( )

Updated: 2013-08-08


This grand courtyard, in the village of Yanjing, Wanrong county 38 kilometers to the north of the city of Yuncheng, Shanxi province, was built in the reign of the Daoguang emperor of the Qing Dynasty (1644-1911) and was the private residence of Li Ziyong, a wealthy merchant of Shanxi. Only 11 of its original 20 courtyards remain, along with the ancestral temple and garden, covering 100,000 square meters.

The courtyard is famous among the grand courtyards of Shanxi for its collection of Chinese, Japanese and European styles, including a Chinese quadrangle, Japanese sliding doors, and some Gothic architecture. The owner had a lot of experience, having studied in Britain and having married a British woman. The courtyard is ornamented in various ways, giving it artistic, historical and cultural value.

The Li family gained their wealth through traditional agriculture, then moved into commerce and industry. They were also known for their benevolence.