Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Sites : Cheong Fatt Tze Mansion, Penang, Malaysia

You are at - Jotaro's Blog / Footsteps / Malaysia 2014 - Travel Sites / Cheong Fatt Tze Mansion     |     Go to 1st Floor
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George Town, Penang, Malaysia - February 2014
A visit to Cheong Fatt Tze Mansion is like a visit to the colonial times when sailing ships visited Penang Island, when the British held sway over part of trade of this region and when the Chinese kapitans and entrepreneurs took advantage of the booming times and became tycoons.

Cheong Fatt Tze was on of those entrepreneurs, who not only did well in business but went on to become the Chinese Consul based in Penang. He was even invited by the Emperor of China to propose a national development plan which was so well received that he was appointed the a minister for the provinces of Fujian and Guangdong.

Front view of main building
He had many houses in the region, and among those is this one located at Leith Street in Penang.

What makes this building distinct from many other old heritage building on Penang Island is it's striking indigo blue colour. One just cannot miss it.
I note that although Cheong originated from DabuGuangdong Province, the design of this mansion slight resemblance to houses in the Yunan region in terms of the indigo blue colour and gable end colourful carved decorations (... see China: Dynamic Yunnan Day 3).


Even before entering, the building starts to impress visitors. The front perimeter wall is filled with carved green bamboo grilles.
Visitors can only enter this place on guided tours at MYR12-00 per pax. Tours are carried out daily at 11:00 am, 1:30 pm and 3:00 pm.

Entrance is through a gate on the right. The roof of this arch gate is a three tiered Chinese tiled roof with bamboo end tiles. Oddly at the top-most ridge instead on dragon statues, there are statues of a couple of fishes. Does this suggest that Cheong is a prolific traveller?

Detailed panel carvings at the entrance arch gate.

A small garden lawn at the front of the building.

The front balcony of the main building with elaborate railings and a red facing brick columns (a Anglo touch perhaps?).

Elaborate carvings with dragons at the gable end wall of the main building.

At the other gable wall is a similar carving but with phoenixes instead.

At the front corridor are a couple of rickshaws and a trishaw. These are probably added in to add some authenticity of colonial days as they would normally be stored in the stables that are at the back of the building back in those days.


Entering through the central front door leads to the Greeting Hall, this is where visitors wait to be greeted. It's floor are paved with decorative floor tiles. At the far end is a carved wooden panel which seems to terminate the room but is actually where entrances (i.e. at the positions of the two giant vases) to the open courtyard behind. This open courtyard provides excellent ventilation to the house. Even on a hot day, the house is cool.

One of the giant Chinese vase with intricate glazed floral patterns and a scene from historical Chinese court.

To the left of this entrance hall is an office to carry out official business.

Behind the work desk is a strong old steel safe and to the sides are antique rosewood chairs inlaid with mother-of-pear. Close up the floor tiles looks in beautiful and are still in good condition. On the table is a plaque attesting this place as a winner of Trip Advisor 2013 Award.

While to the right is a tea room.

Back at the entrance hall, I pause to admire the panel window, the sunglight shimmering through brighten up the mosaic inlay. 

The timber partition at the rear of the room is well crafted and give a peek to the main air-well at the back.

One of the blue Ming Vases that sit in front of the carved timber partition.

Close up of the partition showing the intricate carving painted in gold.

A peep through shows the main air-well and the dining hall on the opposite side.

The main air-well, facing the front of the building. Two staircases can be seen leading to the first floor. The air-well is an important feature of a typical house of Southern China. It let's in natural lighting and ventilation to the house.
Oh, yes, we were all listening attentively to the tour guide as she elaborated on the history of the man and the house.

Eight columns ring the perimeter of the air-well, with each column proudly topped by an ornamental crown.

Looking up, ornamental railings together with more but smaller columns can be seen.

To the rear is the dining room. Presumably a large round dining table was originally located here.

A tall aluminium tiffin carrier. This may not be as beautiful as those colourful enamel ones, but it is certainly tall - eleven stack tall.

Colourful embossed floral porcelain wall tiles.

A large glazed clay Dragon Pot.

Off to the sides of the main airwell are two annexes. Each of these have two narrower airwells. A covered corridor separate each two the narrower airwells. The floor tiles here are unglazed Chinese hexagon clay tiles.

A traditional granite stone rice grinding mill.

At the rear of each annexe are private rooms. I wonder what are inside them, let's go in and find out.

Some of these rooms contains memorabilia from the past of the house - photos, antiques, etc.

 Photos of family members; 

were these wives one of Cheong?

Statues of Chinese Immortals carved from red stone.

An ornate cast-iron arch door grille.

A timber tablet with finely carved intricate frame and Chinese characters.

A nice table lamp.

Ok, we are ready to go up to the first floor, are there more interesting things up there?
Let's take on of the fine timber stairs leading up to find out.

This blog comes in two parts -
Click here to go to Cheong Fatt Tze Mansion (1st Flr).

View Cheong Fatt Tze Mansion Location Map in a larger map

Related Blogs :

Malaysia - Khoo Kongsi's Art & Architecture,
George Town, Penang : January 2013
Beautiful art & architecture at the Khoo Kongsi,
a grand & majestic clan-house.

Pai Ti Kong - Jade Emperor God Festival : February 2014
Throngs of people massed at the clan jetties for a vibrant festivity to
celebrate the birthday of the Jade Emperor God at George Town, Penang.

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You are at - Jotaro's Blog / Footsteps / Malaysia 2014 - Travel Sites / Cheong Fatt Tze Mansion     |     Go to 1st Floor
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