Ancient reading rooms and home schools witnesses of cultural legend

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Qiyun Reading Room.

Bao'an County was established in 331 and it has a long history and rich cultural resources. Bao’an cultivated numerous talents in the Ming (1368-1644) and Qing (1644-1911) dynasties. By the year of 1819, there were over 300 people serving the imperial court.

During the reign of Emperor Qianlong (1736-1796) of the Qing Dynasty, villages were dotted with old-style private schools and nearly every family had a reading room and hung plagues representing their children’s honors at home. Here are some of the most well-known ones.

Qiyun Reading Room

Qiyun Reading Room was established in the Guangxu Period (1875-1908) of the Qing Dynasty and is located in the eastern part of Xixiang. Qiyun Reading Room is the largest reading room in Bao’an, and it covers an area of more than 3,000 square meters. With exquisite wood, stone and brick carvings, the reading room is famous in South China for its first-class decoration materials.

Zheng Yao, founder of the Qiyun Reading Room, was a businessman. Raised in an impoverished family, he started his own business as a carpenter, and soon became rich by investing in real estate.

Jinting Library

Jinting Library is located in Lequn Village. It was established in 1895 by the Lin family from Hong Kong. Jinting Library covers an area of 1,081 square meters and it remains pristinely preserved in its original form. In 1949, the owners of the Jinting Library donated the reading room to the Xixiang government. The old-style private school was later transformed into today’s Xixiang Second Primary School.

Maojiashan Home School

Maojiashan Home School can be found just northeast of Fenghuang Village in Bao’an District. It was established in 1560 and covers an area of 223 square meters. Vivid woodcut characters and eye-catching paintings of historical legends dot the interior of the school.

Zhixi Home School

Zhixi Home School is in Shajing Subdistrict in Bao’an. It was established by Chen Caimao during the Guangxu Period of the Qing Dynasty. The main building is a post and panel structure built with redwood imported from Vietnam. The school is well-preserved and is a city-level historical and cultural site.(A Ding)

(Shenzhen Daily)

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