Writer's old residence a new tourism hot spot

By ZHAO RUIXUE in Jinan | China Daily | Updated: 2023-10-02 10:09
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Workers repair the ceiling of the building. SUN LILI/FOR CHINA DAILY


"We repair them once a year and replace what is needed every three years, because sometimes birds take away materials for their nests, and heavy rains can wash away parts of the thatching," Sun said.

In addition, a restoration project for Pu's residence was begun in May to solve some prominent issues, such as leakage and structural tilting. It was the first of its kind since the structure was rebuilt.

The restoration is committed to using original materials, forms, craftsmanship and techniques, in order to maintain the historical appearance, said Pei Tao, director of the memorial hall.

For instance, the ceilings of the "Liaozhai" main building were woven by hand, using stems or leaves of cattails, which helps preserve its original appearance and can also protect against insects.

The memorial hall has 10 exhibition rooms, displaying more than 15,000 cultural relics, including the only real portrait of Pu, his manuscripts, seals and other national first-class cultural relics.

The exhibition areas also display valuable historical materials, such as ancient copies, foreign language versions, calligraphic works by renowned artists and colored sculptures depicting stories from the collection.

Sun said the memorial hall is advancing the revitalization and utilization of ancient sites by integrating research, education and tourism.

This year, the museum has organized over 10 cultural promotion events at schools, communities and workshops, contributing significantly to the preservation, inheritance and utilization of intangible cultural heritage such as Liaozhai liqu, which came into being through the creative efforts of Pu Songling.

Pu composed lyrics for his stories using popular folk tunes of his time. These Liaozhai liqu, a form of folk music, involve storytelling and theatrical performances, and are recognized as national-level intangible cultural heritage.

Pu Zhangjun, the 11th-generation descendant of Pu Songling, said that in the past, most people read the collection of tales out of curiosity, but now an increasing number of individuals are exploring the profound wisdom and deep philosophical insights it holds.

An example is the hit song Luocha Haishi (A Market in a Faraway Land), recently written and performed by Chinese pop singersongwriter Daolang.

The lyrics of Luocha Haishi are adapted from a Liaozhai Zhiyi tale of the same name, which talks about a man's adventure in a faraway kingdom called Luocha.

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