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Guo's Centennial House Near Lotus Pond

Guo's Centennial House Near Lotus Pond

◎Written by Hou Ya-ting

◎English translation by Lin Yu-ciao

◎Photos by Hou Ya-ting

 

 

 Hidden in the alleyways near Lotus Pond in Kaohsiung's Zuoying District, tourists may stumble across Guo's Centennial House, a guesthouse built in 1909. This 112-year-old landmark is listed as one of 17 homestays in the city which displays “historical and cultural significance.

 Guo's Centennial House is a traditional Southern Fujian-style three-section compound house, known in Chinese as a sanheyuan. The main hall in the middle is the core. According to custom, the left and right sides of the main hall should accommodate senior members of the family. When the space there was insufficient, wings perpendicular to the main hall were added to provide rooms for the younger generation. This traditional configuration reflects ethical concepts, and the courtyard space in the middle is called cheng.

 Guo Jin-ji, the fourth-generation owner of Guo's Centennial House, grew up in this ancient abode. When he was a child, more than 20 people lived in the house. He played with his relatives' children and commuted to school by train. He knew when the train was approaching the station because of the steam locomotive's distinctive sound. 

 Guo's delightful childhood and affection toward the ancient house inspired him to embark on a renovation effort about nine years ago, after he realized that the compound had gradually become abandoned.

 This century-old residence is rich in cultural memories. The compound's original name, “Mei Kuei,” was chosen by the first generation of the Guo family and neighbors who had also migrated from Quanzhou in Fujian.

 Guo Jin-ji said that, during the Japanese occupation, the Guo family held the post of baozheng in the colonial government's Hoko system. The baozheng was responsible for public order and environmental hygiene in the neighborhood.

 The double-opening wooden door on the far right of the main hall is a feature associated with the post of baozheng. Guo said it is fortunate it has been preserved, so people can better understand the history of this ancient house.

 The main hall's brick walls are carved with bats, an auspicious motif. When they look at the hall, visitors are amused to see a small square hole. It was cut through the wall so cats could come and go, and keep the mouse population under control.

 When guests step into this red-brick, red-tile old house, they always take a lot of photos, Guo said. Their words show they take comfort in the building's preservation. Each evening, guests sit on a long bench, gather in the courtyard for a cup of tea, chat about life, enjoy this traditional space, and look up at the stars. It is Guo's hope that this ancient building can be preserved for long-term, so that young people can experience the life space and culture of a traditional abode.

     Zuoying Lotus Pond Guo's Centennial Three-Section Residential Compound   
    No. 27, Ln. 110, Dianzaiding St., Zuoying Dist., Kaohsiung City

 

 

 

左營蓮潭郭家百年古厝 一磚一瓦皆動人

◎文/侯雅婷

◎照片提供/高雄市古厝文化協會

 

  隱身在左營蓮池潭巷弄間的左營蓮潭郭家百年古厝民宿建於民國前二年(1909年),這棟有112年歷史的傳統閩南式建築是高雄市17家「人文歷史風貌區」特色民宿之一。

  郭家百年古厝為傳統閩南式三合院,中間的正廳是全棟建築的中心,正廳的左、右兩側是長輩的房間,空間不敷使用時,向外擴散,兩端垂直於正廳的房間稱為「護龍」,是晚輩的房間,傳統建築空間配置蘊含倫理的觀念,中間的院落空間稱為「埕」。

  郭家百年古厝的經營者,也是郭家第四代的郭進吉談起,他自小在這古厝長大,小時候古厝居住20多人,他和親戚的小孩一同在「埕」玩耍,念書時,郭進吉搭火車通勤,一聽到蒸汽火車的聲音就知道火車即將進站,他總用跑百米的速度衝到火車站搭車,憶起童年,格外開心,也因為對古厝的情感,約莫9年前,眼見古厝逐漸荒廢,郭進吉著手翻修古厝的大工程。

  郭家百年古厝呈現文化的記憶,古厝堂號「梅魁」就是古厝第一代郭家人與這附近同為中國泉州的鄉親共同決定使用的。郭進吉指出,日治時期郭家人曾擔任過「保正」一職,保正需要協助維持秩序、檢查環境衛生等工作,正廳最右邊有扇對開的木門,但凡擔任「保正」,家中必定會設置這種木門,他慶幸木門被保留下來,讓人可深刻了解古厝的這段故事。正廳的磚牆雕有蝙蝠的圖案,蝙蝠有著來福氣的吉祥意涵。正廳牆面上可見有個四方形的小洞稱為「貓洞」,是彼時留給貓進入房子抓老鼠的通道,令人菀爾一笑。

  郭進吉注意到,客人踏進這棟紅磚、紅瓦的古厝,總興致盎然地拍個不停,言語中有著欣慰。而入住的客人晚上會搬張長板凳,聚在「埕」喝杯茶,談天說地,享受置身紅瓦、紅磚的空間,抬頭看星星的悠閒。郭進吉衷心企盼,保存古厝讓年輕一輩可以體驗古厝的生活空間和文化。

     左營蓮潭郭家百年古厝   
    高雄市左營區店仔頂街110巷27號