Lin Family Mansion and Garden

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Over the weekend, I visited the beautiful Lin Family Mansion and Garden in Banchiao City, Taipei County. Below are pictures accompanied by a brief history of the mansion as supplied by site’s English-language brochure:

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In 1778, Lin Ying-yin, the forefather of the Lin family, came to Taiwan from Lungshi in Chang-chou prefecture, Fujian Province. Upon arrival, Lin settled down in Hsinchuang, at that time located in the Tamshui District but today part of Taipei. His son, Lin Ping-hou, who had accompanied him from China, began his career in the employ of a rice merchant. Later Ping-hou went into business for himself trading between Fujian and Taiwan. He amassed a large fortune over several years. His wealth was further increased in a joint project to distribute salt throughout Taiwan in partnership with Lin Shau-shian, from Juchian. At the age of 40, Ping-hou returned to his hometown in Fujian and used his wealth to purchase a government position. After a period of time, Ping-hou lost interest in bureaucracy, resigned his position, and returned to Taiwan.

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During the reign of Emperor Tao-Kuang there were frequent armed clashes in the Taipei basin between Chinese immigrants from Chang-chou and Chuan-chou. Selecting a piece of land along the upper reaches of the Tamshui River, Ping-hou commissioned the construction of a mansion, surrounded on four sides with fortress-like walls for defense against attack.

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Of Ling Ping-hou’s five sons, Guo-hua and Guo-fang were the most capable. In 1851, the two brothers commissioned a 3-courtyard house to be built to the right of the Bi-Yi Hall. When it was completed, the entire family moved in. Before long, a garden was added behind the house. The famous scholars Lu Shi-tsuen and Shie Guan-chiau were hired to tutor Lin Guo-hua’s two sons: Lin Wei-rang and Lin Wei-yuan.

During the reign of emperor Kuang-Hsu, Lin Wei-yuan began construction on the south section of their 3-courtyard house. A house with 5 separate courtyards was built and the original garden was expanded.

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The efforts of the three Lin family generations propelled the family to become the wealthiest family in Taiwan. Their home is a fine example of Qing-period houses found in Taiwan.

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7 thoughts on “Lin Family Mansion and Garden

  1. I’m Lin Chee-Kwan grand-daughter… and I’m very moved to discover this blog and theses beautiful photos of Lin family Gardens… This is the place where my grand-dad used to go as a child. I went there with him quite a while ago…
    I’d love to talk about this historical place, memories… I live in France (I’m a 1/4 Chinese, my grand-dad married a French lady !), I don’t speak any chinese, but English is OK…
    Thanks any way for your comments !
    Anouk

  2. Anouk – I am happy to hear such a nice response, I am glad that you were able to find this post and were moved by it. I have only been there once, but it is absolutely beautiful. Taipei is so hectic, when I went to the gardens I felt completely at peace in my surroundings and was truly touched by its beauty.

  3. Anouk, I hope you get back on this website because I am your cousin Sophie Lin in Chicago, IL. I moved here from Taiwan when I was 7 and last visited the Gardens over 20 years ago. I remember going to annual family meetings there with my father. I am so excited to have found a relative online and in such a strange way! I hope that you will post a comment soon so we can talk more. Thanks Todd for posting this information online. If it wasn’t for you I would have never had a chance to see what the Gardens and Mansion looks like today. It means the world to me that there is still some public interest in the property.

  4. This is a great post. I live in Shu-lin, just outside of Banciao. We drive by the Lin Family Mansion all the time and I’ve always wondered what treasures it holds inside. After reading your informative post and seeing your pictures, I’m going to make this a top priority.

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