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:
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.
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.
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.