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Home Huangshan Attractions Cheng Dawei’s Former Residence & Zhusuan (Abacus) Museum

Cheng Dawei’s Former Residence & Zhusuan (Abacus) Museum


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In the end of 2013, Chinese Zhusuan(珠算,or literally translated as the Abacus Calculation), the oldest and most vital calculation way by abacus in East Asia, was inscribed into the list of UNESCO World Intangible Cultural Heritage, the worldwide top cultural protection organization with the great governmental supports, in Azerbaijan’s 8th UNESCO Intergovernmental Council. Then people may be interested in the founder of Chinese Zhusuan. Who was the genuine inventor of such a calculation way? The answer is Cheng Dawei.

The Profile of Cheng Dawei in Details >>>

The Former Residence of Cheng Dawei

The former residence of Cheng Dawei is the key site under the national protection. Located in Xice Alley, Qianyuan Road, Tunxi District, Huangshan, Anhui province, this is a typical ancient folk building featuring the Huizhou-style architectural style. The house was originally built in the Hongzhi reign (1488-1505) of Ming dynasty, up to today, has a history over 490 years. In 1985, 380 years later since he passed away, his residence was restored largely. And a memorial was established as well, which is also an International Zhusuan Research and Training Center of China. The main building facing the south side is a two-floor brick-wood structure house featured of the curved beams, brackets system, crow gable and overhanging eaves. All of them have the fantastic carvings.

The inside is a square courtyard, and on the rainy days, the rainwater is collected in the courtyard, which means Si Shui Gui Tang(四水归堂, four sides water collected in the hall). Why is it designed like this? This is a basic philosophy of ancient Huizhou. Most of ancient Huizhou people were the businessmen, and quite emphasized the importance of collecting money and treasure. And in traditional culture of China, rainwater is considered as the symbol of treasure, moreover, in ancient times, the money was called Baishui Zhenren, which means White Water Taoist literally. So, to collect the rainwater and stop their outflow become an important consideration of Huizhou-style architecture, this is also popularly known as”聚财”(collecting the treasure).

The main hall is the drawing room, and a portrait of Cheng Dawei is hung in the middle. On the beam, there is a huge board with the huge inscription of Su Buqing(苏步青, 1902-2003), who was a mathematics master in modern China. On the second floor, it is a display hall with diverse abacuses, zhusuan documents, images and the genealogy book of surname Cheng.

The west side is the ancestral tower subordinating to the main building, and the entrance is a building called Binyuan Garden, and in the garden, the layout and design are quite exquisite. Nearby the Binyuan Garden, there is a manmade watercourse, which is locally named Bingong Channel.

Cheng Dawei Abacus Museum

Cheng Dawei Abacus Museum is actually comprised of the residential area, family shrine house and the abacus exhibition room. There are more than 1,000 abacuses and 3,000 copies of related materials displayed in the showcases. These abacuses are made of gold, silver, ivory, jade, stone, hard wood respectively with different shapes. Cheng Dawei Abacus Museum not only has high historical values but also is an academic center for researching and learning Abacus Science.

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Editor: Julius from Mildchina
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