Located at the foot of Wutai Mountain in Xi’an, the Guanzhong Folk Art Museum (关中民俗艺术博物馆) is one of China’s more famous cultural tourism enterprises. In fact, the project launched billionaire peasant Wang Yongzhao (王永赵) into the National People’s Congress, where he has been recognized as a distinguished scholar.
The project itself impresses. The museum occupies 82 acres and was designed as a Qing Dynasty garden. Within this garden, 40 relocated Ming and Qing Dynasty homes and compounds hold pride of place, but there are also over 8,600 amazingly beautiful hitching posts and delicate statues, including a wonderful selection of Tang Buddhas and Guanyins.
Friends comment that the project is an obvious example of ordinary people doing the government’s job. After all, Wang Yongzhao is not an academic, but rather a sharp minded businessman who developed a passion for classical architecture. I may discuss the joys of collecting in another post and the transformation of economic capital into cultural capital (because surplus wealth has to go somewhere), but for the moment it is enough to note that whatever one’s reservations about Wang Yongzhao’s scholarship, there is no denying his taste. The Guanzhong Folk Museum presents architectural wonders in a strikingly architectural manner.
Fall in Xi’an shines, especially in the aftermath of Tianjin and Beijing smog. Impressions of the Guanzhong Folk Art Museum, below.