Mathilde HK at the Mandarin’s House – Macao

You like architecture?

You are curious about traditional Chinese houses?

You like historical legacies from XIX th century?


Garden of the Mandarin’s House, Macau, picture@mathildehk

Located in the heart of the old city of Macau, the Mandarin’s house represents the best example of traditional Chinese residences. By the side of Lilau Square (Largo do Lilau), the complex contains more than 60 rooms or open spaces, occupying around 4000 m2. The construction of such a building had been initiated by a family of merchants named Guanying , native from China but established in Macao for ages. I read about that historical landmark in  the Cathay Pacific magazine, flying from Paris to Hong Kong. I really wanted to see one of the very few examples of traditional Chinese architecture still existing today.


Mandarin’s House, Macau, entering hall, picture@mathildehk

Inscriptions inside the compound allowed to trace the early buildings back to 1869, to a Chinese intellectual named Zheng Wenrui. However, the complex was enlarged and furnished by the following generation, that is to say by Zheng Guanying (1842-1921) and his brothers. After WWII, the descendents of the family decided to rent the place. The number of tenants increased and it was said to be more than 300 persons packed inside the complex. In the 1990’s, the city of Macau decided to acquire the proprietorship of the property which eventually happened in 2001. In 1992, the house was listed as a ‘Building of Architectural Interest’ under the Heritage Law. In 2005 the Historic Center of Macau was inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage and the Mandarin’s house benefited from huge preservation campaigns. The actual restoration took place from 2001 to 2009 for a total amount of $5.3 million dollars.

Why I liked the place:

The compound featured many architectural elements to be found in Chinese ancestral houses during the Qing Dynasty,  such as a walled private garden, decorative tiles, dark carved doors and a master’s quarters consisting of two adjoining courtyard homes. However, the original furniture has been lost, while the decoration has been seriously damaged before the restoration.


Mandarin’s House, Macau, office, picture@mathildehk

According to me, the curators succeeded in recreating a nineteenth century decor that was really elegant, also thy did not have the original designs. I really liked the mix of influences in the decoration. The floor was paved with ceramic tiles made of clay, just like the one you may see in Portugal, while the window shutters strongly referred to ottoman architecture. The round-shaped doors completely matched the Chinese legacy, while the door frames and lintels reminded me of baroque decoration.


Mandarin’s House, Macau, interior courtyard, picture@mathildehk

Topics and Keywords:

Solo: topics to focus on

Macau historical legacy, Chinese Art, Qing, carved panels, Chinese antiques, Chinese furniture, Architecture, interior design

Combo: on the same topic

 Lau Kau Mansion – Macau

The Mandarin’s house – Lilau Square

10 Travessa de Antonio da Silva, Macau

Days: Open on Monday, Tuesday, Thursday , Friday, Saturday, Sunday, and the public holidays. (Closed on Wednesday )
Hours: 10:00am – 18:00pm (no admittance after 17:30pm)

Admission free


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s