Zhangshiming's Former Residence

Historic Building in Nanxun

The grandest of Nanxun's wealthy merchant homes looks like a classic Chinese manor, with ornate carvings in wood, stone and brick – until you reach deep into the interior, which hides a European-style ballroom, complete with crown moulding, crystal chandelier and brocade drapery. Other European touches draw on both Renaissance and baroque styles. The combined effect is both fascinating and bizarre, a well-preserved portrait of the cultural exchange between China and the West at the turn of the last century.