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Reopening of Yan Xishan’s (閻錫山) Restored Former Residence New special exhibition reveals Yan Xishan’s spectacular life story

The Former Residence of Yan Xishan (閻錫山), designated a permanent municipal monument of Taipei City, was opened today. Deputy Mayor Tsai Ping-Kun (蔡炳坤) personally attended the ceremony to announce that the restoration of the former residence was complete and formally reopen it to the public. The buildings of the former residence retain the original appearance of Shaanxi cave dwellings.

Also opening today was the permanent exhibition Yan Xishan of Yangming Mountain (陽明山中的閻錫山), which focuses on the life story of “King of Shaanxi,” Yan Xishan. This Republic of China official who devoted a significant part of his life to the military was also a deeply humanistic and philosophical man, and the exhibition enables the public to get to know this important historical figure of the modern era.

In his speech, Deputy Mayor Tsai said that Yan Xishan had experienced almost all of the major historical events of modern China, from the 1911 Revolution to the relocation of the KMT government to Taiwan. Yan’s identity changed constantly: first a local military hero, he became a key member of the central government and an important modern historical figure. Deputy Mayor Tsai also expressed gratitude to Yan Xishan’s former subordinate Zhang Riming for guarding over the former residence of his chief for over 60 years, thanked the Yan Bochuan Memorial Association of Taipei City for facilitating contact with him, and thanked family members of Yan Xishan’s descendants for donating the former residence to the government so that the monument could be better preserved and revitalized as a cultural asset.

Yan Xishan came to Taiwan with the KMT government and served as president of the Executive Yuan. Yan built a residence here in 1951 with his own hands, putting into practice his philosophical and spiritual ideas. The former residence is divided into two parts: Zhongneng Cave and the red brick building. When it was declared a designated permanent municipal monument in 2004, we invested more than NT$30 million in maintenance funding to restore the building and preserve the historical significance. We also authorized the publication of historical materials collected by Yan Xishan during the Second Sino-Japanese War, which are important reference materials for modern historical research, to enable the public to get a glimpse of precious works collected by Yan Xishan.

Once the Former Residence of Yan Xishan had been restored, his living quarters were divided into five exhibition zones to show the ups and downs of his life experiences. Aside from introducing Yan Xishan and Zhongneng Cave in detail, the exhibition also shows four major periods in the life of Yan Xishan—his governance of Shaanxi, the relocation of the KMT to Taiwan, Yan’s twilight years, and his philosopher’s study. 

Passing through the exhibition space is like traveling through time to visit a great era of the past. The cultural assets of great value include the stone-built Zhongneng Cave, emulating Shaanxi cave dwellings, the red-brick building doubling as an air-raid shelter, and the buildings constructed with Chinese, Western, and Japanese architectural features integrate the Yan Xishan’s personal philosophy and thoughts as he experienced the various transformations of the times.

The management of the Former Residence of Yan Xishan has been entrusted to Chinese Culture University. In the future, promotional activities, lecture tours, and cultural relic exhibitions relating to the historical and cultural context of Yan Xishan’s life will be held at the residence. Plans are also in place to connect cultural spaces such as the Grass Mountain Chateau, Lin Yutang House, and Chungshan Hall, to combine various resources and activities, and introduce this highly unique cultural building to the public. We will continue to work together with the public to preserve cultural assets and welcome all to the Former Residence of Yan Xishan to explore the past at this historic site. 

For more information on the exhibition, visit the Taipei City Department of Cultural Affairs website [link].

Former Residence of Yan Xishan
Address: No. 273, Alley 34, Lane 245, Yonggong Road, Shilin District, Taipei City
Opening hours: 10 am to 5 pm, Tuesday to Sunday (closed on Monday)