The Cheong Fatt Tze Mansion, Penang
I highly recommend taking a guided tour of the Cheong Fatt Tze Mansion if you find yourself in Penang. I'm a big fan of small house museums and this is an interesting one. if the images look familiar it's because the house has been used extensively in film, television and print media. I remembered it from Indochine the Academy Award film set in the 1930's featuring Catherine Deneuve, who is almost as elegant as the house itself!
The mansion was one of the homes of Cheong Fatt Tze, the extraordinarily successful Chinese businessman, philanthropist and diplomat known as the "Rockefeller of the East", the house was built in the 1880's. The tour was filled with information on his meteoric rise, his quest for social justice and details about his wives and concubines, all fascinating stuff!
Its just a glorious place to visit, I loved the Art Deco furniture in the entrance and in particular the tile floor which was beautiful.
There are so many wonderful details including stained glass windows which have a very botanical Art Nouveau feel.
The ironwork is also extraordinary. I love the colors here which have such harmony. The entire property feels harmonious and the guide explained that it was built with reference to Fung Shui and has been studied by contemporary Fung Shui masters.
The house combines so many stylistic elements, tradition Chinese lanterns, woodwork and screens along with European elements such as the stained glass, tile and chandeliers and ironwork, as you can see below.
The two story house has a series of open courtyards which give the mansion an open light feeling. This courtyard houses the hotel suites.The combination of decorative ironwork and woodwork is magnificent. The open courtyard below was my favorite place in the house.
One of the most interesting decorative elements are these Chinese porcelain pieces made from broken pieces in a three dimensional mosaic form.
They resemble escutcheons above the windows and doorways which you can see on the covered balcony on the second floor, below,