Fujian Guild Hall locates in the Zhifu District in Yantai, which is also known as the Tianhou Palace. It is a classical palace-style architecture founded by the Fujian shipping merchants dedicated to Mazu, the Goddess of the Sea. The Fujian Guild Hall was built in 1884 and took 22 years to finish the construction. At that time, it was known as the "Shandong First Project". It was the only palace in the northern China in an architectural style of Fujian Province.
Layout of Fujian Guild Hall
In 1958, Fujian Guild Hall was arranged as the Yantai City Museum. In 1996, it was announced as the National Key Cultural Relics Protection Unit. The guild hall is where the Fujian merchant association gathers together and worships Goddess Mazu. The architectural style has the distinctive southern features of Fujian Province. It is a representative building of the ancient "Marine Silk Road".
The whole guild hall is 92 meters from north to south and 39 meters wide from east to west. It consists of five areas: the main gate, the main hall, the back hall, the opera house and the attached houses, covering an area of 3,500 square meters, with the construction area of 1,459 square meters.
The main gate is the wood-and-stone structure including 3 doors together. The 10-meter-high gate is supported by 14 pillars. The roof is supported by the exquisitely carved bucket arches and covered with turquoise blue glazed tiles. The porcelain tiles on the ridge are painted with flowers, beast and noblewomen.
In the south of the main gate is the main hall. The walls of the hall are made of stones and blue bricks with 12 supporting pillars. The beams are also carved with beautiful patterns, elegant and grand. The status of Goddess Mazu is placed in the center of the hall.
All the bricks, tiles and wood used in the construction are all selected from Quanzhou, Fujian. They were carved and painted by local craftsmen, and then moved to Yantai. The carvings on the building blend the eastern and western cultures together, which is quite rare in China. Almost all the woods on the main gate and main hall are carved in beautiful and exquisite patterns of sculptures. The carvings have different postures and expressions, vivid and interesting. The flower baskets hanging under the beams of the main gate have beautiful shapes. Hence the whole guild hall can be said to be an exhibition hall of carved artworks.