Soong Mei Ling‘s Old House Attracts Trendsetters (1)

2004-07-20 14:47:09 China Daily

 

  
  Dotted with stylish eateries, period villas and decor shops, Dongping Road attracts Shanghai‘s trendsetters. But it is the red tiled house at No. 9 which has the real style and treasures.

  



  The building used to be the "love nest" of a famous couple in Chinese modern history - the late Kuomintang leader Chiang Kai-shek and his wife Soong Mei Ling spent blissful times here.

  It‘s a stunning, beautiful two-story villa wrapped with thick vines, which change with the seasons on the exterior of this building. Black, yellow and white oval-shaped pebbles grace the light gray wall.

  Piano or flute music lingers in the pine-scented air of this once-glorious building. The house is now part of the Middle School Affiliated to the Shanghai Conservatory of Music. Students are practicing instruments in the former sitting room and bedrooms of the legendary couple, which are paved with teak floors.

  


  "The house has been renovated twice," says Liu Yiqing, an official of the school. "But the grand fireplaces, nostalgic wide windows, patterned staircases and the floors on the second floor are original."

   The lamps and ancient-style ceiling fans were added during the re-decoration and the furniture has been replaced with pianos.

  Born in Shanghai, Soong was the youngest of the famous three Soong sisters, whose husbands were among China‘s most significant political figures of the early 20th century. They included Dr Sun Yat-sen, founder of the Republic China who married Soong Ching Ling, and Kuomintang senior official H.H. Kung who married the eldest sister Soong Ai Ling. All the three sisters went to college in the United States.

  Chiang died in 1975. Described as "the one who loved power," Soong Mei Ling used to be Chiang‘s secretary and interpreter. Despite her parents disapproving, Christian Soong married Chiang, who was Buddhist, in 1927 in the Majestic Hall on Jiangning Road and promptly left for Hangzhou, Zhejiang Province, for their honeymoon the next day. T.V. Soong, brother to the sisters, bought the house from a foreign owner as a dowry for his youngest sister. It was also Chiang‘s first home in Shanghai.

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