Cheong Fatt Tze mansion - Penang
This shot was taken during our stay at Cheong Fatt Tze (the blue mansion) in Penang.
Cheong Fatt Tze Mansion is located at 14 Leith Street, 10200 George Town, Penang, Malaysia. The mansion's indigo-blue outer wall makes it a very distinct building in the area.
The mansion built by the merchant Cheong Fatt Tze at the end of 19th Century has 38 rooms, 5 granite-paved courtyards, 7 staircases & 220 vernacular timber louvre windows. Other features of the house include Gothic louvered windows, Chinese cut and paste porcelain work, Stoke-on-Trent floor tiles, Glasgow cast iron pillars and Art Nouveau stained glass. The mansion was originally built with careful attention to the principles of Feng Shui. For example, it faces the sea and has Penang Hill behind it; the domestic block is built in front of it to prevent any road being built to create a T-Juncion in front of it; it has water running through it and is built with a step in the middle to create a slope.
The distinctive blue colour of the mansion is the result of mixing lime with natural blue dye made from the Indigo plant. The blue was very popular in the Colonial period and the dye was imported from India. The lime wash was very effective in a tropical weather as it absorbed moisture and cooled the house. However the blue is a colour of death in Chinese culture and the practice was never introduced in Hong Kong. The house was originally painted white in the time of the owner, and the indigo was applied much later.
The mansion is currently used as a hotel-cum-museum as part of a restoration project.