Economic War

Welded Steel

3600H x 3500W




Built in 1869, the Mandarin’s House was the family home of the merchant-reformer Zheng Guanying. The Mandarin’s house is among one of the largest existing residential complexes in Macao, occupying an area of 4,000 square metres, on which are buildings and open spaces. The construction of the Mandarin’s House was initiated by Zheng Wenrui, the father of Zheng Guanying.

The Mandarin's House is a complex made up of various buildings which house over 60 different rooms.  The buildings in the complex are predominantly Chinese in style, with subtle western influences in the decorative motifs, making it a unique product of Chinese and western cultural interchange, and also marking a period in Macao when Chinese architecture was evolving to display a fusion of styles from different cultures.  Key areas of the site include an entrance gatehouse, courtyards, servants’ and master’s quarters, extending more than 120 metres alongside Barra Street.

In the main buildings, the placement of the main living room on the upper floor shows an unconventional planning approach, rare in the layout of traditional Chinese residential dwellings.  This conglomeration of cultures can be found in the choice of building materials, the colourful relief ornamentations of the friezes and the detailing of doors, with western and other influences expressed on the plasterwork of arched ornamentations over doorways and windows, decorative stucco on false ceilings and the use of mother-of-pearl window panels, a technique that is also common in India.

Beginning the 1950s, rooms in the Mandarin's House began to be rented out after the descendants of the Zheng family had moved out.   At one point in time, there were over 300 tenants packed inside the complex.  The government began conservation work on the Mandarin's House beginning in 2002, carrying out a gradual series of careful and meticulous restoration works after rigorous studies were conducted.  With 8 years of continuous efforts, the conservation works done were able to return the complex to its basic original form, enabling it to be open to the public since 2010.  The Mandarin's House was listed as part of the Historic Centre of Macau, a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2005.

Zheng Guanying, a late-Qing Chinese reformist, completed his acclaimed masterpiece, “Words of Warning in Times of Prosperity”, in the Mandarin’s House.