Located in the western part of Chengdu Plain, Anren, a national key town, is 41 km away from Chengdu city, respectively 38 km and 8 km away from Shuangliu International Airport and Dayi County. Anren is also a national youth education base, one of national 4A grade tourism attractions, a national key cultural relic protection unit and the place in which “one of the six flowers” of Sichuan-Liu’s Mansion locates. As a famous Sichuan historic & cultural town, one of the 10 ancient tourism towns in Sichuan and a key town to be supported by the province and city, Anren is applying for the title of “China’s Famous Historic & Cultural Town”. 15 villages and 4 residents’ committees are under the administration of Anren. Anren covers a land area of 21.4km2, 3.2 km2 of which is the town area, with a total population of 23 thousand, 11 thousand of which are town residents.
Anren has a long history and was a key town of Shu County (Chengdu of Sichuan Province) in Qin and Han dynasties. According to Tai Ping Huan Yu Ji, the meaning of “Anren” came from “Jen men are comfortable in Jen”. According to Geographical Part of Old History of the Tang Dynasty and Annals of Dayi County, in the third year of Wude reign of Emperor Gaozu of Tang Dynasty (A.D. 620), countries of Linqiong, Yizheng and Tanglong were incorporated into Anren County (today’s Anren Town) which was affiliated to Qiongzhou of Jiannan Prefecture. Anren County was revoked in the seventh year of Zhenguan reign of Emperor Taizong of Tang Dynasty (A.D. 643), and was reestablished in the first year of Xianheng reign of Emperor Gaozong of Tang Dynasty (A.D. 670) (affiliated to Qiongzhou). After Yuan Dynasty was established, the state power was highly centralized and cantons are cut down and merged into counties on a large scale. In the twenty-first year of Zhiyuan reign of Emperor Shih-tzu Yuan (A.D. 1284), Anren was changed from a county into a town and was merged into Dayi County. Anren had been a county for over 600 years, with a history of over 1380 years as yet.
In October 1970, a grave of the Five Dynasties Period was disinterred at the Anren Federation Team, the family name of whose owner was Qiao, with a stone carved with “Qiao’s Land Purchase Certificate of Anren County of Shu Kingdom” belonging to the time when Anren was affiliated to Great Sichuan state Qiongzhou. A stele for road guide of Song Dynasty, carved with “Dayi County up twenty Li, Anren County down ten Li, Sujiachang right five Li and Anshunchang left seven Li” on it, was found in July 1982. Historical relics have proved that Anren not only has a long history of being a county but also had developed economy and culture.
Anren has a long history, yet since it has suffered from many chaos and turbulence, many historic buildings there have been destroyed. It revived in the period of Republic of China, which is connected with the rise of Liu’s family. After the Revolution of 1911, Liu Wenhui and Liuxiang gradually entered the military & political field of Sichuan Province and more and more people followed them. Thus in the period of Republic of China, nearly 50 persons in Anren were promoted military & political officers above county regiment grade, and landholders, warlords and bureaucrats converged there, thus Anren was dubbed as "Three Armies, Nine Brigades and Eighteen Regiments".
At the beginning of PRC, Anren Town was under the administration of Meishan, and under Wenjiang in March 1950. Then in 1983, Anren became a town of Dayi County.
Old Manor Mansion, owned by a modern bureaucrat and landholder Liu Wencai and his family, is located at Anren Town of Dayi County, with a common name of “Old Mansion”. It was first built in the early 20th Century, and its large-scale construction and expansion began in about 1928, lasting more than 10 years for basic construction. The mansion covers a land area of 12, 300 m2, 7650 m2 of which are construction area, with more than 160 rooms and 27 patios of large and small sizes.
In 1932, the mansion owner Liu Wencai gave up his official position, left Xufu (Yibing of Southern Sichuan today), returned to Dayi, and lived there since then. The mansion features luxurious style, elaborate caved decoration, a large number of alleys among high walls and thick doors with iron locks. It connects with several mansions of Liu’s brothers, forming a set of grand-scale mansion building complex with a total area of more than 70, 000 m2, which is the largest modern landholder manor building complex in China.
The Exhibition of Old Mansion mainly aims at reproducing Liu’s living scenes, in addition, it exhibits the famous large-scale clay sculpture “Rent Collection Courtyard”. Exhibition halls accessible by now include Hall, Inner Garden, Liu’s Study Room, Inner Courtyard, Longquan Well, Buddhist Chapel, Geomantic Frusta, Opium Warehouse, Barn, Rear Garden, Employees’ Courtyard and Lady’s Building, as well as large-scale clay sculpture “Rent Collection Courtyard ” and an additional exhibition for the creation of clay sculpture, etc. Almost 10 thousand cultural relics and material objects are exhibited.
Liu’s ancestral house was first built during the reign of emperor Daoguang in Qing dynasty. After several times’ reconstruction and expansion, it reached the current size during the twenties and thirties of the Republic of China. It covers a land area of about 1, 300m2, more than 480 m2 of which is construction area, with over 20 rooms.
Liu’s ancestral house reflects the architecture form, construction style, folk custom and philosophy of Western Sichuan’s rural area during the period of middle and late Qing Dynasty and the early period of Republic of China, acting as a precious material evidence of social transition. Meanwhile, as the base for the later success and prosperity of Liu’s family, it is visually in sharp contrast with its surrounding modern magnificent building complex, featuring abundant and profound historic value and meaning.
Special Cultural Relic Exhibition Hall
Established in 1993, Special Cultural Relic Exhibition Hall integrates more than 180 special cultural relics and historical photos together, which were strictly selected from thousands of relics in the manor. They show in detail the evolvement and development of Liu’s family, reflecting the illustrious ascendancy and luxurious life of Liu’s family from various angles.
Western Sichuan Folk Custom Museum
Western Sichuan Folk Custom Museum is located at the private mansion built by Liu Wencai for his brother Liu Wenhui. It was first built in 1938 and completed in 1942. Covering a land area of more than 40 Mu, this mansion is of Chinese and western style, reflecting high-quality construction and decoration arts of modern China. The museum exhibits material objects regarding traditional Chinese wedding ceremony, bridal chamber, wedding litter, fetching the bride, evil avoidance sword, childhood betrothal, loyalty to late husband, Chinese noria, plough, flowerbed, etc., representing the three customs including marriage custom, production and living activities and folk craftsmanship in Western Sichuan.
Western Sichuan is characterized by a long history, a fair place with outstanding people, abundant resources and simple folkway. Folk customs with unique cultural features of Shu (Sichuan) area are various. In order to inherit and carry forward excellent traditional cultures, some material objects of three common folk customs- marriage custom, appliances for folk production and living and folk craftsmanship are exhibited for tourists.
With a good name of “the First Fair of Western Sichuan”, Anhuili Street of Anren town skillfully combines Anren-mansion culture with that of ancient towns, laden with history and cultural charm. When walking through the memorial archway with Chinese characters“安惠里”(Anhuili) by Qigong, pavement laid with trim flagstones, artificial river ways, old-style shops with grey bricks and grey-green roof tiles, you can place yourself into the scenes of the early Republic of China. Anhuili is not only in harmony with the mansion building complex, but also possess its own unique features of classicality and elegance.
The most distinguishing characteristic of Anhuili is the weekly original “Barter Trade”. It is said that this kind of exchange originated from the most original barter trade in ancient times which realized commodity exchange without monetary circulation. During the period of exchanging goods, Anhuili gathered guests from all quarters and created a most exciting atmosphere. When social economy develops to exchange goods through currency, Anren Ancient Town still preserves such an ancient and original way of exchange, which further highlights its antiquity and simplicity. Agricultural by-products and household appliances, etc. can be exchanged during the commodity exchange period, with diversified exchange content and ways, further passing on and developing “Barter Trade”.