Liang and Lin: Partners in Exploring China's Architectural Past

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University of Pennsylvania Press, 1994 - Biography & Autobiography - 207 pages

Wilma Fairbank documents, from both a historical and a uniquely personal perspective, the professional and personal achievements of Lin Whei-yin and Liang Sicheng. Liang and Lin were born in early twentieth-century China, a time when the influences of modernism were slowly bearing down on the traditional culture. In the 1920s, they traveled together to the Beaux Arts universe of Philadelphia, where they both graduated with honors from the architecture department of the University of Pennsylvania. Married in 1928, they returned to their native land and became the first two professors at the newly founded school of architecture in Shenyang's Tung Pei University.

Wilma Fairbank and her husband, John King Fairbank, Harvard University's eminent historian of modern China, were lifelong friends of Liang and Lin. This relationship allows the author, herself a noted researcher of art and architecture, to paint a vivid picture of the couple within the context of China's turbulent past. Fairbank recounts how Liang and Lin used their Western training to initiate the study of China's architectural evolution. She also documents--as seen through the eyes of Liang and Lin--the tragic events that ravaged the Chinese homeland and its people: the 1937 invasion and bombings by the Japanese military and the ensuing illness and poverty; World War II and the civil war; the rise to power of the Communist government in 1949; and the victimization of the scholar class during the Cultural Revolution of 1966-76.

Fairbank provides a highly readable, emotionally charged personal account of the couple's lives, and the numerous and sometimes horrific torments and humiliations they suffered. And, finally, when it was all too late, the posthumous praise and recognition.

 

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Contents

Favorite Son
3
Favorite Daughter
10
Their Teens
15
Professional Studies
23
Homecoming
31
Achievements 19281937
39
A Professorship
41
In Peking
45
Uprooted
114
The Capital and the Village
123
The Stress of Poverty
128
New Hopes
133
Between War and Revolution 19461948
135
Wars End
137
Return to Kunming and Peking
143
Honors 1947
148

Architectural Historian
49
Search for Surviving Buildings
54
The Liang Household
60
Further Searches
65
A Joint Expedition in Shansi
73
Japanese Encroachment
84
Interval of Reprieve
89
Triumph and Disaster
94
Survival in Wartime 19371945 99
100
Escape
101
Settling in Kunming
106
Worrisome Days
155
Final Letter
159
Under the Communist Party 19491972
167
Defeats
169
Lin Zhus Story
176
Afterword
191
Notes
197
Selected Bibliography
201
Index
203
Copyright

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About the author (1994)

Wilma Fairbank (1909-2002) is editor of Liang Sicheng's A Pictoral History of Chinese Architecture.

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