The residence of Prince Shi (Li Shixian) of the Taiping Heavenly Kingdom in Jiufang Lane, Jinhua City of Zhejiang Province, served as his military command.
Li (1834-1865), who was born in Tengxian County of Guangxi Province, was an important leader in the late period of the Taiping Heavenly Kingdom. He was also Prince Zhong (loyal)’s brother. In 1860, Li was appointed Prince Shi. After he led his troops into Zhejiang Province in 1861, the residence was set up where the prefecture seat of the Tang (618-907) and Song (960-1279) dynasties, the Eastern Zhejiang Government of the Yuan Dynasty (1271-1368) and the Zhu Yuanzhang government in early years of the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644) were previously located. The Memorial Hall of the Residence of Prince Shi of the Taiping Heavenly Kingdom was established there in 1963, and underwent several repairs.
The large residence is divided into three parts: the palace, the dwelling and the garden, with a total area of 24,000 square meters and a construction area of more than 3,000 square meters. The eastern and western compounds, the main hall (for discussing official business) and the Naihan Veranda comprise the principal part of the residence.
The existing construction in the eastern compound include a screen wall facing the gate, a main hall, back hall, cold-resistant hall, etc. The screen wall, with engraved stone and brick sculptures of dragons and phoenixes, is six meters high and 17 meters wide. The main hall, which consists of five rooms, is actually a meeting hall where Li held important military meetings.
The western compound contains a total four rows of houses. Through the entrance hall is a corridor that connects to the front hall where Li conducted business and on each side there is a garden. The middle hall in the second row is the most magnificent — Prince Shi’s office; the third served as the Prince’s dwelling; and the fourth housed his subordinates and bodyguards. A great number of frescoes, colored patterns on roof beams and wooden, stone and brick sculptures are kept in the first and second rows of the houses.