Wife of well-known Chinese architect, city preservationist preserves husband's legacy

English.news.cn   2011-04-20 20:37:03 FeedbackPrintRSS

 A life photo of architect Liang Sicheng, chief designer of the Monument to the People's Heroes on Tian'anmen Square, is seen on screen during the commemoration of the famous architect at Tsinghua University in Beijing, capital of China, April 20, 2011. A ceremony was held here Wednesday to mark the 110th birth anniversary of Liang Sicheng who used to teach at Tsinghua. (Xinhua/Cui Xinyu)

by Xinhua writers Bai Xu, Wang Jian

BEIJING, April 20 (Xinhua) -- Since his death some forty years ago, the birthday of Chinese architect Liang Sicheng has been celebrated with seminars on his theories and new books being published.

When he was alive, however, the "father of modern Chinese architecture" seldom celebrated his birthday, which fell on April 20.

"He joked that he refused to celebrate because the date was also the birthday of Nazi leader Adolf Hitler," recalled Lin Zhu, Liang's second wife, during an exclusive interview with Xinhua.

Wearing a green cardigan over a blue cheongsam, a lengthy traditional Chinese dress, she spoke slowly and with a low voice. The 83-year-old woman smiled tenderly when speaking about her late husband.


To many, Liang Sicheng is just a name from a history book or teleplay. To Lin Zhu, however, he is much more.

Liang's first wife was Lin Huiyin, a famous Chinese architect and writer who died in 1955. Seven years after her death, Liang married Lin Zhu, an assistant 27 years his junior.

"Many people asked me why I would marry him, because of our huge differences in age and life experience," she said.

Lin Zhu recalls that her early visits to Liang were out of courtesy.

"But later we began talking more, about everything from literature of the Soviet Union to our views on marriage," she said.

"It was amazing that there were no barriers and we felt safe telling each other our innermost thoughts and feelings. You know, to find such a good partner is extremely hard."

The architect was not only amiable, but also humorous, even when others made mistakes.

"Once I wrote a caption too close to a picture. He, our leader at the time, said, 'The reader will mistake the caption for crows on the roof.' While saying so, he winked at me and I didn't feel like I was being scolded," she said.

In his work, Liang became confident, persistent and, as Lin Zhu put it, "as pure as a child".

"He was influenced by his father Liang Qichao," Lin Zhu said.

Liang Qichao was a scholar best known for leading the Hundred Days' Reform during the Qing Dynasty (1644-1911). He dedicated a couplet to his second son, Liang Sicheng: "Lotus flower growing out of water doesn't need decoration/white seagull riding the wave with courage and determination."

During the Cultural Revolution, Liang Sicheng was criticized for his advocacy work in ancient city protection.

"In the hardest times, he said that he would rather die in his motherland than escape. Some people then believed him foolish, but I know he lived up to his father's instructions."

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