The Lin Ben Yuan Family Mansion and Garden is a historical site and is the most well-preserved traditional home in Taiwan.
It is located in Banqiao District in New Taipei City and together with the Tainan Wu Garden, Wufeng Lin Family Mansion and Garden, and Hsinchu Beiguo Garden, is one of the Four Great Gardens of Taiwan. It was built by the Lin Ben Yuan Family in 1851 and construction took over 40 years.
The ancestors of the Lin family moved from mainland China to Taiwan in the Xinzhuang area in 1778. The first member of the family was Lin Yingyin, succeeded by his son Lin Pinghou, who gained a fortune by selling rice. With his hard work, he established the future Lin Ben Yung family fortune. Pinghou had five sons, two of whom built the Biyiguan as a ‘rent house’ in the Banqiao area. In 1851, the whole family moved to this area and built their family’s residence, which is known as Three-Courtyard Mansion.
The mansion and garden are great examples of the architecture and gardening aesthetic of Qing dynasty. The garden was built between 1888 and 1893. Combined with the mansion, the grounds cover an area of about 20, 000 meters square.
The mansion is divided into three main parts: Upper House, Lower House, and Laiyuan (the garden). The magnificent scenes of the garden are inspired by Chinese traditional gardens. The scenes have different themes and each of them hosts unique architectural elements.
There are eight different sections: Jigushuwu, Laiqingge, Xiangyuyi, Guanjialou, Dingjingtang, Yuboshuixie, Rongyindachi, and Jingziting. Jigushuwu served as a study for the boys of the Lin family, Laiqingge served as a guest house, and Guanjilaou is a relatively older building with a garden oriented in accordance with the Three Courtyard Mansion. Yuboshuixie and Rongyindachi were built next to the water within the garden, Dinjingtang occupies the widest space within the garden, and Jingziting was built for the purpose of treasuring the written word.
The garden is freely accessible to tourists and today it is on the premises on one of the Taichung schools founded by the Lins called Ming Tai High School.
However, access to the Three Courtyard Mansion itself requires a tour guide. This mansion belongs to the Lin Family Sacrificial Trade Association.