Chinese Culture

Chinese Folk Residences

Chinese Folk Residences are the earliest architectural types in the history of China. They are usually in diversified forms with no restrictions and built according to local conditions,which are the buildings with the strongest folk styles and local flavors in Chinese architectural art. As a country with vast territory and long history, China has various natural and humanistic environments. As such, residence styles differ from place to place. The main styles include Beijing courtyard houses, cave dwellings on Shaanxi Loess Plateau, stilt houses on steep inclines or projecting over water in west Hunan, Huizhou residences in south Anhui and Hakka earth buildings in Fujian etc. These age-old types of buildings all have their own unique features.

 Beijing Hutong Cave Dwellings, Shaan'xiStilt House, Hunan

The beauty of Chinese folk residences lies, above all, in the people- friendliness, with residence spaces and shapes suiting people's living needs; at the same time, built with locally sourced materials, these residences are simple and elegant in color and texture. In addition, the buildings are well arranged, compact and practical.

In terms of the decoration of Chinese folk residences, in most cases, carvings and color paintings are applied to the main structures of the building, with few added parts; key decoration techniques include brick, wood and stone carvings, which are mainly used in the most important and predominant parts like the gate, door and window bars, screen walls, the roof and fire-proof walls. The decoration of folk residences in the south of the Yangtze River and in south Anhui is the most elegant and exquisite, especially the three superb decorating techniques used in houses in south Anhui - brick, wood and stone carvings that are best known for the unparalleled craftsmanship.

Local Residence,Huangshan ,AnhuiHakka Earth Buildings, FujianMongolian House

Residences in different areas have distinctive local styles and national characteristics. The decoration varies due to the owner's economic status and education. Intellectuals'houses and those of wealthy tycoons are totally different in terms of decoration style and taste. Generally, folk residences are simple and elegant. Many houses have couplets hanging on both sides of the gate. The words and calligraphy of the couplets are both vivid and rustic. The articles and furniture in the hall are elaborate yet practical. Decorative carvings are mostly in quiet colors, giving a graceful feel.

Sleeping on heated brick beds in Northeast China

Sleeping on heated brick beds.jpgIn cold winter, people in Northeast China have a habit of sleeping on heated brick beds, which are usually made of sun-dried mud bricks or house bricks with kraft paper spread on top. After being painted, they are clean, simple and nice to use.

Actually, it is scientifically proven to be good to sleep on heated brick beds. Usually, these beds are built in the inner rooms while cooking ranges are on the outside of the houses. When cooking, the heat exhausts given out by the fire go through the flues under the bed and then come out through chimneys. Cooking thrice a day heats the beds three times and the heat from cooking is, therefore, enough to keep the beds warm and comfortable for a whole day.

Folk residences not only serve as buildings to live in, but also reflect different customs and tell different life stories. Savoring the art of folk residences is experiencing diversified Chinese ethnic cultures and the history of people's lives.


Chinese Folk Residences - Chinese Culture - Zhangjiajie China Tours, China Travel Guide

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