A Combination of Forms (part 4)
A Combination of Forms (part 2)
11. Siheyuan in Beijing
4. Vernacular Dwellings in Hunan, Hubei and Jiangxi
The size of courtyards in dwellings is related to the climate. The colder the climate, the larger the courtyards will be. The aesthetic function of Chinese architecture is not only to give pleasure by dint of the outer appearance, but also, and even more important to help and enlighten human relations. The siheyuan is a regular square with straight sides, with an inside configuration of the character 井 implied. Since jingtianzhi (the system of the井-shaped field) of remote antiquity up to Mingtang, palace buildings of ancestral temples, the traditional architecture of China has consistently endeavored to give architectural art clear and definite social, political and ethical meaning. Division using the character井gives rise to a center which implies symmetry, stability, dignity and seriousness, To it, many symbolized contents may be attributed. According to the bagua (eight diagrams initiated in Yijing (the Book of Changes), Kun indicating the North symbolizes the earth and qian indicating the South symbolizes Heaven. Orientation to the north and the south therefore means conformance with heaven and earth, while conforming with the natural laws would ensure prosperity and bring luck. Huangdizhaijing (the classical Book on Buildings by Huangdi) reads: The house is the pivot of yin and yang and the model of human relations. Only sages with wisdom can interpret the principle. In a siheyuan, only the north room was considered ideal for dwelling purposes but it was in fact the halls used for reception and sacrificial rites that were located here, the east and west wing rooms, the dozuo and rear hall being the rooms actually dwelt in. As stated in the Liji(the Book of Rites); A man of dignity considers the ancestral temples first, the stable and storehouse second and the room for dwelling last when constructing houses. Reason therefore prevails over the function in China. The more sophisticated the configuration of the vernacular dwelling is, the more this maxim holds. The entrance gate, the yinbi, the chuihuamen, and the verandah all add dignity. Spatial arrangement within a siheyuan is orderly and the building are of reasonable dimension. In the inner courtyard of a siheyuan in Beijing there are often verandahs weaving round from the second gate to the main house, not only offering protection against rain, but also adding interest to the courtyard as they zigzag their way through.
Vernacular dwellings in Hunan, Hubei and Jiangxi are mostly of wooden structure with tile roofs, and some even with multiple eaves. Tall and of generous size, buildings always have a double- pitch roof with the load borne by traverse structures and purlins mounted longitudinally.
Vernacular dwellings in these regions vary greatly, but commonly to be found is the type, similar to such dwellings in southern Anhui, whereby fire-sealing gables or parapets characterize the upper level, screening the roof and lending the architecture a square external appearance. The upper part of the outside walls is treated in a variety of ways. Buildings are arranged along the outer wall, and include single and multi-storied dwellings. They enclose groups of houses with small courtyards inside. Because rainwater is caught inside the building, this type of residence is called sishuiguitang (water from all sides directed towards the building), implying that such a beneficial commodity is made full use of. Another type has high fire-sealing walls on both sides of the roof, while no parapet is used to expose the gable roof. Fire-sealing walls are found each two or three bays. Such walls have many forms, giving the impression of a series of white overlapping curtains when several vernacular dwellings are combined, and particularly striking when contrasted with dark roofs. There is another category of vernacular dwelling like that in Sichuan, employing overhanging eaves but without a wall and pronounced xuanshan structure. The through jointed wooden structures are totally exposed on the gables.
The entrance gate is generally opened on the left at the front with the zhaobi located immediately inside. The deep courtyard is quiet, and as it cannot be seen from outside, functions as an outdoor living room in summer. Potted plants transform it into a small and idyllic often brick-paved garden.
There are often earth, brick or clay walls with interlaced bamboo filled in the wooden structures, and the external side white- washed. These are features that harmonize well with the dark wooden frame body of the building and give the whole a simple and unpretentious appearance.
Compactness of layout and high density particularly in towns characterize vernacular building in these regions. The Poem about Hankou written by Ye Tiaoyuan in the Qing Dynasty describes in detail the urban density to be found in this area: Magnificent residences and poor houses are as dense as the forest. It is said that a square inch of land is worth a ton of gold. The Tangwu are high and courtyards are small. Nine out of ten houses face south but can receive no sunshine.
12. Vernacular Dwellings in Xinjiang
Vernacular dwellings so closely-knit hardly allow the overall outer appearance to manifest itself, so emphasis is laid on fire-sealing walls and parapets for ornament. Entrance gates on facades are only decorated at the circumference. Typical of dwellings in mountainous areas are the many types of suspended houses at the upper end of the entrance doors. The simple dwellings located along riversides or set against mountains are supported by tall and slender columns of China fir.
Rainfallin the Turfan Basin in Xinjiang is practically non-existent, with so-called earth-rain falling on spring and summer days. At this time, loess dust is everywhere even cutting out the sunlight. The Uygur people adapt to this climate by planting grapevines and fruit trees in the courtyards of their dwellings and in summer eating outdoors or receiving guests under the grapevine.
Their flat-roofed dwellings are made of adobe and have wooden beam roof with compact rib-work of compactly combined horizontal and vertical ribbed slabs which serve the purpose of partitioning or load-bearing in the same way as beams and posts. The configuration is complicated, flexible and varied. Space is often divided up by adobe floral walls and arched doors. As temperatures in this region can rise to as high as 47C, falling at night to just 20C, walls of buildings are constructed of immature soil and made especially thick. Grapevines are often to be seen forming long corridors along streets, and provide welcome shade.
5. Vernacular Dwellings in Southern Anhui
Southern Anhui was called Huizhou in ancient times. In the Ming and Qing Dynasties, the rich merchants of Huizhou, having made their fortune in other places, often returned to their place of birth and built houses. There are many ancient well-kept vernacular dwellings of unique style still extant. They are often two or three-storied and are 日or 目shaped. Fire-sealing high walls enclose the whole and extend above the roofs, lending vigor.
Interesting are the earth arches with their wide spans, on top of which airy courtyards are constructed, and tunnel-like long alleys which are widen and narrow.
The outer wall of the house is, apart from the entrance, only broken by several small windows, which are either carved or variously decorated by ground bricks or black bluestone, standing in marked contrast to the plain white walls.
The toilets of Uygur dwellings are generally to be found on the roof, the dry climate facilitating the removal of feces.
Although the climate poses no problems for houses built of immature earth, well-to-do families still have their dwellings built of bricks as a precaution against erosion. Fine carvings decorate arched galleries, wall surfaces, niches, fireplaces, the compact rib work, ceilings, etc. As the inhabitants are Muslim, green colors are mostly used. In dwellings of the common people, internal decorations are simpler, and there is usually little furniture, but beautiful tapestries are hung on the walls for decoration.
Vernacular dwellings in Huizhou during the Ming and Qing Dynasties were all large buildings, and of these the sanheyuan and the siheyuan were the most common. High walls were used inside the courtyard to divide into small patios. On both sides of the antecourt are wing rooms. The centralbay on the ground floor is the room and the rooms to the left and right serve as bedrooms. Partition boards are usually not used in the main, which is of the open type. The wing rooms are generally relatively small with regard to the bays and shallow in depth to give more daylight. For the higher floors, the form known as horse racing building (storied buildings forming a square with a ringed verandah built along the inner sides) is usually adopted, the through verandah encircles the building and fine carved partition boards taking the form of wooden balustrades are used for ornament. The study and boudoir are located upstairs both for privacy and the view, the beauty of which could provide enjoyment or give spiritual consolation in times of need. On some of the second floors, a small window was set inside the carved balustrade so that the young unmarried ladies of the house could have a surreptitious peep to see whether the young man just visiting was a suitable match. The outer hollow walls of vernacular dwellings have tile sheathing. As wooden columns, rather than the walls, were used for load-bearing, hollow walls were chosen for insulating purposes. Rich families, however, would have decorative wooden panels installed on the inner side of the outer walls as a precaution against thieves, who would wet walls at night, cut through the lime seam with bamboo blades and remove the bricks one by one to form a hole through which they could enter the house.
Further precautions taken by well-to do families were the installation of concealed rooms, the entrances to which were often hidden by a brick wall, carved wooden ornament etc., and sandwich design, whereby cavities were left between the floorboards of the upper story and the ceiling of the ground floor and used for hiding the familys gold, silver and jewelry. Old trees, clear brooks, paved roads, square pavilions and small bridges are typical features of the villages in Southern Anhui. Stout and bulky old trees and dense, dark green woods form the setting for the ancient wayside pavilions, houses and paifang (archway).
13. Vernacular Dwellings in Southwest China
The brick carving applied in the vernacular dwellings of the region deserves special mention. From the technical and compositional point of view, brick carving during the Ming Dynasty was somewhat plain and naive. It could, however, in the Qing Dynasty be exquisite. Inspired by the means of expression employed by the painters of vertical and hand scrolls, the brick carvers produced wonderfully carved pieces, paying particular attention to plot and composition and the effects that could be achieved by successively engraving more deeply.
The provinces of Yunnan, Guizhou and Guangxi are famous for the uniqueness and beauty of their scenery. The population includes minority ethnic groups such as the Dai, Jingpo, Dong, Wa, Aini and Shui, and the vernacular dwellings have a variety of forms, many tribes adopting ganlan-type buildings.
Interestingly, it was only for a very short period, namely that stretching from the middle to the late Ming Dynasty, that the art of vernacular dwellings in south Antui flourished. Its rise and decline was synchronous with that of the local Xinan school of painting and the Anhui woodcut school, reflecting the local economic and cultural conditions, the creative level of artists and masters and the interest people took in art at the time.
These have a long history. In the period of the Hemudu civilization, about 1000 years ago, very mature ganlan-type buildings already existed. The Liao Zhuan, a description of the Liao nationality in the book Wei Shu, which tells the history of the Wei Dynasty, says the following: The Liao nationality is a branch of the Nanman. They live in the area stretching from Hanzhong to Qiong, Ze, Chuan and Dong, and consist of many branches scattered through the valleys.leaning against trees, they pile up wood to live thereon. Ganlan-type dwellings were small storied buildings with bamboo for the columns or beams, the upper floors for dwelling and the lower ones for raising livestock or storing sundries.
Ganlan-type dwellings can be of the high-storied or the low-storied type depending on the height of the void space of columns and beams on the lower floors. The most common type is three-storied: the uppermost floor being a bedroom, the floor between a sitting room and ground floor serving as a pen for animals and storage space.
6. Vernacular Dwellings in Guangdong
Materials used in traditional vernacular dwellings are simple, mostly earth and wood. War, fire, natural calamities and the rainy climate have all taken their toll, and as a result, there are only very vernacular dwellings built prior to the Ming Dynasty still extant, an exception being Xus residence in Chaozhou.
In sparsely populated areas, ganlan-type dwellings are ideal for fending off wild beasts. They also uphold the ancient tradition of huotang (fireplace, a hollow made in the floor for an open fire for the cooking of food, the heating of water and the drying of clothes). The huotang is also to be found on the second floor, the number depending on the ethnic group and the number of brothers; but there is generally at least one. In addition to the uses mentioned above, they also serve to repel mosquitoes, and blackened beams and floor panels are less likely to be attacked by woodworm. The huotang is also used for smoking meat and vegetables.
One type of vernacular dwelling in Guangdong was the parallel one, uniting several households. As dwellings built with earth walls could neither withstand the frequent strong winds nor were easy to defend, the parallel type was adopted, which was more ideal.
Dwellings of the outer-gallery type of the Jingpo in Yunnan are of the low storied ganlan type. The roofs are of double pitch, larger at the top and smaller lower down. Bronze funeral objects unearthed from a tomb with a wooden outer coffin and a bronze inner coffin found in the village of Xiangyun County in Yunnan Province testify to the fact that during the period of the warring states (400 BC), there were already at that time such ganlan-type buildings with roofs of inverted trapezoidal shape with a longer ridge and shorter eaves. In ancient times, the heads of oxen or even human heads were hung from the eves as a demonstration of the fighting spirit and courage of the master of the house. The Jingpo still use this form of dwell-Jinggan-type dwelling is also a style of building that was already in existence in ancient China. Patterns on vessels for storing shells and bronze articles unearthed from Shizhai Mountain in Yunnan give us an indication of what these dwellings looked like, the method of construction emerging as early as the Han Dynasty. The jinggan-type storied building constructed in the reign of Wudi of the Han Dynasty was very tall, and was once described in the following way: Climbing only half way up a jinggan-type storied building leaves one feeling faint. Other interesting literary records of the high-rise buildings of the Han Dynasty are to be found in zhangfanhanji, Dongguanhanji etc.
Zhutongwu (a bamboo tube house), also called Zhougancuo, is a type of building often found in the towns of Guangdong. The facade is singlebay, but the building is of generous depth. The lobby, the kitchen, the sitting room, the study, and the bedrooms are often single bays in several rows with small courtyards in between. The form of layout is narrow that it could be compared to the stem of the bamboo. A block comprises a dozen or so zhutongwo parallel to each other and with rear doors as well. Members of the same family owning several Zhougancuo would open a side door between two courtyards. The rooms of such dwellings follow on from each other on a straight axis.
Both the outer and inner walls of jinggan-type dwellings are made of piled-up debarked round or square logs, with deep grooves being provided on the contact surfaces of the logs to facilitate stable piling and water-proofing. Crossed joints are used at wall corners. The logs of inner partition walls are also crossed and exposed. Lapping round logs are roughly exposed without being painted. The name of this type of building derives from its shape. Currently, this type of house is restricted to the forest zones of Northeast China Xinjiang and Yunnan. The roofs are generally of xuanshan type, some have their gaps smeared with clay for protection against the wind and cold. Roofs are of straw or bark, but roofs of wood slices are more representative. Jinggan-type dwellings are scattered about in small villages as a precaution against fire. Of these, the most impressive are those of the Naxi in Yongning County, Yunnan.
The city of Dali in the province of Yunnan is a beautiful place and famous for its folk songs. Eighteen brooks from Cangshan Mountain flow here into lake Erhai. The crystal-clear water is partly diverted through the town, making a murmuring sound as it runs through the stone channels of the streets and alleys. The brooks themselves are rendered green by the waterweeds, swaying like stalks of wheat in the breeze as the water flows gently over them. Bai girls are often to be seen washing clothes at dusk, an attractive sight against the background of the houses with their black tiles and white walls. Bai vernacular dwellings are justly famous. Sanfangyizhaobi and sihewutianjing are the layouts typically used and buildings are built to best withstand the strong gales and frequent earthquakes. A so-called fang is a two-storied house comprising three bays. Sanfangyizhaobi is a sanheyuan composed of three encircling two-storied houses of three bays each, plus a zhaobi. Such layouts are relatively common and are the most popular for the vernacular dwellings of the Bai.
Another type of unique dwelling in Guangdong is the Diaolou (barbican-shaped dwelling), of which only around 1400 still exist in the county of Kaiping. The earliest Diaolou is a three-storied Diaolou in the village of Ying xian still in existence in the Chikan District of Kaiping County. It bears the name of Yinglonglou. According to the records of the county, its history goes back to more than three hundred years ago. Diaolou like strongholds, has thick outer walls and are as high as blockhouses, and provides excellent defense if attacked by bandits or floods occur.
Unique too, in the mountainous border area of Fujian, Guangdong and Jiangxi, is the castle-type vernacular dwelling, the weiwu (a kind of earth building) of the Hakka people, a branch of the Han, who migrated from the north and speak a special dialect. Weiwu differ from the tulou in Fujian in the following ways. Firstly, the weiwu is mostly built of brick and stone. Secondly, weiwu consist of individual encircling buildings of a single storey or several stories and are thus groups of buildings but not buildings in themselves. Weiwu in Shixing County in Guangdong are splendid examples of this type. No village has no weiwu, without weiwu a village cannot be a village. Generally, weiwu are curved, oval, or square in shape with very high enclosing walls and rather awe-in-spiring. Weiwu are classified by local people into several types such as weilongwu, sidianjin, zoumalou, wufenglou and diantangshi. Of these, the weiwu built in the Qing Dynasty in the village of Mantang, Aizi Town-Dawei, deserves their reputation as the most impressive weiwu in Northern Guangdong.
Sihewutianjing is a siheyuan plus an entrance zhaobi and the encircling walls to make five large and small tianjing (patio, a small roofless space in a building or in a yard enclosed by houses on four sides or on three sides with a wall on the fourth). The Bai people prefer their houses to be built by the side of a hill or mountain, only thus is the well-being of the family guaranteed. The rear end of the principal axis of the building is thus set against a nearby hill, it being forbidden to have the back of a vernacular building facing a gully or an open place.
Vernacular dwellings in Guangdong are rarely limited by traditional rules and regulations and have thus been able to lead the way in the making of modern residences out of traditional vernacular dwellings.
Guizhou Province is located to the east of the Yungui Plateau. Here hills rise and fall, surface soil is poor with rocks and stones everywhere. The local people utilize the readily available material to build their houses, and even flat mountain rocks are sometimes used for the walling of vernacular dwellings. The wooden frames of the houses are of the through-jointed type. The sloping roof surfaces are covered with thin layers of limestone and not given ridge tiles, solving the problem of roof ridge leaking.
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In many villages, too, the ground is paved with stone slabs, the floors are of stone, water urns are also of stone and mangers are chiseled out of stone blocks. Whole villages of stone slab houses have a special character. Hundreds of steps zigzag their way up- wards to the top of the village. Arched gates span the road and high staggered buildings constructed of flat pieces of stone piled up one on top of the other are an impressive sight. Stone slab houses are to be found around the Huaxi District of Guiyang, Zhenning and Anshun in the province of Guizhou, in Ankang in the province of Shaanxi and in the mountainous region of the municipality of Beijing. From the famous waterfall in Huangguoshu one can easily walk to the shitouzhai (stone village) in Zhenning.
Yunnan Province is located on the plateau. The climate is spring- like all year round without extremes of heat and cold. Strong winds, however, can blow, so vernacular dwellings have thick earth walls and semi-cylindrical roof tiles. One finds Yikeyin (seal) vernacular dwellings, so called because their form of layout is as square as a seal. The sanjiansier yikeyin type is the most common, sanjiansier denoting these main central rooms and two rooms on each side. Such layouts not only fulfill the functional requirements of living but also those of defense. Yikeyin houses are all multi-storied, with people living upstairs and the ground floor used for livestock and storage. The ground floor of the main house is taken up by the main room, used to receive guests. Rooms to the left and right of the main room serve as bedrooms. The central bay upstairs is used as the family hall for worshipping Buddha. Two or three yikeyin units can be used in line when it is a question of building larger dwellings, and those of high-clan families have a daozuo of daobachi at the entrance.
出版：Springer Wien New York