Huizhou Architecture

Huangshan Huizhou Architecture, Huangshan Attractions,  Huangshan Travel GuideBecause of its long history and glorious culture, it had formed its own nice and elegant architecture style, known as Huizhou Architecture. In Huizhou, well-preserved ancient architecture is abundant: houses, archways, temples, steles, pavilions, towers, tombs and so on, from those constructions visitors can easily find the belief, custom and world view of local people of this area. Among them residences and archways are prominent. Influenced by local geography, economy, traditional concept and custom, Huizhou Architecture features Feng Shui (Chinese geomancy), high white-and-black house and Huizhou Four Carvings. The priority would be given to Feng Shui (Chinese Geomancy) when choosing a site and planning the layout for a village as well as a house. Fengshui is based on Yin-Yang, Wu-Xing and the Eight Diagrams theory. As a part of nature, men are influenced by environment. Feng Shui is a combination of town-planning, environmental improvement, architecture and interior decoration. Feng Shui practically focus on choosing location for residence, business, even tomb, as well as methods to improve their original environmental quality. In Huizhou, under the guidance of Feng Shui, the site of village or residence is prudently chosen, houses' gateway should avoid facing chimney or road, otherwise, a mirror or scissor would be hung on the door's lintel, to ward off evils; water is symbol of fortune and luck. Another noticeable feature of Huizhou villages are the high, crenellated walls that separate neighboring buildings. Called fire-proof walls, and sometimes fire-wind walls or horse head walls because of the shape of the slim protruding part near the eave, their important purpose was to prevent the spread of fire through the town from one building to the next. Their two subsidiary functions were to block drafts from entering the homes' inner courtyards and to discourage burglary. Houses in Huizhou are dominated by white and black. The wall is white washed, and the tile roof is black. Local people prefer simple and impressive color rather than florid color to beautify their residences, seek the harmony with surrounding green trees, lush bamboos, clear streams. Windows are replaced by Tianjing (Sky Well), which can admit daylight and fresh air instead. The sloped roofs above the courtyard are so designed as to collect the maximum amount of rainwater. This is done because geomantically-minded Huizhou merchants were reluctant to let any form of energy escape their control; they were interested in amassing and accumulating property rather than letting it disperse and escape. The collection of rain is symbolic of their accumulation of wealth. Most owners of those houses were farmers and merchants; the house is usually small or medium size. According to the rule in ancient China, the higher the social status is, the bigger the size of house. So the merchants were not allowed to build big residences even though they were rich enough for they were at the bottom of the social status, even lower than farmers, craftsmen, let alone officials. Farmers were not able to afford big-sized dwellings. So rich merchants spent a lot of money decorating their houses with delicate carvings, they were woodcarving, bamboo carving, stone carving and brick carving. Carving skills are well developed; those four kinds of carvings are known as Huizhou Four Carvings. Carvings are plentiful on houses, clan temples and archways, etc. Another highlight of Huizhou Architecture is archway (Paifang) that's peculiar to China, abundant and well preserved in Huizhou. Most streets in a Huizhou village line either a brook or a canal. Flagstones, paving the street, are on a gentle incline to drain water into the neighboring channel. Further, the flagstones are often pitted so that in spite of their drainage function they are not slippery. Alongside the street, there are often steps leading down to the water's edge providing easy access to water for washing, cooking or bathing purposes.