Huizhou Architecture(II)

2010-11-29 作者: Mount Huangshan    信息来源: Mount Huangshan

Official residences and ancestral temples share similar architectural style, featuring whitewashed walls and grey tiles. Houses are enclosed by walls taller than the actual house, the tops of the walls increasing in height by steps. These walls have two interesting colloquial names: "horse- head walls" and "wind-and-fire" walls. The stepped look is said to give the impression of a horse’s head, thus the first, and, as primary defense from wind and fire (not to mention burglars), they are also known by the latter. A common person, in contrast, generally lived in a compound comprised of several houses on three or four sides of an inner courtyard. Though there are some three-storey residences, the homes of the area are predominantly two-stories. Classic doorways are built of stone, with a roof or an arch over the gateway. The front door opens to a winged forecourt, which serves to ventilate the rooms and provide more natural light. Flower beds and fishponds were also popular landscaping details and can be found in several of the courts. On the ground floor is the central hall, flanked by bedrooms and, in some exceptional cases, opposite a stage. The upper level boasts a veranda that usually runs around three or four sides of the court. In some cases, wealthy families commissioned special benches to be set along the balustrade of the veranda, providing seats upon which he ladies of the family would while away their leisurely hours, taking in the garden sights. These benches are both practical and artistic, locally known as "beauty recliners".

In the feudal China, the quality and standards of dwelling places was officially stratified according to the owner’s social position. Any house constructed beyond the restriction was considered an open offense to the owner's superiors and would induce severe punishment. Therefore, the local gentry, in an effort to avoid appearing ostentatious, opted for exquisite interior decorations as opposed to a luxurious exterior. Beams, pillars and purling are found gilded or painted, and exquisite displays of carving -on wood, brick, and stone-can be viewed in these homes (See Carvings in the Gallery). Finely chiseled on the brackets, upturned eaves, latticework, arches, balustrades, and shrines are landscapes (suns, moons, clouds, waves, mountains, rivers, pavilions, gardens), animals and plants (flowers, insects, fish, birds, beasts), legendary stories, mythical figures, historical events, and depictions of daily life (farming, weaving, fishing, cutting wood, studying for an official career). The carvings, done with superb workmanship, illustrate a wide range of subjects and give valuable insight into the cultural past -a true gallery of the local conditions in the Ming and Qing Dynasties.

Huizhou captures the very essence of historic Chinese culture, now globally recognized for its delicacy, intrigue, and charm. Numerous celebrities of a bygone era in China’s rich history claim Huizhou as their home -- writers, poets, painters, calligraphers and officials all hailed from Huizhou, their legacies still preserved. Besides the remarkable estates throughout the region, Huizhou hosts many thousands of complete architectural preservations. UNESCO (United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization) listed Xidi and Hongcun villages, both in Yixian County, as World Heritage sites in November 2000. The ancient town of Tunxi is its best-preserved business street with the characteristics of the Song, Ming and Qing dynasties.

Civilian Huizhou-style residences highlight local physical features of the area and embrace widely observed concepts of fengshui and aesthetic trends. Black tiles, white walls and ornamental horse heads painted elegantly on upturned eaves lend an air of majesty even the smallest of details. As a school of traditional Chinese architecture, Huizhou-style architecture amasses elegance, simplicity and dignity in perfect harmony. Tourists will appreciate the conceptual architecture as an entirely unique art form…Huizhou’s sites are simply awe-inspiring!