Huizhou Architecture(I)

2010-11-13 作者: Mount Huangshan    信息来源: Mount Huangshan

During Emperor Gao Zong’s reign of the Southern Song Dynasty, the capital city was moved to Lin’ An. Nothing but the most impressive architecture would suffice for the Emperor-- the new palace, with all its gardens and ponds, was ten times as large as that in the old capital, Kaifeng. His courtiers followed suit in their demands for architectural excellence. Many Song Dynasty military officers and state officials moved south to build private mansions and pavilions. This not only encouraged the Huizhou merchants to engage in trading bamboo, wood and lacquer, but also brought heightened esteem to Huizhou craftsmen and spread the reputation of southern architectural art throughout China.

Huizhou merchants, who sought success for their families, often returned home after making a fortune to erect estates fit for their new family honor. They painstakingly designed and built new houses to proclaim the good fortunes of their line, paying close attention to quality and custom. Their purposes were, on one hand, to meet the demands of their luxurious lifestyle, and, on the other hand, to ensure and increase their vested interests through patriarchal-feudal activities. They were therefore eager to construct houses in their hometown. Villas, gardens and temples were built, ancestral halls renovated, roads and bridges improved, and real estate was purchased to increase the clan property. Consequently, Huizhou’s distinctive architecture was gradually cultivated into a stylized and systematic art form.

Upon setting foot on the soil of any of the four counties in the Huangshan Municipality, you will instantly find yourself in another world. Huangshan is home to over 5,000 sites of cultural importance. Of all China, the area can proudly claim the most and the best-preserved ancient architecture of the Ming and Qing dynasties. Ancient streets and lanes web the towns, while age-old houses, bridges, pagodas, temples, arches, ruins, graves and steles, all differing greatly in function and design, act as portals to a bygone era in China’s past. The streets and lanes, a testament to ancient Huizhou’s ingenuity, are all paved with flagstones, which incline gently to one side as a time- worn drainage system. The pavement on these elegantly curved and winding roads is neat and smooth, but the stones are pitted so that they are not slippery in rainy days. A stroll along Huangshan’s antique paths leaves tourists nostalgic, their hearts full of appreciation for Huizhou heritage. (See Ancient Villages and Buildings in the Gallery)