Residential Houses

Moving from the steep mountains in the Tibet-Qinghai plateau to the flat plains in the hinterland, Yangtze River witnesses various regional cultures reflected in the diversified residential houses. There are tents dotted in the nomadic alpine grassland, the traditional Ganlan-style architecture in southwestern China and the nearly single-colored houses in the lower reach of the Yangtze River.

Tents on the Plateau
Being highly transportable, tents are favored by the nomadic people in the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau. Dotted on the spacious grassland, each tent is inhabited by one family. There are black tents made of yak-hair and tents made of cloth. Resting on sheepskin or cowhide, men usually sit on the left and women the right. If there are guests, the right side will be given to the guests for it is where the Deity is worshiped.

Ganlan-style Building (Suspended Wooden Building)
The southwest of China has the most ethnic groups. Their dwelling houses, following the Ganlan-style, are represented by the Bamboo Building of the Dai People and the Diaojiaolou (Miao-style House) found in other groups. This architecture is common in Yunnan Province, Guizhou Province and Sichuan Province etc.

Humid weather in Yunnan Province makes it necessary to build houses on stilts. Dai People take full advantage of various bamboos making the suspended bamboo house distinctive. The ground floor without walls is used for animal breeding or as a depository; the upper floor is has a living room and a guest room. The house has a staircase, corridor as well as a terrace. The gaps between the ferula walls function as windows. The Diaojiaolou of the Tujia and Miao Minorities also have buildings of this kind with one side backing onto a slope, the other side supported by wooden sticks.

Patio-contained Dwellings
Dwellings in southern China differ from those in Northern China in several aspects. For instance, two-storied houses are widely preferred to avoid heavy moisture. Fastigium, higher than the roof, is added for protection against fires. White walls with cyan tiles complete the simple appearance and elegance of southern dwellings.

Typically dwellings have a patio in the centre with houses built around. There are two common layouts, one is with rooms on three sides and a wall on the other, the other is with rooms on four sides. The deep and narrow patio is essential for ventilation and receiving daylight. Rivers flow in front of houses adding much tranquility and life to the elegant houses.

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