Top Five Chinese Houses You Cannot Miss to Experience Ancient Folk Customs
Folk residences are the earliest architectural types in the history of China. These residences are usually in diversified forms with no restrictions and built according to local conditions. They are the buildings with the strongest folk styles and local flavors in Chinese architectural art. As a country with vast territory and long history, China has various natural and humanistic environments. As such, residence styles differ from place to place.
The Qiao Family Grand Courtyard lies in the beautiful and richly endowed Jinzhong basin of Shanxi. It is greatly admired as a very special artistic treasure by both common people and architects. It was built in during the reign of Emperor Qianlong (1711-99) in the Qing Dynasty, and occupied 10,642 square meters of land, consisting of 6 large yards and 20 small yards with 313 houses in total. It was an old Chinese residential courtyard that thrived for over two centuries. When you look down at the overall yard above ground, it looks just like"喜喜"(double happiness in Chinese).
Kangbaiwan Manor 康百万庄园
Located in Zhengzhou in Henan Province, Kangbaiwan Manor is an isolated castle building of medieval architecture. Built entirely in brick, it can be dated back to the Ming and Qing Dynasties. It was once a large-scale landowner’s house. There are 9 large construction groups, 310 living quarters, 31 yards and 73 caves, magnificently decorated. It is divided into the storage, the workshop, the ancestral hall and livestock rearing areas. Surprisingly, there is only one entrance in such a large complex. Walking through the villa, you will feel like you enter into a maze.
Situated in Hongcun Village of Yixian County in Anhui, the Chengzhi Hall was built around 1855 some 140 years ago as a private residence of the famous Qing Dynasty salt merchant Wang Dinggui. The brick-wood-structure building has a total of 9 yards of different sizes, full layer 7 floors, 60 rooms of various sizes and 60 doors, covering an area of 2,100 square meters, with the building area being 3,000 square meters. The brick, wood and stone carvings of the building are exceptionally exquisite. It is said that the cost of building the Chengzhi Hall was 600,000 liang of silver and all the woodcarvings were finished by 20 craftsmen in 4 years.
Acclaimed as the "First Folk Residence in Cathay", the Wang Family Grand Courtyard is the largest-existing folk residence cluster in China and a model of the merchant family's residence in North China's Shanxi Province, demonstrating the quintessence of Chinese architectural art and cultural values. This luxurious residence covers about 34,450 square meters with 123 compounds and 1,118 rooms.
The whole compound incorporates garden art and courtyard building techniques under the premises of conforming to social institutions and practicality. The outline, the intervals, and every other detail of the compound jointly present an elaborate work of Chinese folk residence.
Prince Gong's Mansion is Beijing's largest and the best preserved Qing Dynasty (1644-1911) princely mansion and is located at Qianhai Xijie. The dwelling is a traditional courtyard mansion of a style that was so popular in imperial Beijing. The complex covers a total area of 61,120 square meters. Just over half of this is the residential portion, while the remainder is devoted to an ornamental garden to the rear. These grand and exquisite buildings are a poignant reminder of the pageantry and splendor that was so much part of China's imperial past.