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                Home History and Culture Chinese Civilian Residence
                Chinese Civilian Residence
                Learn Chinese - History and Culture

                ???Siheyuan
                Residential construction in different parts of China is also called civilian residential housing which is a basic type of architecture. Due to the vast expanse of China, the presence of many ethnic groups, different climatic conditions and ways of life, the residences of people in different parts of the country differ in terms of design and style. The most representative civilian residences in China are the Siheyuan of Beijing (běi jīng sì hé yùan 北京四合院), Cave Dwellings (yáo dòng 窯洞) of the Loess Plateau (huáng tǔ gāo?yuán 黃土高原) northwest China, the Earthen Tower (tǔ lóu 土樓) of Kejia (or Hakka) people (kè jiā rén 客家人)?in Fujian (fú jiàn shěng 福建省) and Guangdong provinces (guǎng dōng shěng 廣東省), and the Mongolian yurt (méng gǔ bāo 蒙古包) in Mongolian nationality.

                Siheyuan (四合院)
                Siheyuan is a traditional residence that was commonly found throughout Beijing and the northern China. SiheyuanIt is a courtyard surrounded by four buildings which are normally positioned along the north-south and east-west axes. The residence is situated in the north of the compound and faces south, mostly consisting of inner and outer yards. The building positioned to the north and facing the south is considered the main house (zhèng fáng 正房), serving as the living room and bedroom of the owner or head of the family. There are two wing-rooms (xiāng fáng 廂房) in each side of the east and west, which are for the younger generations. The north-facing houses are generally used for servants or for stacking sundries. The entrance gate, usually painted vermilion and with copper door knockers on it, is usually at the southeastern corner of the compound. Normally, there is a screen wall (yíng bì 影壁) for privacy inside the gate. All of the rooms around the courtyard have large windows facing onto the yard and small windows high up on the back wall facing out onto the street. The layout of siheyuan represents the character of legitimacy and preciseness of the people in northern China. According to the historical discovery analyses, the Siheyuan residence appeared more than 2,000 years ago.

                Cave Dwellings (窯洞)
                Cave dwellingCave dwellings are mainly distributed in central and west provinces like Henan (hé nán shěng 河南省), Shanxi (shān xī shěng 山西省), and Shaanxi (shǎn xī shěng 陜西省), where the loess is of great depth. The loess has little seepage and a very strong vertical nature, which provides a very good precondition for the development of cave dwellings. The cave dwelling is cool in summer, warm in winter and saves space. It is a harmonious combination of natural environment and human activities. Traditional cave dwellings are round, which seems dexterous and lively in monotonous loess. Cave dwelling shows the concept that the heaven is round and the earth is square, and the window high on the circular arch can let sunshine go into the cave so that people in the cave can fully enjoy the sunshine. There are three types of cave dwelling, which are earth kiln (tǔ yáo 土窯), stone kiln (shí yáo 石窯)?and brick kiln?cave dwellings (zhuān yáo 磚窯).

                The Earthen Tower (土樓)
                The Earthen Tower?is the residences of Kejia people in Fujian and Guangdong provinces. The ancestor of Kejia people were Han people who migrated to the south from the middle and lower reaches of the Yellow River (huáng hé 黃河)?over 1900 years ago. Earthen TowerThey built large residences of earthen towers so as to protect their family. One such tower is able to hold a score of families of a whole clan with a total of several hundred people. The towers are round or square in shape, and the round-shaped tower is the most impressive. It is made up of two or three circles of houses. The outer circle could be more than ten meters high, with 100 to 200 rooms. The ground floor is used as kitchens and dinning rooms while the second floor is used for storage. The third and fourth floors are the living quarters and bedrooms. The second circle has two stories with 30 to 50 rooms. They are mostly used as rooms for guests. In the middle there is an ancestral hall with a holding capacity of several hundred people where pubic activities are carried out. Within an earthen tower, there are bathrooms, toilets and a well. The huge size and the unique design of the earthen tower are highly praised by many architects all over the world.

                Mongolian yurts (蒙古包)
                The Mongolian felt tent in northwest China is called Mongolian yurts. The Mongolian yurt is round. The big one can hold six hundred people, and the small one has a capacity of about twenty people. The Mongolian yurt is usually set up in the place where it is suitable for grazing. People always draw a suitable circle at first. And then begin to set up the yurt according to the circle. When it is finished, people decorate the inner of yurt with flowers, carpet or mirrors. Nowadays, there are furniture and household appliances in Mongolian yurt, which make people’s life more comfortable. The emergence of Mongolian yurts is closely related to their nomadic lifestyle. Mongolians always move about to seek new water sources and pastures and the Mongolian yurt can meet their requirements.
                ??????????? Mongolian yurts

                中國民居

                ????? 中國各地的居住建筑,又稱民居。居住建筑是最基本的建筑類型。由于我國地域遼闊,民族眾多,以及各地區的自然環境和人文情況不同,各地居民的房屋也顯現出多樣化的面貌,形成了多姿多彩的民居風格。其中比較有特色的有北京四合院、陜西河南的窯洞、福建的土樓、蒙古族的蒙古包等。

                四合院
                ????? 四合院是北京地區乃至華北地區的傳統住宅。是由東、西、南、北四面房子圍合起來形成的內院式住宅,其基本特點是按南北軸線對稱布置房屋和院落,坐北朝南,大門一般開在東南角,門內建有影壁,門窗開向院子,對外不開窗,外人看不到院內的活動。通常分前、內兩院,兩院之間設垂花門。內院是住宅的中心。在中軸線上南向為正房,坐南朝北的房稱南房,兩側為廂房。Siheyuan正房是長輩的起居室,廂房則供晚輩起居用,這種莊重的布局,亦體現了華北人民正統、嚴謹的傳統性格。據史料顯示,四合院早在2000多年前就出現了。

                窯洞
                ????? 窯洞是黃土高原的產物,陜北農民的象征。它主要分布在河南、山西和陜西等黃土層又深又厚的地方。窯洞建筑最大的特點就是冬暖夏涼,節省空間,它是自然環境與人文活動的和諧統一。傳統的窯洞空間從外觀上看是圓拱形,雖然很普通,但是在單調的黃土為背景的情況下,圓弧形更顯得輕巧而活波,這種源自自然的形式,不僅體現了傳統思想里天圓地方的理念,同時更重要的是門洞處高高的圓拱加上高窗,在冬天的時候可以使陽光進一步深入到窯洞的內側,從而可以充分的利用太陽輻射。窯洞主要分為三種:土窯、石窯和磚窯。

                土樓

                ????? 土樓主要分布在福建、廣東等地??图胰说淖嫦仁?900多年前從黃河中下游地區遷移到南方的漢族人。為了保護家族安全,客家人創造了這種龐大的民居—土樓。一座土樓里可以住下幾十戶人家,幾百口人。土樓有圓形的也有方形的。其中最有特色的是圓形土樓,樓有兩三圈組成,外圈十多米高,有一二百個房間,是生活居住區;第二圈兩層,一般是客房;中間是祖堂,能容下幾百人進行公共活動。Cave Dwelling土樓里有水井、浴室、廁所等,就像一座小城市??图彝翗歉叽?、奇特;設計與建造很有科學性、實用性和觀賞性于,受到了全世界很多建筑大師的稱贊。

                蒙古包
                ????? 蒙古包是蒙古族牧民居住的一種房子。蒙古包呈圓形,有大有小,大者,可容納600多人;小者可以容納20個人。蒙古包的架設很簡單,主要由架木、苫氈、繩帶三大部分組成一般是搭建在水草適宜的地方,根據蒙古包的大小先畫一個畫圈,然后便可以開始按照圈的大小搭建。蒙古包搭好后,人們進行包內裝飾,鋪上厚厚的地毯,四周掛上鏡框和招貼花?,F在一些家具電器也進了蒙古包,人們的生活十分舒暢歡樂。蒙古包的出現與蒙古人游動的生活方式有關,蒙古人不停地走動以尋求新的水資源和牧草,而蒙古包正能滿足這種生活。
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