Life in the Village and beyond, based around the interests of my life.

Life in the Village and beyond, based around the interests of my life. Sunset at Telegraph Point.

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Woodwork in Southern China - Old and New Part 2

On the Tibetan Plateau, summers are short and the winters are very cold, with deep snow.
The wet season is late this year.
Note the trees!

 I was surprised to find that wood is a most common material for building houses.  A traditional house has two floors and a loft.  The ground floor is for housing the animals - essential in winter - while the second floor is living space.  Most commonly, this is two large rooms separated by a foyer cum store room, which houses the steps up to the loft.

One room is the kitchen - dining - lounge, while the other is a multi-purpose room which also acts as a bedroom. Bedding is stacked away against the walls during the day, leaving lots of floor space.

The loft is bedded  with earth for insulation, and is used for storage of fodder for the winter. It is open at one end and is also used for drying materials including clothing.

The houses often have a front walled courtyard and gate - like this one being built by the owners.  Up to three generations will share the one home.  We found the people to be engaging and wonderfully hospitable.

Rammed earthen walls - much like Australian pise, or Mexican adobe - frame the courtyard.  These need a small roof to prevent erosion.  The lads are building this in the left of the picture.  Below is a view from the outside.

Note the extra wide eaves on the house roof to protect the walls.
This end also has the opening to the loft.

Of course, with the rise of tourism in all areas of China, changes are happening to traditional building.  The tourists are ninety nine percent Chinese who are travelling within their own country.  Westerners, like us, make up a very small proportion of visitors.

And so some of the new houses are fancier, and the ground floor rooms are for guests. There are also many more windows. Cop an optic on those pillars.  Brought from the deep forests far away.

Here is some sub floor detail showing the carpentry involved.  Timbers are almost exclusively native pine or fir.  There are spruce forests, but I did not recognise spruce timber used in construction.  That is not to say that it isn't used, just that I didn't see any.

We were lucky enough to walk in the spruce forests - way up high.  They are stunningly beautiful.

 I cannot get over the genuine beauty and warmth of the people that we encountered in Southern China.  They are gentle, hard working folk with a fabulous sense of humour.  We made many friends here.

Love life ..... and live ...............

1 comment:

  1. Tom amazing lives these people live and so simple without all our bagage of modern day living. Not that they do not have modern devices.

    These beams look like they will last a life time and more. Not sure they have the concept of the way we do floor boards their's are running parrallel to the beams. Like the stel framing at the top and the design of the facade.

    Now I will not show Sue the fibre hanging in the room she would speak seriously to you next time we see you LOL.