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Old March 1st, 2011, 07:57 PM   #21
hmmwv
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Nice, I always wanted to visit the Tulou.
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Old March 1st, 2011, 10:27 PM   #22
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Very interesting
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Old April 7th, 2011, 05:23 AM   #23
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In a Chinese building, a village
The traditional homes, now being abandoned, reflect fading clan culture
24 March 2011
International Herald Tribune

The gargantuan buildings are so iconic that they appear on a Chinese stamp. The most famous have distinctive round shapes, appearing from a distance like flying saucers that have plopped down in the middle of farm fields. Some were reportedly mistaken for missile silos by U.S. officials poring over satellite images.

But the thousands of earthen buildings here, built by the ethnic Hakka and Minnan people of rural Fujian Province, are actually the ultimate architectural expression of clan existence in China.

For centuries, each building, called tulou in Mandarin Chinese, would house an entire clan, virtually a village. Everyone living inside would have the same surname, except for those who had married into the clan. The tulou usually tower four floors and have as many as hundreds of rooms that open out onto a vast central courtyard.

The outer walls, made of rammed earth, protected against bandits, with many of the walls square-shaped and resembling medieval keeps. With stockpiles of food, people could live for months without setting foot outside the tulou. But as China’s clan traditions unravel, more and more people are moving out of the tulou to live in modern apartments with conveniences absent from the earthen buildings — indoor toilets, for example.

The construction of tulou ended in the last century, and the art of building them is fading.

And some scholars contend that Chinese officials — though they tout the tulou as tourist attractions and President Hu Jintao visited them during the 2010 Lunar New Year festivities — have done little to systematically preserve the buildings or modernize them so people will continue living in them.

‘‘People don’t clean it anymore,’’ Jiang Qing, 28, said as she stood on an upper balcony in Huan Xing tulou, whose name means ‘‘embracing prosperity.’’ ‘‘As long as people live here, the ecosystem thrives. Once people move out, then it all falls apart.’’

Huan Xing is a typical tulou in Yongding County. It is 500 years old and has wooden pillars along the balconies that were erected long ago at leaning angles to give the structure greater strength. Huan Xing once housed 100 families, but only 10 or so people live here now.

The elderly residents shuffle back and forth, cooking in kitchens on the first floor or sitting around the central courtyard chatting. One afternoon, they were moving firewood stacked outside the front entrance of the tulou to nearby storage sheds; the local government had asked them to do this to hide the messy stacks from tourists.

The young have all moved out. Many live two hours away in the coastal city of Xiamen, where they largely do menial work.

Ms. Jiang, the mother of a 3-year-old, moved here from another village when she married into the Li clan. She was used to tulou living; she had grown up in a square-shaped one herself. She and her husband recently moved out of Huan Xing to an apartment with running water and indoor plumbing. Her husband’s parents still live in a ramshackle tulou across the street.

‘‘People used to live in the tulou for safety, but that’s not needed anymore,’’ said the husband, Li Jingan, 28, a restaurant owner. ‘‘When you’re young, you like the community in the tulou. But when you’re older, you appreciate the better standard of living outside.’’

Unesco, the U.N. agency that oversees cultural preservation, declared 46 tulou together to be a World Heritage Site in 2008. A Unesco museum in one of the tulou says the structures were built from the 13th century to the 20th century. One exhibit says there are 30,000 tulou in Fujian Province, more than 20,000 of those in Yongding County.

But Huang Hanmin, a scholar of the tulou who lives in Fujian, said there were many myths about the tulou, including the number. According to his research, there are only 3,000 tulou in the province, a figure echoed by the Global Heritage Fund, a California-based preservation organization that has a tulou project.

Mr. Huang said that about 1,100 tulou were round — the kind that appear on stamps, postcards and tourism posters — and that the rest were square or rectangular.

Another myth, he said, is that the tulou were all built by the Hakka, called kejiaren in Mandarin Chinese, meaning ‘‘guest people.’’ They are called guests because they began migrating to southern China from the Yellow River basin in the fourth century to escape war and natural disasters.

Linguists say the Hakka language is closer to the ancient Chinese of the Yellow River area, considered the birthplace of Chinese civilization, than any other language spoken today. Many of the Hakka settled in Fujian Province and Guangdong Province. In the hilly terrain of Fujian, rife with bandits and with locals hostile to the ‘‘guests,’’ they built the tulou.

Mr. Huang said the locals, who mostly speak a language called Minnan, constructed many tulou for security.

‘‘Historically, the Hakka people and Minnan people didn’t live peacefully side by side,’’ he said. ‘‘So safety became a paramount issue.’’

‘‘The Minnan ones are older, and there are probably more of them,’’ he added.

The Minnan people also built some of the largest tulou, with diameters of about 160 meters, or 525 feet.

The Chinese government tried smashing the clan system during the Cultural Revolution, which lasted from 1966 to 1976. Collectives built more and more tulou and randomly assigned people to live in the buildings, so that each clan would have members spread among different collectives. When the Cultural Revolution ended, people drifted back to their clans.

Perhaps the most famous tulou is the 17th-century Chengqilou, which has striking concentric rings of homes and alleys on its ground floor and was visited by Mr. Hu. Its diameter is about 100 meters, and it has 402 rooms. (The smallest tulou in Fujian has 16 rooms.) Fifteen generations have lived in it. Four brothers together built the Chengqilou for their families; it took four years to build, one year for each floor.

In the center is an ancestral altar, which is common in tulou. The inner ring of buildings once housed classrooms, but now children go outside for school. The next ring has 36 meeting rooms. The outermost ring is the main residential section. In a design typical of tulou, that ring’s towering walls have kitchens and animal stalls on the ground floor, storage rooms on the second and homes on the third and fourth floors. Water is drawn from two wells. The people here are surnamed Jiang, and their ancestors migrated from Henan Province.

The migration continues today, as the younger ‘‘guest people’’ leave to find employment.

‘‘A lot of people have gone elsewhere, Hong Kong, other places — they’re everywhere,’’ said Li Jiulan, a 53-year-old woman who has lived in Chengqilou for 32 years. ‘‘But it doesn’t matter if young people don’t live here. The older people are still here.’’

Mr. Huang, the scholar, had a different perspective: ‘‘What they’ve preserved is just the structure, but the people have all moved out,’’ he said. ‘‘So the living part has died. You’re just preserving a relic.’’
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Old April 7th, 2011, 06:18 AM   #24
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great! this scene looks like it was taken out from a samurai game


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Old April 20th, 2011, 08:31 PM   #25
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By 独自欣赏 from a Chinese photography forum :



















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Last edited by hkskyline; December 9th, 2011 at 04:52 AM.
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Old August 29th, 2011, 04:09 PM   #26
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Hakka heritage stages a show of force
Updated: 2011-02-11
China Daily

Since the tulou - the earthen communal houses of the Hakka people - were inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage List in 2008, they have become iconic attractions of Southeast China's Fujian province.

Those who aren't able to visit can still come to understand and appreciate its cultural essence through the stage show Verve of Tulou, created and performed by artists from Fujian's Yongding county.

The Hakka built the province's tulou between the 15th and the 20th centuries. The Hakka people is said to have migrated as war refugees from Central China. Yongding, which hosts 20,000 of the structures, has since come to be known as the "hometown of tulou".

Characterized by their circular - occasionally square - floor plans, tulou are usually several stories high and face inward toward a central courtyard.

A tulou is usually home to a single extended family, or clan, which may number up to 800 individuals.

The buildings are accessed through a single entrance and have no windows facing the outside on the ground level - security measures to keep out bandits.

According to UNESCO's description of tulou, "they stand as exceptional examples of a building tradition that exemplify a particular type of communal living, as well as a type of structure built for communal defense. They are an outstanding example of human settlement that harmoniously blends with their environment."

This is the essence that is captured in the presentation of tulou and Hakka culture in Verve of Tulou.

The show also portrays the development of the tulou and the Hakka migration that brought them to Yongding.

The five acts that present about a dozen Hakka songs and dances, and feature traditional attire, offer a holistic presentation of life in the county.

Hakka heritage stages a show of force

It also conveys the story of the Hakka diaspora overseas.

After their migration to Central China, many Hakka emigrated across the globe, with most moving to Southeast Asia, North America and Europe. This chapter of their legacy is represented in the show's Overseas Traces act.

Since its 2009 premier, Verve of Tulou has toured the provincial capital Fuzhou and Xiamen city, and has also been staged in Taiwan, where it aroused powerful feelings of nostalgia among the many Hakka residents.
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Old October 31st, 2011, 03:03 PM   #27
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What an awesome place. Looks like some parts are in need of renovation though. Anything happening in that regard?
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Old October 31st, 2011, 07:21 PM   #28
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Quote:
Originally Posted by erbse View Post
What an awesome place. Looks like some parts are in need of renovation though. Anything happening in that regard?
I visited a cluster of them last year and many were still inhabited. However, the buildings were nowhere near falling apart although the facilities are not exactly modern.

My photos : http://www.globalphotos.org/xiamen.htm
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Old December 9th, 2011, 04:54 AM   #29
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Old January 10th, 2012, 05:48 PM   #30
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Photo taken on June. 6, 2010 shows the Dadi Tulou, earth buildings in Chinese, in Hua'an County, southeast China's Fujian Province. Built on a base of stone, the thick walls of Tulou were packed with dirt and fortified with wood or bamboo internally. The architectural arts of the Fujian Tulou can be traced back nearly 1,000 years, and their design incorporates the tradition of fengshui (favorable siting within the environment). (Photo: china.org.cn)
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Old January 10th, 2012, 06:15 PM   #31
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Love Hakka Tulou. US military though Tulou is PLA nuclear launch site at the first they saw Tulou. Haha....
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Old March 15th, 2013, 07:16 PM   #32
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By 好摄友 from a Chinese photography forum :

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Old March 15th, 2013, 11:52 PM   #33
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these buildings are amazing
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Old March 16th, 2013, 04:51 PM   #34
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image hosted on flickr

O & 口 by kymak, on Flickr

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OOO by kymak, on Flickr
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Old April 10th, 2013, 04:48 AM   #35
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By lawc from dcfever :

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Old April 25th, 2013, 05:48 PM   #36
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Old July 7th, 2013, 06:21 AM   #37
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Old July 26th, 2013, 12:40 PM   #38
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Chaoyang Lou 朝陽樓 by A. Wee, on Flickr

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Interior of Zhencheng Lou 振成樓 by A. Wee, on Flickr

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Lanterns in Zhencheng Lou 振成樓 by A. Wee, on Flickr
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Old August 12th, 2013, 11:27 PM   #39
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Hong Kong is very interesting. I want to go there. This mysterious city for me.
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Old August 25th, 2013, 06:37 PM   #40
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tulou_sunset3_a_2k by oldbass007, on Flickr

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yuchanglou_bw by oldbass007, on Flickr

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tuloudongtian_bw by oldbass007, on Flickr
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