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Life in the Middle Kingdom

Hakka Houses, Longgang

November 7, 2004

In the "outer area" of Shenzhen, north and east of the center, lies the district of Longgang.  Here are found many dwellings of the Hakka people--up to 100, according to the book Hakka Enclosed Houses.

The book describes the architecture of the houses in the Preface:

The building origin of the Hakka dwellings in Longgang can be traced back to the category of the Meixian style. But they are different because in the process of the endless and complicated migration, the style of the Hakka dwellings continued to develop. The present Hakka dwellings in Longgang are called the Hakka Enclosed Houses with many characteristics such as in building structure, the buildings are squarely enclosed with a moon pool and a threshing floor at their front, and with a small hill or flower terrace at their back. There are watchtowers at their buildings' four corners. Set up on all tops of the walls are patrol courses with portholes. In their inner style, they are distributed symmetrically with "Three central house and two horizontal house" as their core. Each house is selectively independent and well concealed. In building form, the houses have generally one story, and occasionally two stories on the principal house or central house. Sometimes half a story of a tower building is added on the principal room of the middle house. There is always a small yard or lane between the horizontal houses or between the horizontal house and central house. The lane is the traffic network inside the enclosed house. Painted under the eaves or on the beams are colored drawings and frescos. The figures, flowers and birds in these are vivid and lifelike, the skill expressed in some carvings is superb and excelling in natural vividness. The couplets on some arches, the room couplets and the room names hanging on the principal room betray with their rich cultural connotation the historical pulse of the southward immersion of the ancient Zhongyuan culture.  (page 3)

I have created several pages of information on the Hakka.  They are:

We are hoping to visit Meizhou with one of our students, who is herself Hakka.  Some of the houses there are said to be built in the more traditional round style, as none of those in Longgang are.  Always more to come!


Further reading:

A series of articles beginning here, including articles on:

Here is also a page about Hakka language, with an associated article about Hakka history.

 

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