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Hakka Houses, Longgang:

Dawan Dwelling

November 7, 2004

After our visit to Hehu New Dwelling, we wanted to see an inhabited Hakka house.  We went to Dawan Dwelling, in nearby Pingshan, described thus in Hakka Enclosed Houses:

Located at Dawan village in Pingshan Town and built in 1791, Dawan Dwelling is the ancestral house of the Zengs in Pingshan.  It faces west and occupies an area of 15,000 square meters.  The houses are set out in neat order and the courtyard is strewn at random.  A winding path connects one house with another house.  The exterior wall is high and thick with a strong function for defense.

As one of our Chinese friends (known only to me as "Miss Goldfish," though some say it should be Goodfish) discovered, the people we were seeing were not Hakka at all.  The Hakka had moved out of the frankly derelict village into modern digs nearby; the people living there were non-Hakka Han squatters.  Still, despite the poverty, lack of amenities, and manifestly poor hygiene of the place, I had a chance to play with some kids, their parents laughing and egging them on.  The people were generally friendly, showing the smiles universally traded in the absence of a common language.

Outside the village we encountered a few "genuine Hakka," mostly well on in years.  The old ladies seated in the pictures below were lively talkers, though I couldn't understand a word.  They were truly charming in their enthusiasm!

Update: The Shenzhen Daily (September 30, 2005) published an article with pictures about the plan to create a museum and "theme park" in Dawan village.

Float your cursor over these pictures for a description; click on them to see larger versions.

The Main Gate The Main Gate (interior)
The Main Gate

 Zeng Ancestral Altar Eight Immortals (Zeng Ancestral Temple detail) Fresco (Zeng Ancestral Temple detail)
Zeng Ancestral Temple

Kitchen garden in a corner of the "random" courtyard; note rubbish "strewn" Not-so-winding path
Courtyard and street

Kids at play; where'd they get those clothes? Kids running away from the pursuing foreigner One stood still long enough for a picture!

Old Hakka Woman and a baby--don't know if they're related Two lively Hakka ladies An evening gathering of Hakka old folks
Hakka Old Folks

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