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Yunnan folk house (1) Wa people: Living environment affects architecture style

Updated:2018-06-27 20:16:05   english.yunnan.cn

The rich mixture of architecture styles in SW China’s Yunnan Province showcase the harmonious coexistence between people from different ethnic groups and nature, recounting the long-standing social form and lifestyle of people in the province. In this series, we’ll tell you the stories of some characteristic traditional folk dwellings in Yunnan. And today, we come to the Wa people’s folk houses in Wending village.

Wengding Village, about 40km to the northwest of the government seat of southwest Yunnan’s Cangyuan County, is by far the best-preserved Wa tribe. It boasts a large number of traditional Wa architectures, including the pile dwellings, totem poles, sacrificial hall, and drum room.  And its traditional customs and culture have survived through the centuries.

The traditional houses of the Wengding villagers are of two types, one is “pile-styled house”, and the other is “floor stand house with four walls”. Local materials, including wood, bamboo, straw and wild vines are used in building the houses. The bottom of the pile houses is supported by wooden pillars. People use the ground floor to raise livestock and pile up sundries, and the upper floor is where they live.

Wa’s unique hearth culture and sacrificial culture deeply influence its architecture styles. The buildings are equipped with a sacrificial altar instead of walls and partitions, and people’s indoor life centers around the hearth. Unexpectedly, the windows here are generally so small that it may cause ventilation problems. An important reason may be that medical conditions were poor in the past, and people needed to keep the smoke in the room to dispel mosquitoes and prevent malaria.

(By Liu Xinwei from Daguan Weekly   Photographs by Zhao Jiaqi)

Keywords:   Wa architecture style