Home   >   CULTURE >   Content

Yunnan folk house (3) Yi people: Wood carving patterns “tell” myths and legends

Updated:2018-07-01 17:28:27   Daguan Weekly

Yi people’s houses belong to a typical architecture style which is named “Yikeyin”(Seal-like Compound) and often seen in Kunming, Chuxiong and Yuxi of Yunnan province. 

In a traditional Yi house, the central room on the first floor of the principal building is the living room which has a high ceiling. The patio is quite small surrounded by eaves of the living room, bedrooms and gate. The buildings on all four sides of the courtyard are connected so that residents can walk around without getting wet when it rains. Such building configuration exposes the rooms to less direct sunlight, which suits the local warm climate.

Yi architectures are usually in three colors——red, yellow and black. For Yi people, black stands for solemn and majesty, red indicates passion and bravery, and yellow symbolizes hope and future.

Yi people also carve patterns on the wood in their architectures. In addition to mountains and rivers, animals and plants, Yi architectural patterns include the sun, moon and stars, showing their myths and legends. Since Yi people worship fire and tiger, these patterns are also common in their architectures.

(Text and pics by Zhao Jiaqi from Daguan Weekly)