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Folk House of the Bai Ethnics

Folk House of the Bai Ethnics

Write: Shakira [2011-06-14]

The folk house of the Bai ethnics is the folk architecture of the Bai people. It is often seen in the areas where the Bai ethnics are living, such as Dali, Eryuan, Jianchuan, and Heqing in Yunnan Province.

The folk house of the Bai ethnics is mainly a two-storey building, with its plane layout usually being "Three Rooms and One Screen Wall", namely, one master room and two annexes on both sides. The master room is facing east and dead against a screen wall, both forming an enclosed courtyard.

Top priority is usually given to the carving of gate tower, screen wall, doors and windows as well as colored drawing on the main wall when building a traditional house of the Bai ethnics. The quintessence of a house lies in its gate tower, the foundation of which is usually built of bluestones. Erected on the foundation is a wooden gate tower with upswept eaves, which is elaborately decorated by exquisite clay, wood and stone carvings as well as colored-drawing blue bricks, etc. Some gate towers are extremely firm even without using a single nail, which demonstrates the prominent building techniques. Serving as an integral part of the folk house of the Bai ethnics is the screen wall, the upper edge of which is fitted with upswept eaves built of blue tiles or colored glaze tiles, and the middle part of which is embedded with marble screen or written with auspicious expressions, with the surroundings being colored drawing patterns of various types. The doors and windows are usually carved with a variety of auspicious patterns regarding myths by using exquisite carving and empaistic methods. The main wall is featured by white upper part and grey lower part, with cornice on the wall being decorated with bright-colored cummerbunds. Moreover, the frontispieces and room corners are aesthetically drawn with exquisite water ink patterns including flowers, birds and landscapes.

A unique building style with minority features has been mastered by generations of artisans of the Bai ethnics who have absorbed abundant building art of the Central Plains over tens of hundreds of years. Nowadays, reflection-inducing cultural features of the Bai ethnics can still be perceived in the folk house.