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Stone Sheet House: the Silver Buyei Town in the Mountains

Jun 19, 2009

[Image Sources] 1 & 2: xncsy.cn | 3. gongw_79 | 4. gz-tour.com
In my previous architecture post, I showed the Qiang Village in western Sichuan province. Today I am going to show you another type of stone architecture in the mountains of southwestern China.

Buyei Stone Houses

Buyei is the second largest (Miao is the 1st) major minority ethnic group in Guizhou province, They have a wide distribution in Guizhou province as well as some area of Yunnan and Guangxi. They are mostly concentrated at southern Guizhou. In this area, you can enjoy a very original taste of Buyei experience.

If we consider the Qiang village a defensive castle, the Buyei village is relatively less aggregated. In the mountains of southern Guizhou, it produces very good Shale stone material, a type of sedimentary rock. Buyei people take advantage of this and build stone sheet houses with a very unique style.

  • Primitive design: people and livestock share one entrance
  • Better design: people are separated from livestock

These stone sheet houses use stone bricks to build the wall. It can be 5-6 meters high. Then the roof is covered by shale stone sheet. In short, with the exception of wooden purlin, rafter, all the others are made of stone, including the household stuff such as tables, stools, stoves, etc.

These houses keep wind, rain and snow outside. They are cool in summer and warm in winter. Moisture proof and fire proof. The only catch is that lighting is poor.

Silver Town of Zhen-ning

From the images above, you can find that these stone houses have a very artistic patten on their stone sheet covered roof.

Zhen-ning is the municipal township of a Buyei and Miao autonomous county. More than 600 years old, most buildings in this town is built with stone. Dozens of them have three to four floors. The color of stone is light gray, and even more bright after polishing, so the town looks like a shining silver town in the daytime and snowy in the moonlight. For this reason, Zhen-ning is also called Silver Zhen-ning.

[Chinese Keywords]
民居 石板房

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