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Visiting Hua'an Dadi Tulou Cluster, a wonder of earth architecture

Fujian Tulou is the most extraordinary type of Chinese rural dwellings of the Hakka and others in the mountainous areas in southwestern Fujian. The earth buildings are regarded as exceptional examples of a building tradition and function exemplifying a particular type of communal living and defensive organization in a harmonious relationship with their environment.
 
A panoramic view of the Hua'an Dadi Tulou Cluster, Fujian.
 
   
Eryi Lou (L), Nanyang Lou (M) and Dongyang Lou (R).
 
There are a total of 46 tulou sites in Fujian. Dadi Tulou Cluster, one of the tulou clusters inscribed in 2008 by UNESCO as World Heritage Site, is an important component of Fujian tulous.
 
Situated in Dadi Village, Xiandu Town, Hua'an County of Fujian Province, 80 kilometers away from the seat of Zhangzhou Municipal Government, 147 kilometers away from Xiamen City, Dadi Tulou Cluster consists of two major historic sites under national protection: Eryi Lou and Nanyang Lou, and one major historic site under Hua'an county’s protection: Dongyang Lou, which are large-scale residences built by the Family of Jiang’s during the reign of "Flourishing Ages of Emperor Kangxi and Qianlong in the Qing Dynasty", and it has become a great wonder in Chinese rammed earth architecture.
 
The Tulou Cluster is encircled by Mt. Centipede, Mt. Dajinmian, Mt. Tiger, Mt. Tortoise and Mt. Lion. The selection of site shows astonishing geometric graphics. The layout of the cluster is the unique feature, its defensive system is of unique creativity, and the structure differs from others, the ornaments inside are exquisite and magnificent.
 
Furthermore, the pleasant living environment of green mountains and clean water, rich humane attractions make the overall layout of the Dadi Tulou Cluster follows through the Chinese philosophy of human as the most fundamental, and the unity of human and nature.
 
With the main building Eryi Lou, which is dubbed the King of Round Tulou and the Treasure of Civilian Residence, Dadi Tulou Cluster keeps the rammed earth architectural technique of Shang Dynasty more than three thousand years ago. It is not only a mythical architectural pattern unique in the world, but also a presentation of visible, touchable and sensible traditional Chinese culture.
 
More information about Eryi Lou, Nanyang Lou and Dongyang Lou:
 
Eryi Lou, Nanyang Lou and Dongyang Lou, which are among the largest, are an important part of the bid for Fujian's tulous to be designated as a World Cultural Heritage site.
 
The 200-year-old Eryi Lou comprises more than 400,000 tiles. It differs from other earthen houses in that it is a combination of Chinese and Western architectural styles.
 
In an eclectic display, Eryi Lou boasts 952 murals; the ceilings of its rooms are pasted with pages of the New York Times, circa 1931, and semi-nude images of Indian goddesses and painted clocks with Roman numerals can also be found on the lintels of doors, testifying to the cosmopolitanism of the original house owner, who was a returned overseas Chinese.
 
Jiang Shixiong, one of the founders of Eryi Lou, has 4,000 descendants at home and abroad. In this earthen house, more than 200 inhabitants in more than 30 households are his descendants. The youngest are his 26th-generation descendants.
 
SOURCE: Compiled by WOX Travel with reference to VISITGD