Allegorical Architecture: Living Myth and Architectonics in by Xing Ruan

By Xing Ruan

Deals an architectural research of outfitted varieties and construction kinds of the minority teams in southern China and of the Dong nationality particularly.

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They were called Liao after the Wei Jin dynasty (220–420). indd 20 Allegorical Architecture 10/2/06 1:27:27 PM the pile-built houses, bronze drums, chicken divination, and young married women not living at their husbands’ homes. 4 In the local dialect the Dong name is pronounced “Qian,” Guizhou’s ancient name; they even have the same meaning (a place enclosed by tree branches). 4 The Dong have been living in the cross-border area of Hunan, Guizhou, and Guangxi for thousands of years. Their language, social structure, and customs are very stable, and there are no historical records of migrations caused by wars or natural ­disasters.

In the kuanx alliance, once a zhai or a village in the same kuanx received a piece of plank on which was tied a chicken feather, a piece of charcoal, and a chili, it was obliged to dispatch troops to join the battle and fire iron cannons to inform neighboring zhai. According to kuanx regulations, a zhai ought to be punished if it failed to respond. Every three to five years, the Dong would have a kuanx assembly. All adult men were required to attend the meeting, where the kuanx regu­lations were revised, explained, and publicized, particularly for young members.

Small bridges are known as flower bridges in the southern Dong region. 11) or simply built on the ground without spanning a river. Although Dong bridges sometimes serve as temples, generally they house worldly activities. These bridges are frequently the scenes of social gatherings on hot or rainy days as well as locations for chance, romantic meetings under the moonlight. Dong bridges are found both outside and inside the villages. A zhai, or a village, may have several bridges. 12). The position of bridges within the overall settlement pattern has to be carefully chosen, however, for the bridges are believed to have fengshui powers that can protect the village’s wealth from being dissipated through rivers.

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