Ethnic Architecture

Since the very emergence of humanity, the dwelling culture has been a significant symbol in the development of human civilization. With the advent of modernization,, the traditional culture and natural look of the originally isolated areas are undergoing tremendous changes or rapid extinction that calls for pressing actions to preserve and study the ethnic historical culture. To rescue the architectural culture of the ethnic nationalities in China is in the meantime to rescue the cultural legacy of the whole humanity.

Here we are duplicating and restoring the architecture of ethnic nationalities in China as a significant part of China Nationalities Anthropological Museum. May of the restored buildings are still the places where ethnic people are residing and working in today. When we review the buildings from different area of the country, we will realize the fact that different social formation, geographic condition and religion make the ethnic building different.

Some ethnic nationalities like Dulong, Nu, Va, Li and Jino, still lived in primitive societies until the mid of 20th century. Since the people in these ethnic groups labored together and ate together. They built large common house. Similarly, the dwelling architecture of Yi nationality used to built the rooms for rigidly stratified social system, in which slaves could live only in small dark rooms, and spacious houses and tall castles are meant for their masters.

Different religious beliefs may produce different architectural forms in different nationalities of the same geographic area. For instance, the Tibetans in Gansu Province who believe in Lamaism have a sutra recital room in every household. The Muslims believing in Islam in the same area have mosques for public praying. Their dwelling places are just for people to live in.

Ecological environment serves as yet another basis for choosing the architectural forms. As the consequence, rich and colorful ethnic architectural culture was created: wood-structured “the building partially on stilts”, “wood-log house”; stone-structured “slab-stone house” and “castle”; bamboo-structured “house on stilts”; thatched-wooden structured cave and Turpan dwelling and etc. The ethnic building structure reflects the local environment, ecology and their relationship with inhabitants. Bamboo houses are primarily for heat radiation and ventilation, while stone houses have thermal insulation function.

In the process of restoring the ethnic architecture, efforts have been made to use local artisans for the building work as well as the building materials used for the architecture. China Ethnic Museum are designed with participation of respective ethnic architects, and their construction is performed by the ethnic artisans of respective origin. Some of the building materials having very unique ethnic features are transported from specific localities to Beijing. For instance, the Banma grass from Tibet, stone slabs for Bouyei architecture, China fir for Miao architecture and wooden tiles for Yi architecture. The restoration of the architecture has been carried out with the materials and art from the original places, so it is the true and authentic replica.

In order the better express the impact of the geographic environment of different areas on ethnic history and culture, different living environmental spaces are designed built respectively. Each branch museum are planned in form of village. It may have a courtyard a street, a hill terrace and etc. Trees, flora and crops are planted according to local climate. The natural and harmonic environment has been created to make the visitors of the museum explore the living of different social life and cultures of Chinese ethnic groups.

Click the hyperlinks bellow for more information on our featured ethnic buildings.