Your cart is empty

Shop

Quantity: 0

Total: 0,00

0

Chinese house

Chinese house

A traditional Chinese siheyuan is a building complex that surrounds a rectangular courtyard.

Visual Arts

Keywords

siheyuan, Chinese, China, feng shui, yard, gate, Main building, dwelling, imperial period, Building complex, modern history, Middle Ages, history of lifestyles, architecture, house, tradition, rectangle, lifestyle, culture, floor plan, history, settlement, history of art

Related items

Questions

  • In which country was the siheyuan a typical type of residence?
  • Which continent is China located in?
  • Which river is China's major waterway?
  • What is the capital of China?
  • What shape is characteristic of the floor plan of a siheyuan?
  • What direction is the main axis of a siheyuan?
  • What direction does the main building of a siheyuan face?
  • On which side of the building complex was the entrance gate situated?
  • On what did the number of inner courtyards of a siheyuan usually depend?
  • Whose residence did the main house serve as?
  • For what type of buildings was the siheyuan composition NOT used?
  • What function did the main building in a siheyuan not play?
  • In which part of a siheyuan was the family shrine situated?
  • Where was the 'spirit wall' situated?
  • Which of the following is the main building of a Siheyuan?
  • In which side of the inner courtyard was the main building situated?
  • What was the role of the 'spirit wall'?
  • Which of the following was not found in a siheyuan?
  • True or false? The inner gate was usually more ornate than the entrance gate.
  • The most important buildings in a siheyuan faced north.

Scenes

Siheyuan

The siheyuan composition was the most common pattern for residential buildings in China, mainly in the north of the country. From the Middle Ages to the end of the Imperial era, it was especially popular with wealthy families, both in cities and in the countryside.

Its characteristic, rectangular floor plan and its structural elements all had important symbolic meaning. For example, the size of the main gate and the number of courtyards reflected the family's wealth.

The siheyuan composition was used not only for residential buildings but also for palaces, temples, monasteries and government offices.

Structure

  • inner wall - Zoulang, corridor
  • opposite house - Daozuofang, 'reverse-facing rooms', the residence of servants
  • outer courtyard - Walyuan, also called the first courtyard
  • inner gate - Ermen, Chuihuamen, also called the 'flower-hung gate'
  • entrance gate - Damen; its dimensions reflected the wealth of the family.
  • 'Spirit screen' - Yingbi, also called the 'Shadow wall'
  • East wing - Dongxiangfang, the residence of married sons
  • inner courtyard - Neiyuan, also called the second courtyard
  • side house - Erfang, it was used as children's rooms and storage rooms
  • outer wall
  • 'Rear building' - Houzhaofang, also called the north pavilion
  • main building - Zhengfang, the residence of the head of the family
  • rear courtyard - Disanjinyuan, also called the third courtyard
  • West wing - Xixiangfang, residence of unmarried daughters

The siheyuan was characterised by a rectangular floor plan, with buildings positioned along the sides and one or more enclosed courtyards in the centre. The orientation of the buildings also had an important meaning. The buildings were positioned along the north-south and east-west axes, with the main house being in the north wing, facing south.

The entrance gate of the siheyuan was usually on the southern side. Right inside the gate, there was a screen wall, which had a double role. It served to protect the family’s privacy, and it also protected the house and its dwellers from evil spirits – hence the name ’spirit screen’.

The second gate separated the outer and inner courtyards. It was oriented according to the principles of feng shui and was decorated with colourful floral carvings.

The structure of the inner courtyard was based on ancient Chinese beliefs and philosophical principles. The five elements making up the Universe appeared in symbolic form and the eight symbols of divination were also displayed.

Main building

Interior

The main house was where the eldest member, the head of the family, lived. Other members of the family lived in the smaller side wings, while servants lived in the southern wing, near the main gate.

The main house was located in the north side of the complex and faced south. It used to serve as a living room, bedroom and reception room as well. It also housed the family shrine.

Walk

Narration

The siheyuan composition was the most common pattern for residential buildings in China, mainly in the north of the country. From the Middle Ages to the end of the Imperial era, it was especially popular with wealthy families, both in cities and in the countryside. The siheyuan was characterised by a rectangular floor plan, with buildings positioned along the sides and one or more enclosed courtyards in the centre. The orientation of the buildings also had an important meaning.

The main house was where the eldest member, the head of the family, lived. Other members of the family lived in the smaller side wings, while servants lived in the southern wing, near the main gate. The main house was located in the north side of the complex and faced south. It used to serve as a living room, bedroom and reception room as well. It also housed the family shrine.

The entrance gate of the siheyuan was usually on the southern side. Right inside the gate, there was a screen wall, which had a double role. It served to protect the family’s privacy, and it also protected the house and its dwellers from evil spirits – hence the name ’spirit screen’.

The second gate separated the outer and inner courtyards. It was oriented according to the principles of feng shui and was decorated with colourful floral carvings.

Related items

Liuhe Pagoda (Hangzhou, 12th century)

The Buddhist pagoda of the six Harmonies is located in China, by the River Qiantang.

The Forbidden City (Beijing, 17th century)

The Forbidden City is one of the most magnificent and mysterious monuments of imperial China.

Great Wall of China

A series of fortifications built to prevent incursions from northern nomadic groups.

Medieval Chinese Emperor

The Emperor of the vast Far-Eastern empire was the lord of life and death.

Medieval Chinese soldier

The equipment of ancient Chinese soldiers was rudimentary.

Administrative divisions of China

A presentation of the major administrative units of China.

Relief map of China

An introduction to the relief and hydrography of China.

Junk

A sailing vessel with characteristic lugsails used for both military and trade purposes.

Traditional Japanese house (Machiya)

The animation shows the traditional Japanese wooden townhouse, the machiya.

Ancient Egyptian house

An average Egyptian dwelling consisted of regularly arranged rooms.

Ancient Greek house

The average house in Ancient Greece had a rectangular, geometrical floor plan and two storeys.

Ancient Roman domus

Wealthy citizens in ancient Rome owned large houses with varied layouts of several rooms.

Namdaemun (Seoul, South Korea, 14th c.)

Designated as the first National Treasure of South Korea, the Namdaemun was one of the major gateways of Seoul's Medieval city walls.

Typical dwelling types

Every era and every culture has specific residential buildings.

Added to your cart.