Site Search :
·Fifth Ministerial Conference of Forum on China-Africa Cooperation Held in Beijing
·Drug Fight Confronted with More Challenges
·Senior CPC Leader Returns to Beijing after Four-country Visit
·Calligraphy, Then and Now
·Lotus Painter Cai Qibao
·The Olympic Ideal
·Riverside Romance in Central Anhui
·Into the Wild – Hiking through Qizang Valley
·Folklore Flying High in Weifang
·China’s Soft Power: Room for Improvement
·Browse, Click, Buy - Domestic Consumers Head Overseas with Online Shopping
·A Private Company’s Road to Internationalization
·Zhang Jiao, Ardent Advocate of Afforestation and Green Farming
·First Single Children Come of Age
·E-Government: Open, Approachable Government Websites
Around Chinamore
·Scientists Uncover Causes of Mass Extinction in the Ashes
·Kaili -- Scenery, Music and Southern Charm
·Ningxia: Putting Money Down on Culture

    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.

    Jiang Huolu, a resident of Eryi Lou, fought in the Korean War when he was young. Later, he met an American soldier whom he once fought, and the story was published in a local newspaper. In the photograph accompanying the article, the two old men embrace closely, once enemies and now friends. Jiang Huolu is 86 years old, the oldest resident of the house. Except for the decade he served in the army, he has spent the rest of his life in the building.

    Jiang Huolu has four sons, six daughters and more than 10 grandchildren. He has 16 rooms from the first floor to the fourth. All of his children and grandchildren have moved out, leaving Jiang Huolu alone in the house with his wife. He says he could not have chosen a more comfortable place than his earthen home.

    At 8:00 a.m. sharp, Jiang Huolu opens his vender's stall, selling tea, mushrooms and souvenirs. His main commodity is tea. Business is not always brisk, but then again he does not ask too much from life. When there are no customers, he likes to wander, or just sit alone and think. He is happy with life, and glad to be able to visit neighbors and drink Oolong tea he brewed himself.

Once Fujian's Tulou Become Famous

    Since Fujian's tulous were designated a World Cultural Heritage site, Eryi Lou has received hundreds of visitors a day. Suddenly the quiet earthen compounds have come alive with activity, hosting a growing number of foreign guests. Recently, a five-member television crew from Germany came to shoot a documentary. After the filming, Jiang Huolu, his son and a farmer photographer followed the German team to Shanghai, acting as Hakkas in the television program.

    It was the first time Jiang Huolu had visited a big city, and he confessed to enjoying the new sights. But he had to admit that he missed his home. Staying in a deluxe guestroom in a Shanghai hotel, Jiang did not find it more comfortable than his home. Although he had planned to stay in Shanghai for 20 days, he went home after only eight.

    In 1912, Lin Rigeng's grandfather and his brother built Zhencheng Lou at a cost of 80,000 silver dollars. Construction took five years. Located in a dense forest in Hongkeng Village, Yongding County, it occupies 5,000 square meters and has more than 200 rooms. Twenty-three years ago, the models of this building and that of the Temple of Heaven in Beijing were displayed at an international architectural model exhibition in Los Angeles, causing a sensation.

    In the early 1980s, Lin Rigeng found that some of the backpackers coming to visit his tulou were scholars and specialists. He listened carefully to what they said, and gradually became the first tour guide of Fujian's tulou. Over the next 20 years, he received countless tourists from more than 20 countries and regions. The busiest season is Spring Festival, when all the rooms in the earthen house are occupied by tourists from Europe, the United States and Japan. They spend the eve of Spring Festival together with Lin Rigeng and his family, drinking Hakka wine and enjoying Hakka dishes.

    After successfully applying for World Cultural Heritage status, the relevant departments in Fujian Province stipulated that any production facilities – such as construction, power, telecommunications, water conservancy, planting and animal husbandry – should not threaten the safety of the earthen houses. Dr. Luo Deyin, an expert of rural architecture from Tsinghua University, has recommended that the number of visitors to Fujian's tulou should be limited, in order to protect the region's invaluable legacy.


   previous page   1   2   3  

VOL.59 NO.12 December 2010 Advertise on Site Contact Us