Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Western Sichuan 4 Danba: Tibetan vernacular architecture of the Gyarong Area

All photos Jiaju, July 2007 ©Ingrid Booz Morejohn

This is a continuation of several postings about Western Sichuan and the Danba area.

The houses of the Jiaju area are particularly interesting and beautiful with coloured stripes that remind me of Sakya in Southern Tibet. But whereas Sakya has slate grey, painted walls the houses of Danba are striped and the towers have horns capped with prayer flags. The colouring has special meaning: symbolizing the sky, moon, sun, earth and stars and it is believed to bring luck and protection to the house and its dwellers. Doors can also be elaborate affairs, brightly painted with religious iconography and sometimes topped with a yak skull and garuda bird like the picture above. Most houses are quite massive, built of wood and stone with several stories and flat roofs used to dry corn, chilis and grain, and for the family to soak up sun in the daytime. Individual logs serve as ladders with small steps cut out in a single row up the tree trunk. Windows are multi-paned and made of latticed wood, painted in distinct Tibetan fashion with a black trapezoid border around. The interior of the dininghall/meetinghall where we ate our meals was extremely elaborate with numerous built-in painted cabinets and niches, small low-standing tables and belt-in benches and beds around the edges. Every surface was painted in a kaleidescope of brilliant colours, making every meal a bit of a psychedelic affair!

No comments:

Post a Comment