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16:31 Apr 09 2009

Special ReportNetizen's VoiceMedia Voice
English>>Tibet Online
Tibetan houses: one of the most beautiful scenes in Ganzi
15:27, April 09, 2009  

Here you can see rows upon rows of white Tibetan style buildings with eaves and window frames carved in complex and gorgeous patterns, golden paintings on roofs shining under the bright sun … in Daofu County, southwestern China's Sichuan Province, many Tibetan families are living in these traditional houses, forming a Tibetan "villa group."

The spacious and comfortable living environment even makes urban citizens jealous. Silang Zhaxi, a craftsman in Daofu County, said Tibetans pay close attention their houses and are willing to spend money building and decorating them.


The picture taken on March 24, 2009 shows a beautiful view of Jiaju Tibetan Village in Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture of Garze in southwest China's Sichuan Province. In Daofu County, southwestern China's Sichuan Province, many Tibetan families are living in these traditional houses, forming a Tibetan "villa group." (Xinhua/Ding Haitao)


"As long as they get money, people are willing to decorate their houses."

In Danba County, which is also administered by Ganzi Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture in western Sichuan, Tibetan castles are the most enchanting scene in the region. Built on the mountains, scores of white Tibetan castles are dotted in the woods in Jiaju Village -- the "most beautiful village in China."

However, 50 years ago, Ganzi had a totally different look: except for Kangding, a major county on the Ancient Tea Route, what most eye-catching were monasteries, residences of chieftains, offices of local governments; while houses for average people were dark and low. Moreover some people even lived in shacks and caves, let alone cities or counties in a modern sense.


Two Tibetan women work in their field in Jiaju Tibetan Village in Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture of Garze in southwest China's Sichuan Province, March 24, 2009. (Xinhua Photo)


Although houses in Daofu and Danba are representatives of wooden and stone structured Tibetan houses respectively, in the past, the feudal serfdom in Ganzi set back the development of productivity. Residences in those places are loaded with multi hard labor and usury from the local governments, monasteries and chieftains. It was difficult to just make a living.

When Chong'eng Tamu, a 73-year-old resident of Daofu, spoke of the living environment in her youth, the words she used most were "simple and dilapidated." Her family lived on seasonal labor, farm work and lived in a shed made of couch grass, firewood and mud.

According to Baosheng, resident of Jiaju Village, changes began to take place in 1959 when Ganzi launched the democratic reform. Thanks to the reform, villagers were given land, livestock and farm tools, and their production conditions also improved.

Since China initiated the reform and opening-up drive, its rapid economic development has uplifted people's living standard. From then on, the traditional culture of the Tibetan ethnic group, especially architectural culture, has been inherited and enhanced.


The picture taken on March 24, 2009 shows a beautiful view of Jiaju Tibetan Village in Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture of Garze in southwest China's Sichuan Province. (Xinhua Photo)


To encourage residents to receive tourists and increase their incomes, the Danba County Government has extended low-interest loans to its residents to help them renovate their Tibetan buildings, on condition: the traditional appearance of the houses should remain unchanged.

Nowadays, the houses of Baosheng and his neighbors are becoming better and better, with spacious and bright rooms, richer, more delicate carvings and decorations. Hearths made of cement and decorated with white ceramic tiles are easier to tidy up. Baosheng's house has been praised greatly by Chinese and foreign tourists from home and aboard.

In the 1980s, Chong'eng Tamu and her daughter opened a highland barley distillery, which made them better off. A decade ago, they already built a two-story elegant and decent Tibetan style house. Nowadays, the house would cost at least one million yuan.

With the improvement of people's livelihood, Tibetans have begun to pose a higher requirement for the quality of their houses. Silang Zhangxi said some of his clients were very careful about details and asked to have their houses decorated with golden powder.

"In the past, only monasteries could afford this. But this also shows that people are becoming prosperous."

In present-day Daofu County, Tibetan style "villa groups" and modern buildings co-exist. In the county seat, just around the corner of Tibetan houses, there are the bustling business streets. Hotels, shops, restaurants… modern buildings and plain and decent Tibetan houses are just hundreds of meters away.

There were no decent counties when Ganzi Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture was established in 1950. However, by 2007, the urbanization rate of the prefecture reached 18.26 percent. Cities are expanding and living conditions have greatly improved. The traditional Tibetan buildings are regarded as the one of the most beautiful scenes in each city or county.

Source:Xinhuanet




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