April 27, 2009

Architecture of the Dong Nationality

Dong Nationality, a minority nationality in southwest China, has a population of about 2.5 million who mainly inhabit Guizhou, Hunan and Guangxi provinces and autonomous region. The Dong people are not only good at singing and dancing, but also experts in knitting and building.

The drum towers are in the shape of a wood pagoda. Without a single nail or rivet, the towers could be three-to ten-storey high. The tower is spacious inside and has wood rails circling each floor. There is a calabash or crane on the top of the tower symbolizing auspiciousness and peace. The delicately wrought protruding eaves look as if to fly and leap. The square in front of, and the stage connected with the tower are the centre of celebration activities.

Wind and Rain Bridge, also called flower bridge, is another unique building of Dong people. As the weather in the region is changeable, Dong people build corridors on the bridges so passers-by could take shelter from the sun, wind and rain or take a rest. So the bridge is called wind and rain bridge. On the corridor and eaves of pavilions are carved with paintings featuring coloured and vivid figures, mountains and rivers, patterns and animal, displaying the Dong's national characteristics as well as their diligence and wisdom. Wind and rain bridges are the art treasures of Chinese wood architecture.

Stamp Issue: 1997-06-02

No comments: