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A Selection of Photos: Impressions on the Old Houses of Baoshi Village in Tongshan County
http://English.xianning.gov.cn 09-03-19
 

  The deep and serene courtyard

  The old man accompanies the old house in peace

  Gray bricks and Chinese-style tiles connect to the sky in the distance

  The old mansion with new festive sheets

  New hope of the old house

  White bare hand strokes the vicissitudes carved on the old wall

  Spring in March is a time of flowers. It takes only half an hour to drive from Tongshan County town to Baoshi Village.

  When we drove into Baoshi Village, Baoshi River which originates from Jiugong Mountain came into our sight, flowing across the village. More than one hundred old houses, standing on the north and south banks of the river, brought us to the remote times which had passed. Looking ahead on the stone bridge located at the edge of the village, we could see peach flowers which were as pink as the rosy clouds, plum flowers which were as pure white as snow, and rape flowers in succession all over the mountains and plains. Houses of gray bricks and Chinese-style tiles were dotted among the flowers. All those formed a picturesque and beautiful landscape.

  Walking on an alley paved with whole-colored cobblestones was like wandering in an ancient picture scroll of the village. White walls and black tiles, cornices and brackets could be seen everywhere. Wandering in the streets to savor the lasting charm and the influence of the ancient totem, we appreciate the wind worn on lintel of the door which was faintly discernible. The vicissitudes of the days could always make people feel a hint of melancholy.  

  It is lonesome in the village, but the villagers were pure and honest. They lived in harmony with each other in a compact community of a batch of ancient houses whose yards were connected and all the houses formed a unified whole. Beside the pillar of an ancestral hall, an eighty-year-old man Jiang Jintao was busy picking cauliflower. Although she was gray-haired, she was surefooted and could walk swiftly with baskets of cauliflowers.

  Standing in the courtyard of the central room, Jiang Jintao’s eyes were full of reminiscence. She said, “Children and grandchildren have got married and began their own careers, they also have bought new houses, but I’m still willing to stay here.”  

  Shu Jinpeng who is in his sixties is now living in Shu Courtyard which faces south and covers an area of 418 square meters. The first yard is the hallway, the second yard is the coupon hall, the third yard is an open-air courtyard with two wing-rooms standing at two sides opposing to each other, the forth yard is the ancestral hall and two patios are built at the front and back of the house respectively. The construction of the building can be dated back to the early Qing Dynasty. It has woodcarving flowers and exquisite craft. The old man said, “Since the Shu families settled in Baoshi Village and start their business in the early years of Hongwu of the Ming Dynasty they have bred rapidly and reached 997 families in its fullest bloom in the late Ming Dynasty.” This place used to be the residence of some imperial court officials, including Shu Hongxu whose name was gloriously written in the national history and Shu Daohong who was distinguished in his times. In this ancient village, these old houses are simple and unadorned but they have many glories to be talked about.

  Tourists can be seen in the village every now and then, and laughers and shutter sounds of cameras from the patio and alleys often break the tranquility of the village. The dancing blouses and swinging dresses are sparkling among the gray bricks and Chinese-style tiles, and the carved beams and painted rafters.

  We are told that Tongshan County Government has introduced trial measures to protect ancient dwellings in order to enhance the conservation of ancient residential house resources.

  Today the exploitation and protection of ancient village has formed consensus, the hundred-year-old houses which have experienced a long history are attracting more and more people’s interest and attention.

  Reporter’s notes:

  Old Houses

  Built in the early years of Hongwu of the Ming Dynasty, Baoshi Village in Tongshan County had nearly 1000 families in its heyday, most of which were noble families. Quantities of residences of the imperial court officials and celebrities have showed the glory of the ancient village. Nowadays, Baoshi Village wasjust like an old man who has had one foot in the grave. The older it grows, the more misfortune it will suffer and the quicker it may disappear. Most of the famous residences and ancestral halls have been damaged.  

  Those old houses in the ancient village have been going through the vicissitudes of the world, and have been witnessing the changes of the society and the prosperity and decline, honor or disgrace of the families. Just around the old houses, modern architectures of steel and concrete are springing up like mushrooms. They have blocked the wind and covered the moon of the old houses. Those architectures whose layout likes walls are intertwining the old houses like fence columns, “dying out” and “newly born” is performing in such a close distance.

  The ancient architectural art which carries the local culture and civilization is extensive and profound and make people grasp with admiration. The villagers of Baoshi Village have been establishing their businesses diligently from generation to generation and guarding this land without any regret.

  History can never wipe away the halo of Baoshi Village. We cheer for the prosperity created by the ancestors of Baoshi Village while the decline and damage existed in the reality make us feel sentimental and sigh for this thousand-year-old village.

  

  Related links:

  Tongshan County, located in the border of Hubei and Jiangxi Provinces, possesses a multitude of folk architectures which have historical, scientific and artistic values. Those architectures are mainly built in the Qing Dynasty with some Ming Dynasty’s architectures scattering in sporadically. They can reflect the architectural style of the two Dynasties. Having rich cultural connotation, they are important carriers and material data of studying and propagating folk culture. Today there exist more than thirty Ming or Qing Dynasties’ dwellings which have research, ornamental, protection and development values. The Chou’s Mansion, Baoshi Village and the Tan’s Ancestral Hall have been declared as provincial key cultural relic protection units and the official mansion of Wang Mingfan is expected to be included in the national key protection objects.

   

  


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