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Special> Focus on Xinjiang> Related
UPDATED: July 8, 2009
Dwelling Style of the Uygur Ethnic Group

The Uygur ethnic group in Xinjiang has been involved in agriculture since early times. Hence, there are many villages in the areas inhabited by the Uygurs. They believe in Islam, so their houses are deeply influenced by that of Persia--Arab in style, featuring the flat square roof of mid-Asia with walls tamped with mud and a fairly deep front corridor with a fence. In the courtyard in which flowers, fruit trees and grapes grow, there is ample room for playing musical instruments, singing. resting and having meals. The Uygur people place tea sets in the courtyard or external corridor to entertain guest.

The house is in the forms of front room--back room, guest room--back room and external room--guest room. There is fireplace and area for storing articles. Both of them are decorated with exquisite gypsum flowers. The walls are built of brick with designs or a tapestry hung on, and the floor is covered with carpet or felt. In the middle of the room is a long o'' round table, and the furnishings are usually covered in decorative cloth.

Turpan Basin is basically free of rain throughout the year. Uygurs living there build one-storey or two-storey adobes with a semi-basement and flat roof. Bungalow and storied buildings surround the courtyard. Adobe walls with designs, arches of various shapes, platforms and grape trellis give the space variety. Rooms in the house are connected with walkways formed by grape trellises or sunscreens. The courtyard also has a canal, is well ventilated and serves as central living place for the people. The interior of room is sparsely decorated, with only designs indented in the wood moulding on the walls.

In the cold and rainy Yining Area the houses of the Uygur ethnic group are brick-earth-wood structures with sloping roofs. A green fence (or grape trellis and so on) separates the house and fruit garden anil a grape trellis connects the external corridor of the house, forming a cool out-door living area. There is always something hung on the porch rail. The wall and ceiling are cornflower blue and the wooden door and windows feature decorative wood carvings The interior of the rooms is carefully arranged and decorated with embroidery, tapestries and large curtains with various designs.

The Uygur houses in Kashi and Hetian are built by laying bricks, and no particular attention to is paid to direction. The interior of the house features tabernacle and gypsum designs. Due to belief in Islam, the decorations arc mostly green.

With regard to architectural designs, thunks to the texture of the fine white gypsum, it does not necessarily need to be painted, so Uygurs often use it to decorate the house. The gypsum decorations include coiled designs at the top of the wall and around the tabernacle, large pointed arched designs used on walls and round and polygonal designs used on ceilings. The designs are of peony, lotus flower, sunflower, chrysanthemum, clubs and roses, in which, the plant patterns and geometry combine naturally and orderly in spacing.

In addition, such techniques as coloured painting, wood carving and brick designs arc also adopted in Uygur architectural Jecorations. The ceilings and girders are outstandingly decorated with coloured paintings featuring light and subdued colors. The designs of wood carvings mostly draw from the flowers of peach, apricot, grape, guava and lotus, and are mainly used for decorating columns, girders, squared timbers, windows and doors. The woodcarving decorations usually use the original color of the subject or are colorfully painted, including line carving, bass-relief and fretwork with respect to technique. The designs formed by putting bricks together are geometric shapes, demanding a high level of skill in the construction. They are mainly used for decorating walls, base, mound and stairs built by laying bricks.

(Architecture of Chinese Ethnic Minority Groups by Wang Xiaoli, China Intercontinental Press, 2007)

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