Situated in southern Anhui Province, Huangshan Mountain has been honored as a world cultural heritage. At the foot of picturesque Huangshan Mountain, there are some characteristic local villages and towns. Clusters of grey-tiled and white-walled houses can be found here, forming the most typical scene captured in traditional Chinese landscape paintings. That is the famous Hui-style architecture.
Hui is short for Huizhou. Huizhou is a historical region in southeastern China which now consists of southernmost part of Anhui province (Huangshan City and Jixi County) and Wuyuan County in northeastern Jiangxi province. In ancient times local people created the traditional Hui culture. With the exquisite homes, ancestral halls and memorial archways as its most impressive embodiments, Hui-style architecture is one of the major Chinese architectural styles of ancient times. Therefore, Hui-style architecture is considered the essence of the Hui culture.
The technical features Hui-style architecture is mostly put to use in the construction of houses, ancestral temples, joss houses, archways, and gardens. Hui-style houses are typically ones with skylights. With a quadrate skylight surrounded by houses from four sides or from left, right and backside, these Hui-style houses can reduce the beat of sunshine and enjoy ventilation.
Hui-style architecture mainly reflects the mountainous features, geomantic omen, and the beautiful terrain there. The whole show of Hui-style architecture, built with black tiles and white walls, surrounded by high walls shaped like horse heads (for fireproofing), and harmonized with refined and elegant colors, brings us a strong sense of beauty. These houses are on decorated with artworks made of brick, wood, and stone.
Where to see
Xidi Village and Hongcun Village in Yixian County has been recognized as the best place to appreciate authentic Hui-style architectures. These two villages were collectively listed as a World Cultural Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1999. The centuries-old Hui-style architectures have made here a microcosm of traditional Chinese culture and an open-air museum of Ming- and Qing-style residences.