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Qiao Family Courtyard

 2014-03-31    Yan    Tours    Jinzhong    879  

The Qiao Family Courtyard is one of the major masterpieces of traditional civil architecture in North China. Built in the late 1700s by the influential Qiao family, it lies at Qiaojiapu Village, 54 km south of Taiyuan. It was the residential house of the well-know financier Qiao Zhiyong of Qing Dynasty, also called Zai Zhong Tang. It was a Chinese old residential courtyard which leaped over two centuries.



Its overall arrangement was well-knit and its architecture was exquisite, regular as well as changeable. First built in the period of Qianlong Emperor of Qing Dynasty, renovated and expanded later, this compound has been turned into a magnificent complex with the unique character of traditional architecture.

Here you can watch farming activities in every season, ceremonies of sacrifice and ancestral warship, wedding ceremonies and daily life. Through which you'll have a view of the folk customs of Shanxi during the period of late Qing Dynasty.Qiao Family Courtyard House is where Zhang Yimou shoot Red Lantern. It is 40km southwest of Taiyuan. Occupying 8724 square meters, this courtyard consists of 313 houses.Its overall arrangement is well knit with exquisite architecture that is uniform as well as diverse.



The owner of the residences was Qiao Zhiyong, a famouse merchant at the end of the Qing Dynasty(1616-1911).Red lanterns and a large gate are the marks of the complex. With Qiao Family’s successful business, they enjoyed a prestigious status in the Qing Dynasty (1644-1911) during the reign of Emperor Qianlong (1735-1796). One of the members of the Qiao family traveled around China and even to some foreign countries, which in turn made them famous throughout the nation.

Viewed from outside, the residency is serious and grand, with long yards. Entering into the gate of the courtyard, first, you can see an 80-meter-long straight stone pavement that divides 6 courtyards into a northern and southern row. There are slope protections between the pavements and nearby walls.


   
While viewed from inside, it is splendid and orderly, reflecting the residential style of big families in feudal society in North China. Qiao Family Compound encompasses 8,724.8 square meters of land, consisting of 6 large yards and 20 small yards with 313 houses in total. It was repaired and rebuilt many times during the reigns of emperors Tongzhi and Guangxu in the Qing Dynasty and the beginning years of the Republic of China (1911-1949). It was not only nice in its entirety but also special in every part. The doors, windows, eaves, stone stairs, quadrangular railings, and the Chuanxin, Pianxin, and Jiaodao yard are all beautifully shaped. You can see brick carvings everywhere in the yards: backbone carving, wall carving, and railing carving, all of which are based on figures, allusions, flowers and plants, birds, beast, chess, and painting and calligraphy.



The carving designs are so exquisite and their workmanship, so fine, fully showing the special style of residential building in the Qing Dynasty. When you look down at the overall yard above ground, it just looks like "double happiness" in Chinese. People who visited the yard have same feeling that "imperial family own the Imperial Palace, ordinary people only own Qiaojia (Qiao Family)."
   
We are living normal lives all the time, still, “normal lives” of Qiao Family will be appealing for its delicate taste for life.

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