Tuesday, October 23, 2012

The fortresses of Fujian province

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CN-656595: Earthen House, or Fujian Tulou
I've been gone from this blog for two years now, but I hope I'm not forgotten. Postcards remain a favorite hobby of mine and I'm settled enough to begin writing about the beautiful cards I receive. I hope you'll come back and visit again!

This beautiful family scene comes from Postcrossing user sysukun, and depicts an entrance to Earthen House, more commonly known as a Fujian Tulou. There are about 46 sites in the mountainous region of Fujian province composed of these homes, and together they make up a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

A tulou is a large, enclosed, earthen-made building, usually in a rectangular or circular shape. They are fortified and usually have a single entrance to protect up to 80 families who live there. These buildings have been constructed since the 12th century in Fujian province, and were originally designed to protect against armed bandits that frequently roamed the Fujian region.

Fujian Tulou are unique because they are one of the original examples of community housing for equals. All the rooms in a tulou were the same size and shape, built with the same quality materials, and decorated the same. Tulous were generally occupied by one or two large family clans. If a clan grew over time, additional concentric rings were added around the original ring. You can see the inner courtyard of a traditional Fujian Tulou above. It's easy to imagine how such a place would inspire a sense of safety and community.

I'm glad to be back - hope you'll keep checking in on my newly revived blog!

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