Suspended Wooden Houses Technique of the Miao Ethnic Group
Suspended wooden houses are a typical building in Miao villages. Wooden houses are built on stilts a few meters above the ground along the mountain ridge.
Xijiang, a Miao village of about 1,000 people, is located at the foot of the Leigong Mountains along the Bai River in Leishan County insouthwestern Guizhou Province. The wooden houses in the area are usually built on a 30-70 degree mountain slope, all made of wood, without any nails or rivets. The wooden beams and pillars are connected using tenons and mortises.
Normally, the suspended houses are three-story buildings with three to five rooms each. They are scattered along the mountain ridges, suspended on wooden stilts, and form the most typical look of a Miao village.
The suspended wooden houses in Xijiang are built using construction techniques that are around 7,000 years old. With countless changes and innovations to the houses during the course of their development, they are now simple to build, solid and moisture-proof and they help save farming land.
Today, these kinds of building styles have come to represent the special culture of the Miao people. They also provide valuable information for the study of the evolution of the Miao people and the development of their construction.
Unfortunately, few young people like to live in the suspended wooden houses and even fewer are willing to learn the techniques of building the houses. There are also very strict requirements needed to build the houses in terms of materials, location and fire safety. There is also a danger posed by landslides.