Highlight of Earthen Buildings
In 1986 China Post issued a set of stamps featuring Chinese dwellings and the representative of these unique Fujian dwellings is the Chengqi Building in Gaobei Village, Gaotou Town, Yongding. Known as the King of Earthen Buildings, Chengqi Building was created by three generations over a period of some 50 years.
This complex of four stories and four circles won fame by its grand and classic architectural style. The base of the wall is 3 meters (9.8 feet) thick and from the lower to the upper the width diminishes from 1.5m (4.9 feet) to not less than 0.9 meters (3.0 feet). There are 72 rooms on each story. In the center of the building lies a rectangle ancestral hall. The configuration conforms with the ancient Chinese idea of a round sky and a square earth.
Chengqi Building---the king of round buildings
Located in Gaobei Village, about 5 km. away from Hongkeng Tulou, Chengqilou is the largest of the earth buildings. It is almost three hundred years old and is made up of four concentric circular buildings. This King of Round Earth Building has altogether 400 rooms and used to house 80 families, totaling more than 600 people in its prosperous days. The most significant feature of this huge collective dwelling is that all residents are equal in their share of living spaces. No traces of the feudal patriarchal distinctions between senior members of the family and the younger generations predominant in the "Five Phoenix" (Fuyulou) type of dwellings can be found here. Such a mode of tribal habitation is a rare phenomenon in the feudal days".
In 1981, it was enlisted in China"s Dictionary of Historical sites. In 1986, a stamp entitled "Fujian"s Residential Buildings" , with its design based on this building, was chosen as one of the best stamps in the world.