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Daily Life
Tibetan Stone Chamber

Tibetan Stone Chamber

Diaofang(Stone Chamber) is the most popular kind of dwellings in Tibet and some areas in Inner Mongolia. According toThe History of Later Han Dynasty, this stone and earth dwellings existed before 111 AD. The height of the dwellings varies from two to three storeys. Built mostly of stone and earth, they look likeDiaolou(blockhouse), and hence got the name ofDiaofang. The origin of its name can be traced back to 1736 in Emperor Qianglong"s reign of the Qing Dynasty (1644-1911).


On the mountainous Qinghai-Tibet Plateau, it would be difficult to construct a building if it takes too much space. Therefore, the stone chambers are usually designed in a very compact way with multiple storeys. Tibetan houses also possess skylights and ventilation spots. While the house is very delicately and meaningfully decorated inside, it reveals a powerful and robust style outside. Under the intense Tableland sunshine,Diaofangappears exceptionally dazzling.


Diaofang are generally of two or three storeys: The first floor is often used for livestock and poultry, and the second is retained as bedrooms, living rooms, kitchen and storehouse. Some have a third floor for the family sutra hall and the balcony.The stone chamber is both wind-proof and cold resistant, and safe for guarding against theft or enemies. While protecting themselves from cold, wind and shock, Tibetans also adopt measures of establishing wind doors, patio and skylight to mitigate the influences of adverse factors in climate and geography to their life and production, realizing good ventilation and heating.

A good combination of wood and stonewalls enriches the shape. This does not only meet the functional purpose, but also gives prominence to artistic effect, making the style different from any other folk residence. The construction is solid enough to resist earthquakes and well designed to keep the inside warm.

The Tibetans are Buddhists who set up altars in or outside of their chambers to worship the Bodhisattvas. Each house is no exception, whether they are peasants, herdsmen or patricians. The gods are holy in Tibetans" heart.


 
   
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