Yu Family Stone Village, Hebei, China Week 15 2nd - 3rd August 2011
Breakfast in Pingyao.

Some Bao (steamed filled dumplings), some bread (deep fried roll), and soy milk.

We enjoyed dunking the bread in the soy milk.

Our very pleasant cook.
The morning sun on the wall and we are ready for some more driving.
One of the German tour group leaving our car park.
Shanxi has lots of coal.

And lots of power stations.

And lots of haze.

We were headed to the Yu Family Stone Village when we met this low bridge.

We had a look at the dry river bed under the arch on the right but there was a rather deep hole.

Just as well really. It would have taken us in the wrong direction!

Its actually an aquaduct. There's not much water around but there are lots of pipes and aquaducts like this one. 

We finally found the village.

This is the car park outside the visitors center.

The stage was built in 1984.

We stayed two nights. The car park attendant tried to get a little greedy after the second night. He didn't wave as we were leaving.

We had a bit of a rest here, to help me recover from a cold. No photos but the ladies at the restaurant had noticed we'd been inside all afternoon so made the dumplings extra big. We obviously needed feeding up.

The restaurant was the first we've met that didn't have rice. Also, the locals arrived bearing bottles of wine.

Also lots of questions about Susanna's life and education.

Yu Qian (1398 - 1457) was a high ranking member of the imperial court.

He fell out of favour in some way. His sons were moved away from the capital to hide.

They founded the village.

It has a family tree with 26 generations. It seems the males stay in the village the women marry and move away.

Thus, most people are called Yu.

We had a local guide.

One of the first stops was a "Farmer's Joy" guest house which was also simply visitable.

The arched roof of this bedroom is typical of the village. The walls are about 600mm thick.

The outside of one of those curved roofs.
We thought it was, and the smell confirmed it.

The night soil man.

Carrying human excrement.

We think it is mixed with soil and spread on fields.

Have to be a little careful - its an indication of an agricultural system that has survived generations and a lack of sewage. Not an indication of poverty.

I guess I'm trying to say we have to be careful not to judge things in China based on our Australian culture.

Just the way it is at this point in history.

A theatre in a small square near the center of the village.
A tether for the horse.
There were many different styles of stonework.

The nearest has rectangular dressed stone with cement pointing. 

The next has dry stone foundations, dressed stone for the corners, and dry stone for most of the walls.

The fourth one looks more like brick.

Apparently the mortar helps keep the rats out.

The hole at the bottom of the first wall is where the ashes from the fire come out. We saw more central heating radiators.

A typical courtyard.

We think that's a gourd hanging from the greenery.

This is the Qingliang Attic.

A showpiece of the village.

Built about 1580.

The stonework is irregular and dry.

It was built by one man over 16 years.

Originally intended to be 9 storeys he was injured after the second and eventually died.

The third storey was built in wood by the villagers some years later.

The builder's day job was with the government where he learned his skills.

This was his hobby.

For us it seemed to resemble architecture and design which would be intended to be built using wood translated for building from stone.

The design and build are most unusual for a stone building.

One can imagine someone very frustrated with the constraints of the day job exercising his freedom in his hobby.

"Hey boss, we could make beams of stone" ...... would probably go down like a lead balloon.

The building really stands out at one end of the village.
Jin Shan, Hebei, China Week 15 4th August 2011

jon Tue, 09 Aug 11 20:38:31 +1000
But, you should have seen the soil man's motor home!

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