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location map of Qu Family Compound

Detail (click image for full map):渠家大院的位置Location of Qu Family Compound -- green arrow

Region: 山西Shanxi

渠家大院图片Qu family's compound Pictures

  • Picture of 渠家大园 Qu family's compound

    The main building in the back of the compound. It is as decorated as a queen on her wedding ceremony.

  • Picture of 渠家大园 - 戏台 Qu family's compound - theater

    The family's theater. The performer was singing on the stage by herself. It was at the last hour before closing. I was the only audience and probably the only tourist at the time in the building. She was doing her routine work, singing every hour or so, but she was very immersed in the act, as if she needed to perform one last time for the audience of old family ghosts. I quietly set up my tripod with my Hasselblad on it, set the timer and walked away.

  • Picture of 渠家大园 Qu family's compound

    The Qu compound is long. Its courtyards are planned one after another through a series of doorways in a linear direction. From the entrance to the back, there are 5 doorways -- one goes up higher than the other along a 99 meter long path.

  • Picture of 渠家大园 Qu family's compound

    The doorways to the private theater.

  • Picture of 渠家大园 Qu family's compound

    The doorway is topped with a small scaled-down roof supported by parallels of brackets called 斗拱dougong

  • Picture of 渠家大园 Qu family's compound

    I remember that this structure is on the top level of the entrance fascade on the inside. Its melancholic appearance continuously drew my attention.

  • Picture of 渠家大园 Qu family's compound

    This building is also right on the entrance fascade, but set to the left side. The blurred images are sparrows speeding at near sunset hours. They are everywhere in all the places that I visited in Shanxi and elswhere.

  • Picture of 渠家大园 Qu family's compound

    The lower section of the main building in the back.

  • Picture of 渠家大园 Qu family's compound

    The stone lions await the visitors as they come in the building.

  • Picture of 渠家大园 Qu family's compound

    One of the long hallway leading to the back of the building. The high blank wall on the left is a distinct feature of the Qu compound. The top of the brick wall steps up a level as it extends toward the back of the compound. The flat blank wall contrast sharply with the well-carved arch doorway.

  • Picture of 渠家大园 Qu family's compound

    Doorways to the family's theater. The theater is an important area for family and guest gatherings, so it has to be grand.

  • Picture of 渠家大园 Qu family's compound

    Less decorative doorways on the sides that lead to other courtyards.

  • Picture of 渠家大园 Qu family's compound

    A carved stone piece by the doorway. Some carved stones pieces function as a stepping stone to climb up a horse or carriage. These are called 上马石Shangmashi, literally means "up a horse stones". The stone piece in this photo does not appear to have the same function, but rather just a decorated piece called 门墩mendun - a standard design piece place, in pairs, before a doorway.

  • Picture of 渠家大园 Qu family's compound

    One section ot the two-storey building in the back.

  • Picture of 渠家大园 Qu family's compound

    Another view of the building. It flushes against the taller blank brick wall.

  • Picture of 渠家大园 Qu family's compound

    The extremely complex and intricately carved doorway to the main building in the back. It is one of the most beautiful that I have seen.

  • Picture of 渠家大园 Qu family's compound

    A masterfully carved and painted wood piece.

  • Picture of 渠家大园 Qu family's compound

    Detail of a corner of an eave showing the distinctive Chinese brackets know as 斗拱Dougong. Dougongs are sophisticated supportive elements - to support eaves and beams.

  • Picture of 渠家大园 Qu family's compound

    Side view of a doorway. The grander the doorway, the more important its interior is.

  • Picture of 渠家大园 Qu family's compound

    A tortoise's view of the two-storey building in the back.

  • Picture of 渠家大园 Qu family's compound
  • Picture of 渠家大园 Qu family's compound

    The blank brick wall leaves everything to the imagination. The almost entirely decorated two-storey building leaves you speechless.

  • Picture of 渠家大园 Qu family's compound

    A fuller view of the incredible two-storey building. On the top floor is a hallway where you can look toward the entrance building.

  • Picture of 渠家大园 Qu family's compound

    It is interesting how intricate doorways tempts you from out of flat walls

  • Picture of 渠家大园 Qu family's compound

    View from the second floor of the back building.

  • Picture of 渠家大园 Qu family's compound
  • Picture of 渠家大园 Qu family's compound

    A dragon head scream into the gloomy sky. Mythical animals, such as the dragon, have good balance of fearsomeness and nobleness that suited the wealthy merchants' taste.

  • Picture of 渠家大园 Qu family's compound

    The top floor hallway.

  • Picture of 渠家大园 Qu family's compound

    The mind-boggling details really made me hungry. I went for spicy noodles afterwards.

  • Picture of 渠家大园 Qu family's compound

    The good thing about coming to these places in person is that you can freely touch these and feel the paints peeling off.

  • Picture of 渠家大园 Qu family's compound

    Sharp corners are normally not aesthetically appealing, so the contacts between the beams and columns are normally covered with carvings.

  • Picture of 渠家大园 Qu family's compound

    Side view of a sloping roof with its details. Chinese roofs are engineered to allow rainwater to separately flow down channels betweens the half-cone tiles. These tiles stacked one after the other to solve the monotony of a flat roof.

  • Picture of 渠家大园 Qu family's compound

    The blue-gray fascade of the compound.

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Travelogues and travel notes.

clay figure of 钟馗 Zhong Kui

Arts and Crafts that I bought along my travels.

Travel Information

Getting There:

渠家大院Qu family's compound is located at 33 东大街Dongdajie street, which is inside the Old Town in 祁县Qixian county.  It is just a few buildings after entering the arch gate from the main road where the buses are parked. From 太原市Taiyuan city, the provincial capital of 山西省Shanxi province, take the bus to Yixian county at the 建南汽车站Jiannan Bus Station (South Bus Station).

Accomodations:

祁县Qixian county is a culturally-rich county; as such it is quite very well-known, so finding a decent hotel is not difficult. There are hotels along the main road of the county. This road is where all the buses enter the county.

Entrance Ticket:

40 Yuan (Summer 2006).