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西递 Xidi
安徽Anhui 西递Xidi-xidi_3 >>huang0060



Picture ID:  huang0060
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A pair of 门罩 menzhaos(literally, a door shade or cover). A distinctive architectural element of this region. These solid carved brick designs are usually found above doorways or in areas where strong sunlight hits. The reason behind this ornate invention is 风水 feng shui. Legend has it that the merchant class descended from the 商 Shang Dynasty(about 3,000 years ago) Shang was the second of three dynasties before the unification of the empire by the first emperor of china. After about 400-500 years of civilization, the cultured Shang was defeated by the rowdy 周 Zhou in about 1025 BCE. Shang people were forced southward in a massive exodus. They settled in Anhui and began to engage in the lowly activity of doing business to survive. A merchant class culture was created and systematized. And the word Shang(which also means merchant in chinese) was used to define this merchant activity. The Shang merchants were very successful And with money piling up, they began builing elaborate buildings and manors. To ensure that fortunes continure to come their way smoothly, feng shui was routinely consulted. The classic 易经 YiJing(I-Ching) states that Shang people(merchants) should not have their doors face south. This,however,goes against common feng shui practice which favors the southward direction that faces the sun. Unfortunately, within the five elements in chinese cosmology, Shang belongs to the metal group, and sun fire melts metal. No good. Today, the houses and buildings in Xidi do not face south. And to further protect themselves from the fire elements and bad influences,and at the same time to welcome fortune, they incorporated this menzhao into their design philosophy.