Xizhou Anicent Town: the Museum of Bai Architecture

Located in north part of Dali City and lies between Erhai Lake and Cangshan Mountain, Xizhou Ancient Town is one of the oldest town in Yunnan province. It is a main residential district for Bai Nationality where the old folk houses are well preserved.

Until today, we still can see many well preserved residential houses of Bai’s style. They have a distinctive Bai touch of more decorations including colorful pictures, gardens, more use of marble decorations, upturned eaves, and brighter colors.

From the aspect of layout, most houses belong to the structures of “three rooms with one screen wall” and “four courtyards with five patios”. “Three houses with one screen wall” means every house boasts a major room flanked by two wing-rooms, and one screen wall facing the gate for the house privacy. “Four houses with five courtyards” means it has a central courtyard with houses in four directions, other four smaller courtyards joining the central one from four sides make five courtyards.


The typical Bai folk house includes a gate with three dripping eaves and flying rafters.


The Bai houses are also characterized by a traditional Chinese rectangular courtyard with a screen wall facing the gate. This screen wall displays four Chinese characters of “qingbai chuanjia,” which means an innocent family for generations. It represents the Bai principle to live honestly.


A typical Bai house is built with three buildings forming a U shape and a fourth wall used as a screen wall.


The windows are carved in various patterns in traditional styles.

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