Tibet Themes -»
Depending on the availability of the materials, the Tibetan houses are built
with more woods, for those living near forest, or more stones, for those
living near mountains. Usually, the walls are one meter thick and built
with stones. The roof is built with scores tree trunks, and then covered
with a thick layer of clay. When it is finished, the roof is flat.
In the valley area, the whole structure is like a castle with small windows
as big as gun holes. No doubt, this is for defense purpose. In the city,
there are big windows facing south to let sun light in. The houses are one
or two, three, four story high. For one flat house, sometimes a guarding
wall is built around to keep the animal in and outsiders out.
For a three story high house, the lowest level is a barn for animals or
a storage place. The second story is the living quarter for human beings.
The third story is the worshiping hall or sometimes the grain bin. The stairs
are outside the house and usually made of single tree trunk from roof to
roof. Once the ladders are withdrawn, the higher levels become inaccessible.
Inside the living quarter, there is kitchen, living rooms. There are
fireplaces and stoves in the kitchen. The common fuels are wood and dung.
The furniture is painted in bright colours. The lavatory is usually at
the highest part of the house as an extension. This way, the house is
clear of the smell.
Tibetan Diaofang: Stone Chamber
Diaofang (Stone Chamber) is the most popular kind of dwellings in Tibet.
According to The History of Later Han Dynasty, this stone and earth dwellings
existed before 111 AD. The height of the dwellings varies from two to
three stories. Built mostly of stone and earth, they look like Diaolou
(blockhouse), and hence got the name of Diaofang. The origin of its name
can be traced back to 1736 in Emperor Qianglong's reign of the Qing Dynasty
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 stories. 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, Diaofang
appears exceptionally dazzling.
Diaofang are generally of two or three stories: 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.
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.
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