THE HOUSE
屋舍

The house was originally located in Cizhong village, in Yunnan Province of southwestern China, where three great rivers of Asia—the Mekong (Lancang), the Salween (Nu), and the Yangtze (Jinsha) River run closely parallel, cutting deep gorges among the glaciated peaks of the eastern Himalaya to create a region renowned for its rich cultural and biological diversity.  Close to the Tibetan and Burmese borders, this “Three Parallel Rivers” region is recognized as a UNESCO world heritage site and boasts 15 protected areas, including China’s first national park.  

The village of Cizhong has a unique history as the home to a Catholic church, where local people of diverse Tibetan, Naxi, Yi, Lisu, Bai, and Han ethnicities join together to attend mass every Sunday. The people are subsistence farmers practicing traditional agriculture and animal husbandry, but the village is also home to a thriving wine production industry introduced by French and Swiss missionaries in the nineteenth century. Villagers were able to keep these unique traditions and local knowledge alive through the revolutionary period.  The similarity to Virginia landscape agriculture is striking: farming grain and gardening between mountain and river, raising hogs and cattle, tending orchards of walnut and fruit trees and vineyards for making wine.  

 

The house itself is a blend of Tibetan, Naxi, Bai, and Han Chinese ethnic styles, built by Bai carpenters from Jianchuan County, a place renowned for fine craftsmanship, particularly in house building and wood carving.  The house was built in a way that fits both the local environment and the cultural hybridity of the community.  Although it was built in 1989—before electricity came to Cizhong—the house follows the traditional layout, materials, methods, and ornamentation of houses in the region going back centuries.  It is a “good” house with solid fit, quality materials, and lovely carving and joinery—not unusual, but unusually well-built and well maintained.  Most importantly, the family understands the idea of moving the house that we outlined to them, and they are committed to participating in the project not for profit, but in order to share their culture and folkways with the rest of the world.

 

Over three weeks in June and July, 2017, a documentary team filmed interviews with villagers and meticulously recorded the physical structure of the house and its surrounding community in photographs, maps, architectural diagrams, and computer graphics. Working with ethnic Bai Master Carpenters Zhao, Zhou, Shi, and Yang, the team then disassembled the house over the course of the last week, packed it on two trucks, and sent it to the eastern port of Tianjin for shipment to Baltimore, where it arrived in September, 2017.  The house and its surrounding farm landscape are now being rebuilt at the Friends Wilderness Center in Jefferson County, West Virginia, on a site near the Shenandoah River.  Scores of generous volunteers--from high school students to people in the local community to the wonderful craftsmen of the Timber Framers Guild--worked on rebuilding the house starting in the summer of 2019 and continuing through 2020 (see Next Phase).  We also have a team of scholars, craftsmen, farmers, and community leaders in both China and Virginia / West Virginia who are ready to help with the project and with educational and cultural exchange programming at the China Folk House Retreat in its new home along the Shenandoah River.

 

CFHR operates under a teaming agreement with the Friends Wilderness Center (FWC) and with Sidwell Friends School (SFS),  an independent Quaker school in Washington, DC, that has sponsored experiential education programs at CFHR. The Friends Wilderness Center (FWC) in Harper’s Ferry, West Virginia, is a 600-hectare nature preserve on the Shenandoah River, established by the (Quaker) Friends Meeting of Washington, that serves as the site hosting CFHR.   In China, CFHR works with the Linden Centre in Xizhou, Yunnan; Brian and Jeanee Linden are helping CFHR establish a partnership with the Intangible Cultural Heritage Center and Craftsmen Cooperative of Jianchuan County.  

这座房子最初位于中国西南部云南省的茨中村,位于亚洲三大河流——湄公河(澜沧江)、萨尔温江(怒江)和长江(金沙江)紧密平行之处,在喜马拉雅东部的冰川山峰之间切割深峡谷,创建了一个以其丰富的文化和生物多样性而闻名的地区。这个“三江并流”的地区靠近西藏和缅甸边境,被联合国教科文组织列为世界遗产,拥有 15 个保护区,其中包括中国第一个国家公园。

 

茨中村作为天主教堂的所在地,拥有独特的历史。当地藏族、纳西族、彝族、傈僳族、白族和汉族的当地人每周日聚集在一起参加弥撒。当地人民是从事传统农牧业的自给自足的农民,但该村也是法国和瑞士传教士在十九世纪引进的蓬勃发展的葡萄酒生产产业的所在地。村民们能够在革命时期保留这些独特的传统和当地知识。这里与弗吉尼亚风景农业的相似之处是惊人的:在山水之间种粮种田,饲养猪牛,照料核桃和果树的果园以及酿酒的葡萄园。

 

房屋本身融合了藏族、纳西族、白族和汉族等民族风格,由剑川县的白族木匠建造。这些木匠来自的剑川县是一个以精湛工艺而闻名的地方,尤其是房屋建筑和木雕领域。这座房子的建造方式既符合当地原始环境,又适合所在地区的文化混合。尽管它建于 1989 年——在茨中村通电之前——这座房子沿用了该地区几个世纪以来的传统布局、材料、方法和装饰。这是一栋“好”的房子,结构坚固,材料优质,雕刻和细木工精美——并不罕见,但建造和维护都非常到位。最重要的是,这个房屋的家庭理解我们向他们概述的搬家想法,他们承诺参与该项目不是为了盈利,而是为了与世界其他地方分享他们的文化和民俗。

 

在2017年6月和7月的三周多时间里,一个纪录片团队拍摄了对村民的采访,并用照片、地图、建筑图表和计算机图形精心记录了房屋及其周边社区的物理结构。团队与白族木匠赵、周、施、杨合作,在一周的时间里将房屋拆解并安装在两辆卡车上,然后前往天津东部港口,航运送至巴尔的摩,最终于2017年9月到达。这座房子及其周围的农场景观现在正在西弗吉尼亚州杰斐逊县的FWC中心重建,该中心位于雪兰多河附近。许多热心的志愿者——从高中生到当地社区的居民,再到木匠协会的优秀工匠——从2019年夏天开始致力于重建这座房子,并一直持续到 2020 年(详见下段)。我们还拥有一支由中国和弗吉尼亚州/西弗吉尼亚州的学者、工匠、农民和社区领袖组成的团队,他们随时准备为该项目和教育文化交流活动提供帮助。

 

CFHR 根据与 FWC中心和 SFS的合作协议运营,后者是华盛顿特区的一所独立贵格学校,已赞助 CFHR 的体验式教育计划。位于西弗吉尼亚州哈珀斯费里的朋友荒野中心 (FWC) 是雪兰多河上占地 600 公顷的自然保护区,由华盛顿(贵格会)朋友会议建立,是 CFHR 的举办地。在中国,CFHR 与云南喜州的林登中心合作,Brian 和 Jeanee Linden 正在帮助 CFHR与剑川县非物质文化遗产中心和工匠合作社建立合作伙伴关系。

Front side (south) of the Cizhong house

the house is 36 feet long, 25 feet wide

outside walls are made of rammed earth

Front side (south) of the Cizhong house

the house is 36 feet long, 25 feet wide

outside walls are made of rammed earth