Courtyard of the Shi Family in Fenxi county, Shanxi

By Zou Yaling ( )

Updated: 2013-05-24

Courtyard of the Shi Family in Fenxi county, Shanxi
A part of the courtyard (Photo/Xinhua)

The Courtyard of the Shi Family, in the village of Shijiagou, Fenxi countyof Shanxi provinve, is an example of the Chinese homes built in the Qing Dynasty (1644–1911). In 2006, the courtyard was listed as a National Key Cultural Relics Protection Object due to its high cultural value.

It was repeatedly expanded over a period of 80 years until it covered over 100,000 square meters and was referred to as "the first village in the world" during the Qing Dynasty. It is still very well preserved because of its isolated location, in spite of the hundreds of years of erosion caused by wind and rain and many wars. The courtyard consists of 31 courtyards of various sizes, and each yard has its own principal room (usually facing the south), a parlor, and another room, linked with traditional arch doors. The main courtyard features carvings made of brick, wood and stone, which offer much material for academic research on ancient carvings and residential buildings.

Edited by Zhou Yuanyuan and Niva Whyman

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