Xicunfang Ancient Dwelling,a 300-Year Old Mysterious Village

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Xicunfang Ancient Dwelling is located in Yidushui Town, Xinning County, Hunan Province. Thanks to its location at the intersection of the ancient post roads between Wugang Prefecture and Yongzhou Prefecture, trade and business have flourished through the ages, making it a settlement and resting place. Because there was a village in the west of the brook, and there were workshops in the east and west of the bridge, so it was named Xicunfang(literally translated as West Village Workshop).

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The main body of the existing ancient dwellings in Xicunfang was built by Li Jifu, a memeber of local famous Xiaoxi Li clan during the Kangxi period of the Qing Dynasty, and gradually expanded by his grandchildren in Qianlong and Jiaqing periods. With a history of more than 300 years, it is an ancient and mysterious village with the architectural characteristics of Luling school. The ancient building complex is adjacent to the mountains and surrounded by the brook. With a total construction area of 6218 square meters, it includes houses, ancestral halls, guild halls, bridge pavilions and other parts.

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Located in the southwest and facing the northeast, the main buildings of residential complex are arranged in three vertical and three horizontal directions, forming nine quadrangle courtyards of different ages, seemingly unified but relatively independent. The non-slip pavements are paved with cobblestones with all kinds of patterns and designs, and crisscross with ditches.

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The layout of the buildings is orderly, and the strictness of the feudal hierarchy is reflected everywhere. The building complex is majestic and simple. The exterior walls are built with blue stones and blue bricks one by one. The cornices and corners are tilted and the beams are painted with different colors. The interior is made of wood structure. It is said that no iron nail was used. After hundreds of years of wind and rain, it still stands. The wooden walls, doors and windows of each building are decorated with various patterns and carvings, which are exquisite and antique in drawing, and pleasing to the eyes.

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This complex of buildings is large in scale, rigorous in structure, well-proportioned in layout, and exquisite in craftsmanship, which is rare in Shaoyang city. It has high historical, scientific and artistic values and can be called the superior work of ancient architectural art in Ming and Qing Dynasties, enjoying a good reputation as a wonderful work of folk houses in southwest Hunan Province.

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Since the beginning of the new century, this small mountain village, which has been silent for hundreds of years, finally attracted the attention of the world. In January 2011, Xicunfang Ancient Dwelling was announced as a provincial cultural relic protection unit by the Hunan People’s Government. In 2013, it was officially listed in the second batch of Chinese Traditional Villages.

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