Beijing Siheyuan

Beijing Siheyuan

Siheyuan is a traditional Chinese residence, especially famous and common in Beijing. Siheyuan in English, is known as "the courtyard house". Siheyuan was firstly appear in the Western Zhou Dynasty. It has further developed in Han dynasty. By the impact of the feng shui theory, it has formed a system, including standards of the site and the layout. Siheyuan gradually became common in Beijing during the Yuan Dynasty. Kublai Khan ordered to build housing for the officials and wealth businessmen moving to the captial city Beijing. After the perfection during Ming and Qin Dynasty, the unique architectural style of Beijing Siheyuan has taken shape.

Siheyuan is buildup of the main room, east and west side-room, and back room. The courtyard is surrounded by the four rooms in the middle, that is why the name Siheyuan comes from. Siheyuan is a symbol of Chinese traditional value of family and living. In the daytime, family can stay in the courtyard, chatting and having tea. Because of the courtyard is surrounded, outsiders can not see the inside, which is accord with Chinese people's habits. Usually for a family live in Siheyuan, the elders live in the main room, the eldest son live in the east side-room, the second son live in the west side-room, daughters live in the back yard, and servants live in the back room, each without affect from others.

The main difference of Beijing Siheyuan and Siheyuan from other places is, the structure of Beijing Siheyuan is axially symmetric, expect that the main gate is not opened in the middle in the south wall like other places. The main gate of Beijing Siheyuan is opened in the south east side. it's based on the feng shui theory. The reason is to avoid oppositing with the main room. According to Bagua, the main room in the north side is "Kan". If there is a "Kan" room, it must be opened a "Xun" door. "Xun" is exactly in the south east side. It stands for inexhaustible money.

 

 

- Yiye Shen