Housing is a very important part of history, and it can reveal much about civilizations and their culture. The housing in East Asia was extremely different in each geographical area, and also greatly changed and improved over time. In this section, we will introduce three distinct types of housing that we feel are important to the history of East Asia:
In China, the siheyuan style of housing was the most common pattern of housing used for palaces, temples and residences. The style features a large courtyard, surrounded by buildings on all four sides. The structures signified wealth and prosperity among its inhabitants.
In Heian Japan, aristocrats lived in shindenzukuri style mansions. These palaces featured a central courtyard similar to the Chinese siheyuan, demonstrating the profound influence of Chinese culture on Japan during that period of Japanese history.
The nomadic lifestyle of the Mongol people did not allow for the construction of large, elegant palaces like those of China and Japan. Instead the Mongols lived in mobile and functional tents called yurts.