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A Hlai House in Tongzha


Thanks to Hainan government policies, traditional Hlai (Li) houses have become a rarity in Hainan. This section features shots of a few Hlai houses, just near Tongzha (now known as Wuzhishan), which I managed to visit in October 2003.

Taking the photos was a somewhat hurried affair. I told a Chinese friend that I wanted to see some authentic Hlai housing. He said that there were a few remnants still around Tongzha, and promptly took me there. After taking a few external shots, we rather unceremoniously asked the owner if we could look inside his house. He was most obliging, and the photos below are the result.

I am rather apologetic at putting these photos up. Due to the rather rushed nature of the visit and the fact that three years have passed since the photos were taken, I can't comment very much about the objects and scenes I was privileged to see. Nor am I very clear about the exact layout of the house that we did see. Still, they may be of interest to people, so I am posting them here with a few rudimentary comments.

The photos are arranged according to:

Exterior Views

The houses in question could be seen from the road. There were not a large number, as is clear from these photos.

external view


The most attractive and romantic aspect of the houses is no doubt the straw roofs, reminiscent of tropical Southeast Asia.
roof view
external roof view


This shot and the next show the earthen walls of the houses.
external view of house
exterior view of wall




I believe these were taken out the back. There are potplants, gourdskins, and what look like vegetable sprouts. A closer shot is just below.
out the back

On to the next page for views of the interior.

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