Massive Tibetan Houses of Zhongdian

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The oldest Tibetan house in Zhongdian, over 400 years old.
The oldest Tibetan house in Zhongdian, over 400 years old.

Kham house in Yunnan

Tibetan house in Zhongdian

Traditional Tibetan house with contemporary windows
Traditional Tibetan house improved with contemporary windows
Characterisitic front elevation of a Tibetan house in Zhongdian
Characterisitic front elevation of a Tibetan house in Zhongdian

The Tibetan architecture of temples as well as houses is always manifested by solid structures no matter where they are found, whether in Central Tibet, in Sikkim or Bhutan and elsewhere in the eastern Himalayas, the Nepal Himalayas or in the far western reaches of Tibet including Ladakh. In the old Tibetan town of Zhongdian in Northern Yunnan, in southwestern corner of China, a region that historically was part of Kham, or Eastern Tibet, the houses are the most massive of all. In Kham, the Tibetan house design is characterized by massive timber posts that support the structure physically and dominate it visually. Typically two-storey high the front elevation is repeated in the contemporary house design although people mix in modern design features. The lavish woodworking and striking embellishments however are always retained, leaving one at awe of the impressive architecture.

Massive timber pieces used in Tibetan architectural design
Massive timber pieces used in Tibetan architectural design

Rooftops of the Old Tibetan Town of Zhongdian

Rooftops of the Old Tibetan Town in Zhongdian
Rooftops of the Old Tibetan Town in Zhongdian
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