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The homeland of peacocks

In the west of Yunnan Province China, there is a beautiful piece of land, which is named Dehong Dai and Jingpo Autonomous Prefecture.

Raised Houses of Lisu

Pubdate:2009-06-08

     In general, Lisu prefer to use the "straddled earth" style of housing wherever possible, but as the Lisu often occupy mountainous areas, where finding flat, level ground is almost impossible, concessions must be made. In these instances, the Lisu have developed a second style of house which relies on raising the house up on stilts. One advantage of this kind of house is that an open area beneath the house is created, which can be used as a storage shelter. The rice pounder and chicken pen will be moved here, where they can be protected from the elements. It is also an ideal place for storing firewood. The area in front of the house is used for rest, recreation, and the occasional sunbather. As with the "straddled earth" style of house, the raised house is also without windows and has only one door, which can be reached by climbing a set of stairs. In general, Lisu houses don't have any fences separating them from one another. Instead, houses are built one after another, running in long rows through the village. Enough space is set between them so people don't feel like they are living on top of one another.

  In terms of construction, the methods employed by the Lisu are just like those of the Akha. Whether constructing a small house or a large house, the construction will be completed within the course of a single day. The starts in the morning and will go until evening. in the event work is not done, work will carry on until the job is done. The reason the Lisu are able to build their houses so quickly is because, when a house is going to be constructed, everyone comes together to help. It is just like harvesting rice, where villagers come together and help each other harvest their crops. It is the owner of the house's responsibility to prepare all equipment and materials needed for construction in advance so that work can be started immediately, once help arrives. This includes selecting and cutting the pillars for the house, the straw to be used for making the roof, the bamboo for the walls, etc. The women of the house are responsible for providing all the food for the workers, Before construction can take place, a ceremony must be performed to pay homage to the spirits and ask for their blessing. A piece of wood will be used to mark the four corners that are to be the perimeter of the house. A prayer will be made to the spirits, then a serving of rice will be placed in a bowl and offered up to the spirits of the forest, the mountains, and the pathways, asking permission to build the house in this location. The rice will then be sprinkled into a small hole dug in the ground. Examining the grains of rice, if they have fallen in an orderly fashion then it can be assumed the spirits approve. If the rice grains appear scattered and disorderly, then it can be assumed the spirits do not approve of the construction.