I have always had eyes only for China's traditional dwellings, especially red-brick houses in southern Fujian. However, as time changes, many traditional dwellings have been destroyed and demolished, or collapsed. These buildings are the heritage left by our ancestors, and the witness of history. It is really heart-breaking that most traditional dwellings disappear in our generation.
Fortunately, we still have Tangdong Village - a beautiful fishing village in Jinjing Town (Jinjiang) which combines unique Southern Fujian architecture with natural sceneries.
Fig 1: Sights of Tangdong Village
Located in the west of Weitou Peninsula, Tangdong is adjacent to Weitou Village, which is renowned for titles that shocking the world like the "823 Artillery Bombardment", "Weitou-Home of Heroes" and "No.1 Village of Fujian", but is less known by people. In fact, Tangdong boasts abundant tourism resources, but is little known due to the lack of effective promotion. In the past two years, strong recommendation by many netizens on Weibo has diverted the attention of relevant governmental sectors to this untouched fishing village in the Southern Fujian, pushing this village to a larger stage.
Sitting to the west of Weitou Jiao on the south tip of Jinjiang, Tangdong preserves blocks of red-brick houses dated back to the Ming and Qing Dynasty (1368-1912) and characterized with big roof, high ridges and exquisite brick carvings, as well as many western-style buildings built in the period of the Republic of China, and stone dwellings built in the early days of the P.R.C. Tangdong Village also has many other attractions, including the Stone Statue of Three Western Saints carved on precipices Zhuowang Mountain - a Major Historical and Cultural Site Protected at the National Level, a piece of unique, natural antenna-like sand measuring two to three miles in the west of village, and plenty of military forts and air-raid shelters, which are relics of the 823 Artillery Bombardment.
Fig. 2: Map of Tangdong Sights
Most villagers in Tangdong are named after Cai, and their ancestors first settled here in the Song and Yuan Dynasty (960-1368). In the vicissitudes of over 700 years, it has cultivated many famous talents, like Cai Zuan and Cai Ding in the Ming Dynasty, winning itself the title "Coastal Center of Culture". This arch was then constructed to honour Cai Zuan for his brilliant performance as an official.
[Former Residence of Cai Zuan and Cai Ding]
Next to the arch sits the former residence of Cai Zuan and Cai Ding, which is still well-preserved through renovations in previous dynasties. This three-row residence is a traditional Chinese building built with bricks and stones, and boasts fortified structure (hōo-tshù) in the right elevated wooden beam, rooftop (Ying-Shan-Ting), and many other traditional architectural elements. It is worth noting that the residence has a board saying “Civilized Clan”, and a couplet citing outstanding achievements of Cai Zuan in government affairs, and that of Cai Ding in literary creation.
Fig. 5 [Residence of Scholar Cai De Fang]
A few steps away along the flagging sits the famous residence of scholar Cai De Fang, who was a well-known figure in the history of Fujian-Taiwan relations. The residence is high and spacious, with elements of traditional Chinese architecture and auspicious patterns seen everywhere. It is one of well-preserved relics concerning Taiwan.
[Cai's Family Temple]
Cai's Family Temple is a sight that you cannot miss in Tangdong. There is a saying in Jinjiang since ancient times that goes "Cai's Family Temple in Tangdong is the steepest in roof, Huang's Family Temple in Bogu is the largest in area, and Zhuang's Family Temple in Qingyang ranks first in the southern Quanzhou." Cai's Family Temple in Tangdong is famous for its unique, high inclined ridge, and still looks splendid and magnificent in the vicissitudes in the past centuries.
Fig. 11 Cai's Family Temple
Fig. 12 Board of Cai's Family Temple
Fig. 13 High Inclined Swallow-tail Ridge of Cai's Family Temple