Located in Foshan, Guangdong Province, Daqitou Village is a representative village in Guanggong area. Built in Qing Dynasty, Daqitou Village distills Guangdong architectural style and culture. It is acknowledged as China culture heritage.
If you are interesting in southern Chinese culture, if you want to breathe in the quite time, if you are seeking the bygone days, you will experience them in Daqitou Village. Daqitou Village is the other name of Zheng Village in Leping Town in Sanshui District.
This village is an architecture group constructed by ancestral temples and civilian houses. In the village, the interior of the house was designed in the typical Cantonese way. There are three rooms and two corridors in every house. The front part of the house is enlarged in order to build a stone ridge on it. The extended part is just like the shape of a kettle mouth.
On the side of the house, there is a pen-shaped tower, which is called Wen Tower. Under the tower, there stand two stones. The big one is about one meter in height and looks like an ink slab. The small one looks like a stamp. The tower and the stones compose a picture of four treasures of study, like writing brush, ink stick, ink slab and paper. All these express people’s hope that they want their descents to study hard and pass the imperial civil examination.
After a long time of “breaking up houses”, the house system in Zheng Village has finished. This reflects the developing history of the clans in the central area of Guangdong Province. As different houses are given to different descents, each descent enlarges his houses, builds up his own temple and ancestral temple on his land. As time passes, a unified and well-balanced architecture group forms here.
Solemn ancestral hall, sedate ancestral temple, ancient pagoda, aged houses, relaxing esplanade, and clear pond, Daqitou Village is well distributed with harmonious style. Aged houses with blue brick sand black tiles stand quietly in lines, welcoming you into the peaceful world full of past memory.
All the houses follow the design of “three room and two corridors”—between the corridors is the courtyard and there three rooms—it is a typical architectural style in Guangdong area. A small shrine put before the wooden screen in the hall is for worshipping the ancestors. Gables are like pot lug, which is the most distinct scene in Daqitou Village. Such fashion looks like the civil official hat in the bygone dynasties. In ancient China, only the educated people who past the examination and got the first place could be the civil officials, so such shape gables refer to “come out on top”. Besides, the gable is also very useful for fire prevention.
At the corner of the wall hides a coin-like little hole, named “gold eye”. It is not only a symbol of wealth, but also of scientific design and in need of drainage. During the rain season, rain falls down along the wall and alley into the “gold eye”. Passing through the little hole, rain flows into the pond.
The distribution, the design, the decoration are all the reflections the wisdom of the ancient. All of the all will lead you back to the old times, to obverse the thinking and talk to the ancient sages.
Tiny paths and neat houses stand serenely in order, just like a chessboard, embodying the Chinese culture and thinking complex and in order, natural and reasonable.
The typical Chinese culture—the “scholar's four jewels” (writing brush, ink stick, ink slab and paper) – could be seen through the village. The pagoda near the ceiba tree at the entrance of the village stands for the “writing brush”, the pond is the “ink”, the ground is the “paper” and the sunning ground is the “ink slab”. All these are expressing the good wish that talented people will bloom from generation to generation and the prosperous culture and wisdom will last fore ever.
As the well kept aged village, Daqitou Village can be dated back to the early Ming Dynasty. The Zhengs and the Zhongs settled down in this area. One of the descendants, Zheng Shaozhong who established illustrious battle achievements received favour from Empress Dowager Cixi.
So Empress Dowager Cixi required the navy admiral Zheng Shaozhong to construct the Daqitou Village to be his own residence. After some reconstruction, the village became what it is like nowadays. Zheng Shaozhong once set the rules that no one could rebuild the houses and could only sell the houses to those who named Zheng. This rule helps to conserve the ancient village.