Fujian Tulou, also called the earth building, originated in the Song and Yuan Dynasties from the 11th to the 13th centuries, is the world's unparalleled large-scale earth residential building. The Fujian Tulou complex of Chinese Hakka residential buildings has been included in the "World Heritage List" by UNESCO. If you are interested in China ethnic minorities' residences photography, you should not miss Fujian Tulou.
Where are the tulous? What are the characteristics of each tulou? What are the differences among tulous? Which tulou was described as Mula's home in the Disney live-action Mulan movie? Which tulou is favored by photographers? In this article, we will give you an overview of Fujian tulou and also share some photography tips for Fujian Tulou with you.
Fujian tulous are mainly distributed in three areas of Fujian: Yongding County, Nanjing County and Hua'an County. Tulous are similar in appearance but all distinct from each other. Yongding County owns the largest area of tulous. Nanjing County has the most peculiar tulou and is also the nearest tulou scenic area from Xiamen city (capital city of Fujian). Tulous in Hua'an County are less popular but more original. Among these three tulou areas, Yongding tulou and Nanjing tulou are the most popular photography places.
Yongding Tulou Scenic Area owns the largest area of tulous, including Hongkeng Tulou Cluster, Gaobei Tulou Cluster, Chuxi Tulou Cluster, Nanxi Tulou Cluster and Zhongchuan Ancient Village. Each cluster has its own charming feature.
Hongkeng Tulou Cluster is located in Hongkeng Village, Yongding County. The history of Hongkeng Tulou Cluster can date back to the end of the Song Dynasty. In Hongkeng you can photograph more than 30 different kinds of well-preserved earth buildings, among which Zhencheng Earth Building is the most magnificent round building and reputed as the Earthen Princess. The whole building is constructed according to the concepts of Chinese Eight Diagrams. Kuiju Earth Building is a palace-style square building and called the Potala Palace of Tulou. Fuyu Earth Building is a mansion-style building.
Gaobei Tulou Cluster is about 5 kilometers from Hongkeng Tulou Cluster. Its scale is not as large as Hongkeng, but Gaobei Tulou Cluster owns the most famous Chengqi Earth Building, named as "Tulou King" which is the must-see site in Yongding Tulou Scenic Area. Chengqi Earth Building could accommodate 80 families and 600 people during its prosperous time.
Chuxi Tulou Cluster is located in Chuxi Village, Yongding County, which consists of 5 round buildings and over 10 square buildings. Jiqing Earth Building is the existing oldest round building with a unique structure in Yongding County. Tulous in Chuxi are surrounded by mountains, and the shapes of tulous vary according to the terrain. The scenery is beautiful. If you also love countryside photography, Chuxi Tulou Cluster can be a good option.
Nanxi Tulou Cluster is one of the representatives of Yongding tulous. The most famous building among tourists is Zhenfu Earth Building, known as the "sister building" of Zhencheng Earth Building. It is also a round building, designed and constructed according to the layout of Chinese Eight Diagrams. On both banks of the Nanxi River, there are more than 100 round, square, octagonal, hexagonal, triangular, D-shaped and oval etc. earth buildings scattering among the valley and rice fields, which create a magnificent photography sight.
Nanjing County has the most peculiar shapes of tulous. It is the nearest tulou scenic area from Xiamen, about 98 kilometers driving distance. If your photography tour time in Xiamen is limited, we would highly recommend you to visit Nanjing County. Tianluokeng Tulou Cluster is one of the most classic tulou buildings which was wrongly regarded as a weapon missile base by Americans before. Hekeng Tulou Cluster is less touristic, and it becomes famous due to the famous Disney live-action Mulan movie, among which Xiaochun Earth Building is described as Mulan's home.
Tulou in Nanjing County
Tianluokeng Tulou Cluster is a group of 5 tulous: one square building, one oval building and three round buildings. People also call it: four dishes and one soup. It is also the only one tulou cluster that people can see the light scenery at night. The viewing pavilion on the nearby mountain is the best place to photograph panorama view of four dishes and one soup.
Tianluokeng Tulou Cluster
Compared with other tulou clusters, Hekeng Tulou Cluster is more original. It is made up of 13 earth buildings of different shapes. Xiaochun Earth Building is the one that depicted as Mulan's home in the latest Disney live-action Mulan movie. Yuchang Earth Building is one of the oldest existing round earth buildings and famous for the 15-degree angle tilted pillars, which has made it the most interesting place to visit in this area.
Aerial photography is mainly used to shoot the panoramic view. Tulous are famous for their different kinds of shapes, like round, square, oval, octagonal and hexagonal, etc. Therefore, the best way to show their shapes is to use aerial photography.
There are still many original Hakka people living in the earth buildings now. Photographers can take some humanity photos to present local customs. A close-up for the locals is also a good way to enrich your photography sources, but firstly to get the approval from them. If you come there at the right time, you can have the chance to enjoy traditional shadow play.
Take some Humanity Photos to Present Local Customs
A wide-angle lens can not only widen our view, but bring us a sense of space. It is recommended to use a wide-angle lens when shooting the earth buildings. For example, by using a wide-angle lens in Rusheng Earth Building, which is the smallest round earth building in Yongding County, photographers can shoot its whole inner round dome.
As we all know, Chinese people have a thousand-year-old adherence to the central axis of the building. This is what stems from the bones and for the love of symmetrical beauty. When shooting single tulou building, photographers can make the symmetrical plane of the building and the symmetrical plane of the frame coincident. The use of symmetrical composition can often achieve a very good shooting effect.
By reading the photography tips for Fujian Tulou, you can start to make your plan now. If you worry about this photography tour, you can also let us help you with the planning. Our local experts will show you the charming culture and customs you want to know.