Symbolism in the Construction of the Dai Traditional House

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The paper explores the symbolical meanings of the columns in the Dai traditional houses in Yunnan, Southwest China. It studied the structures of the Dai houses first, and then analysed the stories of where the Dai houses originally came from and the ritual ceremonies for celebrations of the newly built houses. It argues that by deciding the auspicious site of the house, the ritual of construction confirmed the picture of the universe in terms of Dai understanding of space and time. Involvement of various deities in the ritual of construction demonstrated that the universe was considered as an ordered system, and the erection of the main post of the house connected the householder to his ancestral spirits. The paper argues that for the Dai people, the ritual of building a new house confirmed the relationship between the household and nature, the supernatural, and the Dai traditional society.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)121-131
Number of pages11
JournalEdinburgh Architecture Research (EAR)
Publication statusPublished - 12 Dec 1995
Externally publishedYes


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  • 中国云南的傣族民居

    Translated title of the contribution: Architecture of Dai Nationality in Yunnan, ChinaGao, Y., 1 Aug 2003, Beijing: Peking University. 183 p.

    Research output: Book/ReportBookpeer-review

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