3. Body of the Yin Yu Tang House
The body of a residence in classical Chinese construction is supported by a framework of wooden beams. And according to the Feng Shui principle of Yin and Yang, wood is associated with Yang Qi, or called Sheng Qi, life energy; and stone is associated with Yin Qi, or called Si Qi, death energy, so the ancient Chinese used timber to build residences, and used stone to build tombs.
In creating the façade of the residence, Hui architects concentrated on using beams with large surface areas and exquisitely carved wooden doors and windows, evoking a feeling of spaciousness and liveliness. Again, the Qi of both heaven and that of earth could mingle within a human living space. In some constructions, the main hall or room of the residence would be open to the sky well, maximizing the contact of all energy fields. This is evident in the Yin Yu Tang house.
In traditional Chinese philosophy, natural phenomena can be represented by five phases or energies as the following: Water energy, Wood energy, Fire energy, Earth energy and Metal energy. In this context, “wood” energy represents “vital” energy ( Sheng Qi ). Wood was surely the preferred construction material of classical Chinese residences, symbolizing ancients’ hopes that their families would be blessed with multiple future generations.
Lidong (Stanley) Yu