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Thread: Keeping Chinese buildings safe from ghosts...

  1. #1
    rpcrowe's Avatar
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    Keeping Chinese buildings safe from ghosts...

    Many houses in China, especially older homes, have an elevated doorstep which you have to step over when entering the house. This is to prevent ghosts from entering the house. It is a common belief amongst the Chinese that ghosts have no knees and thus cannot step over obstructions. The pictures on the doors are also designed to frighten off ghosts.

    Keeping Chinese buildings safe from ghosts...

    Upon entering many Chinese homes, you need to turn left or right as soon as you pass through the door. The building will have some sort of obstruction which prevents you from walking straight in. This is also to prevent ghosts from entering since ghosts can only travel in straight lines. In the case of this 300+ year old rural Chinese home, a tribute to Chairman Mao prevents you from walking straight into the home.

    Keeping Chinese buildings safe from ghosts...

    Other buildings might have other shrines blocking a straight-line entry.

    Keeping Chinese buildings safe from ghosts...

    The bridge over the pond in front of the Huxinting Tea House in Shanghai takes advantage of ghosts’ inability to turn corners. The zig-zag construction keeps the Tea House safe from those spirits.

    Keeping Chinese buildings safe from ghosts...

  2. #2

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    Sahil Jain

    Re: Keeping Chinese buildings safe from ghosts...

    Pretty interesting. And I thought only in India we had some strong superstitions!

  3. #3
    Moderator Dave Humphries's Avatar
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    Re: Keeping Chinese buildings safe from ghosts...

    Yes fascinating, and to think that in England (and this is all I can remember from school) is short doorways and low ceilings because folks 400 years ago were considerably shorter than today plus buildings with small windows because there was a 'window tax' once.

    It's a funny olde world, isn't it?

  4. #4

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    Re: Keeping Chinese buildings safe from ghosts...

    Interesting photos, they let me remember those old days I visited my relatives in countryside in China. I am sure such old houses are still there in many places currently, but don't know how long they will last...

  5. #5
    rpcrowe's Avatar
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    Re: Keeping Chinese buildings safe from ghosts...

    The rural home that I photographed was outsie Yangshuo and was said to be 340 years old. Here are a couple of other images of that home:

    Front of house:
    Keeping Chinese buildings safe from ghosts...

    Kitchen cooking area:
    Keeping Chinese buildings safe from ghosts...

    Water pump in the courtyard:
    Keeping Chinese buildings safe from ghosts...

    Washbasin in the courtyard:
    Keeping Chinese buildings safe from ghosts...

    Shrine to ancestors:
    Keeping Chinese buildings safe from ghosts...

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