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Storeyed Buildings – Lou


In Chinese, Lou refers to any building of two or more stories with a horizontal ridge. Its history can date back to the Period of the Warring States (475-221 BC.), when Chonglou (“layered houses”) was mentioned in relevant historical records.

Storeyed buildings were built for different purposes. The private two-storeyed buildings usually had the owner’s study or bedroom upstairs. The ones in parks or scenic spots were belvederes from which to enjoy the distant scenery. In this case, sometimes it is translated as tower.

In ancient times, there were bell and drum towers (zhonglou and gulou in Chinese). They were palatial buildings with four-sloped, double-caved, glazed roofs, all-around verandas and eaves supported by colored and carved dougong brackets. They housed a big bell or drum which was used to announce the time; local officials would open the city gates at the toll of the bell early in the morning and close them with the strike of the drum in the evening.

The art of storeyed buildings was highly developed in ancient China. Luckily enough, nowadays we still can enjoy the beauty of some famous ones, such as Yueyang Tower, Huanghelou, etc.



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