The architecture in Huizhou, including civic house, memorial temples, gardens, and archways, manifests a particular art and craft, which is called the Hui style.
The civic house in the region are mostly composed of several countyards, and face the south. They are encircled by high white walls capped with dark eaves. The entrances are framed with brick carvings, the openings on partition walls are adorned with stone carvings, and the window-frames and doorframes are decorated with wood carvings. Arranged symmetrically, each hall sits on the axis with an uncovered skylight at the front of the ceiling, wing rooms standing at the sides, and a dooryard in the front.
Memorial temple are an indispensable part of each village. These are usually built at either end of the village on a slope. They are larger than the average houses in the region, and have two to five layers of courtyards. Built later than the headquarter temples, these branch temples are often larger and more magnificent. The gate towers are of the five-phoenix pattern( a tower whose roof has pairs of wing-shaped tips), with fine brick carvings on the gables. The sacrifice halls have huge beams and columns that are carved with various patterns at the top. The chambers where the ancestral tablets are placed are acarcely adorned, except for some paintings on the ceilings.
Archways are a landmark form of architecture in Huizhou. Most local archways are made of stone. The pedestals are usually in the design of a lion clasping the column, and the carvings on the column and upper part of the archway vary. There are seven archways in Tangyue Village, Shexian Country. They wre built to honor seven members of Bao family for their outstanding morals-loyalty, filial piety, intergrity, and justice. The Eight-corner Archway in the county seat of Shexian was built for an offcial, Xu Guo, on the orders of the Ming Emperor Wanli( ruled from 1573 to 1619). The quadrate stone construction has eight columns that are secured by twelve stone lions at the ends. On its columns and beams are patterns of flowers, clouds, and cranes. The central horizontal beam is inscribed with the words "Shang tai yuan lao", meaning the archway's owner was a senior offcial for three emperors and once worked as the crown prince's teacher. With its rare design and supreme arts and crafts, the archway is a gem of ancient Chinese architecture.
The cream of Hui architecture is its wood, brick, and stone carvings. Located in mountainous area, Huizhou abounds in wood, rocks, and earth that can be made into bricks. Locals always added adornments to their dwellings, archways, and memorial temples. Wood carvings are for beams, bracket arms, handrails, and window frames. Popular patterns include figures, flowers, fowl, animals, insects, fish, clounds, and graphics, and these are usually of auspicious themes, such as the" eight immortals crossing the sea,""magpie in a plum tree," and "five bats around a shou(sign of longevity)."Brick carvings are found at the entrances of gate towers, windows in walled corridors, and some exits within a courtyards. they are usually of figures, flowers, birds,and animal patters, or scenes from folklore and opera stories. Stone carvings are attached to the door covers(brick flashings above a gate), openings in walls, and archways. These mostly depict animals, plants, and traditional graphics.