Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Heating houses and tents

Room in a Tu community

The Tu have a significant minority status in China, and in Xining City there is a community, which has at least three culture centers. These show off the way of life of the Tu, and this is a typical room within their gated community. The platform contains a small wood stove, and a conduit that carries hot gases through the bed of the bed, before exhausting it. As a result the ceramic box is quite warm, and the family can thus sit here and eat, and drink, and if they collapse – we’ll they’re on a bed to start with. The amount of wood required to keep the fire going and heat the ceramic is relatively small, and as I mentioned we saw Pollarded trees, and sheep stretching up to eat new leaves and branches. We sat in here for lunch, around the table, and I was initiated into the ceremony of the three cups. (I also can confirm that ear of yak is quite a pleasant delicacy). The design from the bed came from North East China where the Tu originated. They also had a small still going which produced the ethanol for the ceremony.

The construction illustrates how much benefit can come from an intelligence of need.

In contrast, Tibetan tents, which are of a heavy and dark construction so that they can soak up as much heat from the sun as possible, have a central wall, with a small fire built into it. This is usually fed by dried dung, of which there is a pile usually outside. Outside the cities this is quite a common dwelling for the herders (and workers on the pipeline) though the tents were made of different materials and colors (white being the dominant other).

Central heating structure for a Tibetan tent.

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