home> Nationalities in southwest China> Lahu Nationality

Thatched houses and Long Houses

Most of Lahu villages are located in ridges that are near to a water source in mountain areas. It is not unusual to see their village looming in bamboos or a luxuriant wood.

There are mainly two types of their traditional building: thatched houses based on the ground and storied bamboo houses in Ganlan (split-level) style. Thatched houses are simple in structure, and therefore easy to build. First, several fork-shaped pillars are established on the ground; then the beams, rafters and the thatched roof are laid on them; lastly, bamboos or wood boards are laid around as the wall. This type of building has an antique flavor of "building nests (ancient human houses) with woods."

Storied bamboo houses in Ganlan style are bamboo houses build on wood pillars, including the larger type and the smaller type. A large bamboo house is usually used by a large matriarchal family, while the smaller one by a smaller family. Yet, the two types are almost the same in structure, except that a larger one is usually longer, and thus, is often called as "long house."

A "long house" is about 6 or 7 meters tall. In a rectangular shape, it occupies from 80 or 90 to 200 or 300 square meters. Inside the house, there is a corridor on the side that faces the sun, and on the other there are many small rooms divided by wooden boards. Every small family within the matriarchal family has one or two small rooms. The corridor is shared by all families, and they often set their fireplaces and cooking tools there.

'Long Houses" have reflected the remains of a matriarchate society of the Lahu people in primitive times, and therefore, have great importance for academic researches.

"Competing for New Water" and "Lusheng (a reed pipe wind instrument) Dance" <<