Anthropology: Open Access (ISSN: 2688-8688)

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The Residential Characteristics of the Han Nationality in Xinjiang during the Republic of China

Lu Han*

School of History, Nanjing University, China

*Corresponding author: LuHan. School of History, Nanjing University, China. Email:

Received Date: 03 December, 2019; Accepted Date: 18 January, 2020; Published Date: 28 February, 2020

Citation: Han L (2020). The Residential Characteristics of the Han Nationality in Xinjiang during the Republic of China. Anthropol Open Acc 3: 136. DOI: 10.29011/2688-8688.100036.


Unique collision and combination of time, place and persons often produces unique historical civilization. In terms of time, China strengthened its ties with other countries in the Republic of China, which is a period of great change in China’s history. At this time, Xinjiang has also undergone tremendous changes in political, economic and social life; In terms of location, Xinjiang has been a multi-ethnic settlement since ancient times. The continuous integration of ethnic groups living on this land has gradually made Xinjiang a multi-cultural area. In terms of persons, Xinjiang Han people are often a neglected group, and their daily life is even less known. In the unique space-time environment of Xinjiang in the Republic of China, the architecture of Xinjiang Han nationality presents a colorful and vibrant scene of life. By using the methods of historical data collection and economic statistics, this paper investigates the migration of the Han nationality in the mainland of China to Xinjiang from a sociological point of view, and vividly reproduces the basic structure and characteristics of the Han nationality residences in Xinjiang. The prominent features of this paper are as follows: on the basis of the theory of structure and function of human culture, it highlights the inheritance and improvement of traditional Chinese Han residences by Xinjiang Han people in the new living environment, as well as the absorption and reference of local minority buildings and western buildings in Xinjiang. Furthermore, it explores the reasons for the diversification of Han architecture in Xinjiang, and search the general law of the development of human civilization. This paper is helpful for the people of other countries to understand the social life of the Han nationality in Xinjiang and to strengthen the economic and cultural exchanges among the countries in the world.


Diversification Culture; Han nationality; Immigrant Residence

The Han nationality residents migrate into Xinjiang

If Xingjiang’s only claim to fame were that it is China’s largest province and a sixth of its land area, if it only had the highest per capita Gross Domestic Product(GDP) of any province outside the booming coast, or if it could only boast of being home to China’s nuclear test facilities and of having the country’s largest oil reserves. But Xingjiang is also the one province of China with a substantial population that is both Turkic and Muslim. (Figure 1) is a map of the surrounding areas of Xinjiang. Xingjiang is remote from most major world centers. Its westem and southern borders are closer to Baghdad or New Delhi than to Beijing. Trains from Xinjiang’s capital of Urumchi take several days to reach the capital of its northern neighbor, Russia, while its southern neighbors, Afghanistan, Pakistan, and India, are as yet unreachable from Urumchi by direct rail. Its remoteness has surrounded Xinjiang with an aura of exoticism. (Figure 2) is the map of Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region. The nineteenth-century Russian explorer Nikolay Przhevalsky, the hero of Finnish independence C.G. Mannerheim, and the great American newsman Harrison Salisbury were but three out of scores of visitors from both the West and the East who made their way there precisely because of its remoteness and difference from all their usual points of reference [1-3].

Xinjiang is located on the main road of East-West traffic; many ethnic groups have lived here together since ancient times. During the Republic of China, Xinjiang has lived in Uygur, Mongolian, Kazakh, Hui, Han, Manchu and other ethnic groups with a population of about 2 million to 3 million. Among the many ethnic groups living in Xinjiang, the Han immigrants in the late qing dynasty and the republic of China were the most unique because their customs and religious beliefs were very different from those of the local ethnic minorities [4-7]. At the same time, in order to adapt to the new environment and survive, these new immigrants have to change some old living habits and create a new way of life. The Han nationality is one of the earliest inhabitants to enter Xinjiang. Apart from the unconfirmed spontaneous Han immigration, the first organized official Han immigration in history can be traced back to Emperor Wudi of Han Dynasty [8]. Since then, a large number of Han people have migrated to various parts of Xinjiang mainly through the way of land reclamation, immigration, exile and so on. From the Western Han dynasty to the Qing Dynasty, the Han people who migrated to the frontier and the minority nationalities in Xinjiang jointly lived together, developed and defended Xinjiang, and soon integrated into the local minority nationalities. After the Hezhuo riot were calmed down in the reign of Qianlong in Qing Dynasty, the government mainly recruited peasants (about 200,000 people) from Gansu and other northwest provinces to settle and consolidate frontiers in Xinjiang [9]. With the gradual improvement of the local administrative construction, a large number of Gansu Han people went west to Jiayuguan and settled in the north and south of Tianshan Mountains, which is called “Leave for The West Col”.

From Barikun in the east to Manas in the west, there have been Han villages, and they have begun to be counties in an all-round way. After the founding of Xinjiang Province in 1884, Dihua (now Urumqi) replaced Yili as the capital of Xinjiang province. The establishment of Xinjiang province not only increased the number of Han nationality, but also led to the diversification of provincial nationality of Han immigrants. For example, according to the statistics from record and maps of Xinjiang, total population of Xinjiang reached millions in 1902, and the Han nationality accounted for about one-twentieth of the total population [10]. The specific distribution of the Han population in Xinjiang in the late Qing Dynasty can be seen in (Table 1). In addition, before the founding of Xinjiang province, most of the immigrants were from Gansu province. After the founding of Xinjiang province, a large number of Han immigrants from Hunan, Sichuan, Fujian and Guangdong came into being. After these immigrants entered Xinjiang in succession, they lived together with the Han people who migrated to Xinjiang earlier and formed villages. which laid a certain foundation for the immigrants of Han nationality in the mainland of the republic of China.

(Selected from Xue Zongzheng’s Han Nationality, Xinjiang Fine Arts Photography (Selected from Xue Zongzheng’s Han Nationality, Xinjiang Fine Arts Photography Publishing House, P. 63-64, 1996)

The 1911 revolution ended china’s imperial system, which lasted for thousands of years, and created a republic. At this time, there are two different historical stages in Xinjiang. Frist stage: Nominally subordinate to the Beijing government, it was a period of local separatism. Yangzengxin (1912-1928), Jinshuren (1928-1933) and Sheng Shicai (1933-1944) ruled xinjiang successively.

• During the reign of Yang Zengxin, Han people from Gansu, Shanxi and Shaanxi provinces came to Xinjiang most frequently. Some of their Yunnan people came to Xinjiang for political work (Because Yang Zengxin is from Yunnan), and some Shanxi people came to Xinjiang for business. However, most of them are poor farmers, who go to Xinjiang to join relatives and friends, fellow countrymen, or to be resettled by the government. During this period, about 100,000 people came to Xinjiang.

• During the reign of Jinshuren, a great famine occurred in Gansu and Shaanxi, and a great earthquake occurred in Guyuan, Ningxia, resulting in a large number of Han nationality disaster victims in these areas flooded into Xinjiang. As Jinshuren is a native of Gansu, many Gansu people come to Xinjiang to make a living. After the September 18th incident in 1931 (20 years of the republic of China), the northeast Anti-Japanese volunteers, under the interference of Chiang Kai-shek’s “non-resistance doctrine”, retreated into the Soviet Union. Soon afterwards, the Soviet Union repatriated the army (about 2,0000 people) to Xinjiang via Siberia. In addition, thousands of Han Chinese migrated from the Soviet Union to xinjiang from 1932 to 1933.

• During Sheng Shicai’s reign in Xinjiang, when Japanese imperialism invaded China on a large scale, Xinjiang became the rear area of the anti-Japanese war, which caused many Han people in the mainland to settle in Xinjiang. In 1938 (the twenty-seventh year of the Republic of china), the Soviet Union repatriated more than 10,000 overseas Chinese of Han nationality from the far east to Xinjiang. In 1943, the Kuomintang army began to move to xinjiang. In that year, seven regiments and two divisions entered Xinjiang. During this period, the local government of Xinjiang also received and accommodated 20,000 army of volunteers who entered Xinjiang by way of the Soviet Union, adding a large number of northeastern migrants to Xinjiang. After the above three reigns, the Han population in Xinjiang has exceeded 300,000. The second stage: the period when the Nanjing government took over Xinjiang (1944-1950). At this time, the number of Han immigrants has increased significantly. In 1944, the xinjiang government accepted 20,000 inland immigrants. More than 100,000 kuomintang government troops headed by general Tao Shiyue were stationed throughout Xinjiang. According to the statistics of later scholars, by the eve of liberation, the number of Han people had increased to 340,000 to 350,000, and the Han people accounted for 1/10 of the whole Xinjiang [11-13]. At this time, the specific number of Han population in Xinjiang is shown in (Table 2). (Selected from Xue Zongzheng’s Han Nationality, Xinjiang Fine Arts Photography Publishing House, P. 67, 1996).

According to the Xinjiang population survey report of Xinjiang garrison headquarters in 1947, the Han people mainly concentrated in the northern foot of Tianshan Mountains, with Dihua , Hami, Yili and Tacheng areas having the largest number of people, while the other areas have fewer Han people [14-17]. These places are historically important political and military towns, and because of the traffic barriers between the north and south of Tianshan Mountains, there are few Han people in southern Xinjiang. After the Zhang ‘ge’ er Rebellion was settled, the Qing government followed the example of northern Xinjiang and began to land reclamation in the four western cities. So the inland people moved to all parts of southern Xinjiang one after another. By the end of Qing Dynasty, the Han people had been distributed in all parts of Xinjiang. Generally speaking, the vast majority of the Han population in Xinjiang in history still distributes in the eastern and northern regions of Xinjiang. The Han Chinese who emigrated to Xinjiang in the Qing Dynasty and the Republic of China experienced many generations of reproduction, gradually adapted to the local production and life, and formed a unique language and cultural life, being the ancestor of the Han nationality in Xinjiang. They are called “old Xinjiang” by the brotherly ethnic groups in Xinjiang.

Basic Structure and Development Change of Xinjiang Han Residence

Architecture is a portrayal of the times and a reflection of the high concentration of art, culture, science and technology. “National folk architecture is not only the place where people live, but also meets people’s spiritual needs [18]”. Xinjiang Han architecture is a typical example. As a special immigrant group, the Han immigrants in Xinjiang are different from the minority inhabitants and the Han people in their native places in architectural art creation, showing their unique cultural connotation.

Overall layout and planning of residential buildings

Cities and villages have been two basic units for inhabitants since ancient times. In order to strengthen the control of Xinjiang and stabilize the social order of Xinjiang, the Qing government implemented the policy of different nationalities living in different areas. That is to say, in a city, there are three areas inhabited by Manchu, Hui and Han people, which are called Manchu City Proper, Hui City Proper and Han City Proper. The inhabitants of different nationalities can only live in their own ethnic areas and cannot live together. For example, Han people are generally not allowed to live in Hui City Proper, or Manchu City Proper, but only in Han City Proper. After Xinjiang formally established its provincial jurisdiction in 1884, Manchu and Han City Proper gradually merged together. At the same time, the city wall began to use a large number of brick structures, especially the tall and magnificent design of the gate tower, Huiyuan Ancient City is one of the masterpieces (Figure 3). The regime of Xinjiang in the Republic of China changed frequently and the current situation was turbulent and chaotic, which aggravated the population flow among different regions. As a result, the boundaries between Manchu City Proper, Han city Proper and Hui city Proper, were completely abolished, and a situation of coexistence of various nationalities began to emerge. In the same area, there are many different colorfulness and styles of residential buildings, which have their own characteristics.

The basic style and landscape of Han Nationality Urban Area. Most of the cities are surrounded by solid walls, with four or seven gates for entry and exit at intervals (Figure 4). As a whole, a square Tucheng similar to the ancient city of the Central Plains has been formed. Most of the buildings in the city are symmetrically distributed, mainly consisting of wooden structures, such as columns, rafters, beams, trusses, rafters, etc. They are mainly used for office, barracks, temples, shops, residential and other purposes. The four corners of the roof of the main buildings (monasteries, gatehouse, etc.) in the urban area are mostly slightly upward, and form a residential style with closed courtyard groups as the main body. Among them, Dihua City is the most typical: On both sides of the main street stood a solid two-storey building with guards in fixed places on the sidewalk. Shops on both sides of the street have counter, and the shopkeeper stands behind the counter.

Outside some shops, there are paper lanterns and signs written in Chinese characters [19]. (Figure 5) In the late Republic of China, some cities began to appear semi-Westernized buildings.

The basic style and landscape of Han villages

There are villages around the city, often located in the oasis of the Gobi Desert, because villages must be built near live water that can be used for irrigation and drinking. The distance between villages and villages is usually very far away. Each household in the village has a soil wall with a height of more than 3 meters and a thickness of up to 1 meter, which has a certain defensive capacity. Such walls are used not only to keep out the wind and cold, but also to protect against thieves. Most of the villages are arranged along the main road, and there are few houses in the depth direction, so the end of the village intersecting with the front of the road is often narrow and long. The houses in the villages are very simple but very solid and practical. Most of them are civil houses with sloping or flat roofs. Where there are villages, there must be countless ditches, large and small, crisscrossing, with rows of willows planted on both sides (Figure 6).

Housing conditions of different classes of people

Through the first part of this article, we can easily find that the Han nationality who moved to Xinjiang came from almost all the provinces of China at that time. The composition of these Han immigrants is very complex: some are politicians who come to cling to their fellow townsman; some are scholars who seek good luck; some are businessmen from all over the country; some are poor peasants who live in poverty in their ancestral home, and even many homeless and illegal people. Besides, there are the descendants of prisoners exiled to Xinjiang in order to enrich the army, they have lived in Hami for many generations [20]. Generally speaking, after they moved to Xinjiang, they mainly engaged in five occupations: official, merchant, soldier, worker and farmer. In different historical stages, the occupational distribution of Han immigrants has obvious geographic characteristics. Moreover, the occupation of the Han nationality has gradually changed from singleness to complexity. Generally, there are fewer people engaged in a single occupation, mainly government officials and wealthy businessmen. However, some people at the bottom of the society who are under the pressure of life tend to have multiple occupations in order to survive. If a man is a soldier in the morning, he may take off his military uniform and become a peddler, a shaver, a cobbler or a farmer in the afternoon [21]. Therefore, restricted by the economic situation, the structure of different classes of housing is also different. Specifically, the area, structure, decoration and furnishings of each building represent the owner’s status and income.

• The house of the government officials. Local officials in China usually work and live in the same construct, which is called courtyard dwellings. The courtyard refers to the courtyard with houses in east, west, north and south (Figure 7). The office area is located in the front half of the house, while the residence is located in the latter half of the house. This kind of house is usually allocated to officials by the government, so it is more particular about layout. The size and scale of courtyards are naturally different with different official ranks. Generally, a courtyard wall divides the courtyard into inner and outer courtyards. The ground inside the courtyard is mostly paved with Blue square bricks, so that the ground does not accumulate water after rain. Entering the courtyard, there was a screen wall in front of the entrance of the inner courtyard, which was carved with exquisite patterns. Then there are five or seven principal rooms, some of which have corridors, and even the wing-room on both sides have corridors. Inside the room are walls of color decoration and ceilings, with mahogany tables and square sofa beds. There are vases, mirrors or clocks on the wall. In the middle of the courtyard, there is a flower bed and a big fish tank. Elegant single-storey buildings in the backyard. The whole courtyard is shaded with trees, and the eaves and arches are magnificent and magnificent. Among them, Sheng Shicai’s official mansion belongs to this kind of building: “Inside the door is an open courtyard, scattered with flowers, trees, quiet and pleasant. After walking through the courtyard is a step, there is a small fountain in front of the step, spring water gushed out, gurgling sound. The reception room is simple and elegant, with plenty of light and warm as spring [22].

• The residence of rich businessmen. There is a Chinese proverb: “Wealth does not live in the northwest house, winter is not warm, summer is not cool.” Because of the abundant funds as the material basis, the houses of the wealthy families are also the most exquisite. They are generally willing to live in a quadrangle building with symmetrical left and right sides facing the north. The courtyard should be neat, spacious and bright. No downward steps are allowed at the door of the house, because this means that they jump into the pit as soon as they enter the door. The residential areas of Tianjin immigrants were typical representatives of Han merchant residence at that time, mainly distributed in Fantai Lane (today’s Mingde road), delta (today’s peace road), Manchu Cities (today’s Jianguo road), Beiliang (today’s Democratic road) and other places. Liu Guiming, a businessman from Yangliuqing in Tianjin, occupies more than 450 square meters of private residence in Fantai Lane. There are two black doors on the high steps in front. The door sill is about 30 centimeters high, which is a living plug-in type and can be taken down. There is a square stone stool on both sides of the front door. The entrance hallway is about 2.5 meters wide, followed by two butter-painted wooden doors. The courtyard is square and paved with large blue bricks. In the courtyard, there are three big houses in north and south, three small houses in east and west, four buildings in proportion, front porch and back building, and the layout is reasonable. All houses are brick and wood frame structures. The doors and windows of the room are all decorated with antique checks. The middle room is a central room with bedrooms on both sides. The interior is paved with small square bricks and heated by a stove. There are flower beds in the middle of the courtyard. Every summer morning glory climbs up the four walls to the roof. The whole courtyard looks simple, unsophisticated and quiet [23].

• Residence of ordinary people. Ordinary people have only one row of houses with a walled courtyard outside. There are fewer courtyards in one household, most of which are large and miscellaneous courtyards where three or five families live together. There are fewer brick-and-wood houses and the layout is simple. Town houses are shabby quadrangles, or only rows of houses with courtyard walls. Ordinary peasants often build their houses in front of their cultivated land, and the houses are arranged in a row. Every family keeps dogs or uses thorns as walls to ensure their own safety [24]. Most of the ordinary people’s houses are low and humble. All houses are built with adobe without foundation stone. The roof usually has rafters and beams, which are covered with reeds and straw and then smoothed with straw mud. A family’s house ranges from one to four rooms. The house is generally sitting north and facing south,that is, opening the main door in the south. The north house is the principal room, the east and west rooms are the wing-rooms, and the south house is mostly the place where debris is piled up or used as a mill or kitchen. In addition, in Turpan, where ancient Gaochang stateis located, there is also a popular adobe building with basement, commonly known as “Diwozi”(a semi-underground house), which is low cost, warm in winter and cool in summer [25-26].

• Temporary residence of itinerant trader and Passengers-Inn. Because it is only a temporary residence, the inn’s interior and exterior structure are very simple and crude. There are no windows in the house, only a small hole in the roof to circulate air, so the room is very dark, the indoor Adobe Kang occupies most of the position, only a narrow access road. The ceiling under the roof is made of hay, covered with a black and oily layer, and smells bad [27]. This is the result of years of heating by burning livestock manure. The hay as the ceiling has been loose, straw stalks have been dragged down, the small hole on the roof is only the size of an ordinary chimney, which can circulate air and leak into the sunlight. If the small hole is closed, because there are no windows in the room, the whole room is suddenly dark. But for experienced businessmen at that time, this kind of house without windows had many advantages: Firstly, the hot sunshine can’t come in, and passengers can sleep peacefully (because most of the passengers are on day break); Secondly, the hot summer air is not easy to penetrate this kind of earthen house. Thirdly, because of the darkness of the house, when the door was closed, the flies did not like the darkness and flew out of the hole in the roof immediately. Fourthly, this kind of house can avoid the storm and the whirlwind sand in the Gobi Desert. Finally, thieves can’t come in, tired travelers can fall asleep safely and never worry about losing something in a deep sleep.

In summary, during the period of the republic of China, the distribution of Han nationality dwellings in Xinjiang was relatively concentrated. Even Han farmers living outside the city built their dwellings close to the city. Most houses are quadrangles built with civil or brick. The roof is a flat or sloping one-sided sloping roof with no eaves tile and replaced by mud. The walls are painted with white lime. In order to live more comfortably and pay more attention to the light and temperature in the room, the doors and windows of the house are all open to the south. Typically, there is a large fireplace in the room, and the doors and windows are closed tightly, and the interior is paved with thick blankets to prevent the cold from entering the interior through the cracks in the floor. The courtyard was enclosed with fences around the house. The size, structure, decoration and furnishing of each house are closely related to the owner’s status and income.

The overall characteristics of the Han nationality residences in Xinjiang

Geographical environment is the basis for human being to engage in agricultural and animal husbandry production and industrial production. In a sense, it decides people’s production content and life style, and then affects people’s personality, psychological quality and system state. The Han people in Xinjiang of the Republic of China are experiencing such a shock and change, and their social life is just the most intuitive reflection of the results of this environmental change. “The complexity of cultural structure determines the comprehensiveness of regional cultural characteristics. Regional cultural characteristics reflect the essence of regional culture, not the simple summation of various cultural departments in the region [28].” Regardless of the geographical environment or the humanistic environment, Xinjiang is a colorful and diversified world, which makes the Han nationality residences in Xinjiang present the unique characteristics of pluralism and practicability. This characteristic is embodied in the following aspects. First, on the one hand, Han immigrants leave their homeland to Xinjiang thousands of miles away, and they will surely miss their hometown and relatives. It is impossible to reunite with relatives because of the inconvenience of transportation. After they moved to Xinjiang, they insisted on keeping some of the living habits of their hometown, so as to establish the connection between their hometown and their relatives as well as alleviate their homesickness. On the other hand, the maintenance of living habits could be in the same or similar natural and cultural environment in order to maintain the prototype, not easy to change.

If there is a huge gap between the new environment and the population’s original environment, the adherence to this kind of living habits will face enormous challenges. Because the external living environment has undergone tremendous changes, in order to adapt to the drought and rainless environment in Xinjiang, the Han people who emigrated to Xinjiang are forced to change some of their past living habits. In addition, Xinjiang Han immigrants originally come from different areas of china, even if they are all Han people, because of this reason, their living habits are not exactly the same. In this complex external environment, the dwellings of the Han nationality in Xinjiang and the traditional Han nationality show both characteristics of individuality and commonality. The similarities between the two are mainly reflected in the following aspects: the design style and structural layout of the houses of the Han nationality in Xinjiang generally follow the quadrangular courtyard buildings overlapped by the Han nationality in their original residence; the livestock circle is closely linked with the apartment yard of the house, showing the landscape of people and animals living together closely. Until the rise of the glass industry, the Han people still used latticed windows, which were pasted with paper to get light. The Han nationality is a traditional farming nation. Land is the foundation of real estate and house is the appendage of real estate. Even the poorer owner-peasant still have some private property to protect, such as farm tools, seeds and rations. In addition, in order to save the cost of heating in cold winter, the Han people here also live together generation by generation or even three generations. Thus, during the Republic of China, quadrangular houses in generally existed because they could meet the needs of life. Even ordinary people’s housing is also a small-scale quadrangle form of housing. The difference between the immigrants and the original Han nationality is that because of the cold and drought in Xinjiang and the lack of rain, most of the houses are made of adobe, with flat roofs or single sloping roofs with small slopes, and roofs with no tiles are only covered with mud. The room has heating equipment, and the doors and windows are closed, and the windows are double-decked. In order to make the house warmer, thick carpets will be laid on the floor of the room to prevent the cold from entering the room through cracks in the floor [29]. This seemingly simple mud house has the advantages of saving wood and keeping warm. It can fully reduce the temperature difference between day and night, making people spring all year round, so as to provide a warm and comfortable living environment for Han immigrants See (Figure 8).

Second, the same geographical environment has the same or similar influence on the physiological characteristics, personality characteristics and psychological quality of the population. As mentioned above, during the period of the Republic of China, the borders of the areas inhabited by Manchu, Han and Hui nationalities were gradually broken, and the coexistence of all nationalities began to emerge. This means that the Han nationality and other minority nationalities in Xinjiang have the humanistic effect of spreading and absorbing each other’s cultures because they live in the same and similar geographical environment. Therefore, in the aspect of housing construction, the ethnic minorities and the Han nationality in Xinjiang have interacted and infiltrated each other, which has continued to this day. The traditional building structure of the Han nationality is beam-column structure, but influenced by the Uygur ethnic group. The Han nationality in Xinjiang no longer use columns, but directly put beams and rafters on the thick earth wall. As for the fuel used for heating in winter, the Han immigrants who lived in Xinjiang for a long time also learned to take local materials and began to use the tree roots in the desert. It is a kind of black and hard wood, which must be cut into small pieces and dried in the sun. It can be like coal, and it has great heat. Unfortunately, this kind of fuel production is not very large, so most Han people can only use animal manure as fuel in winter, cow manure is the best in the manure, because it is easy to dry, but also can emit hot heat [30]. At the same time, the construction, decoration and decoration of the Han people are gradually accepted by the local minorities. Therefore, the traditional architectural culture of the Han nationality can often be seen in the dwellings of minority nationalities in Xinjiang. For example, in the towns and villages of Shanshan area, the upper eyebrows of the door frames of the household doors are mostly decorated with “household pairs” (the proper term of ancient architecture is also known as the door hairpin). It is obvious that the simplified construction style of Qing Dynasty was adopted in the heavy rafters part of the door of the wealthier families. Some residential doors are flanked by elements similar to “Mendang” (the proper term for ancient architecture, also known as “drum-holding stone” or“dismount stone”, usually round or oblong stones). In addition, the assembly of beams and columns apparently adopts the Chinese-style mortise and tenon technology, and the sculpture and paintings on the beams and columns are almost completely imitated, even the decoration and patterns of sunk panel often reflect the trace of Chinese culture See (Figure 9).

Last, after the revolution of 1911, due to the collapse of the monarchy and the establishment of the republic, the Chinese people gained unprecedented political and ideological liberation. So they are more courageous and confident in accepting new culture and lifestyle. Although Xinjiang is located in a remote area, it is still the only place for the ancient silk road and has frequent trade with the Soviet Union [31-33]. In addition, since 1937, some progressives in China have come to Xinjiang to carry out their ambitions because of their dissatisfaction with the corrupt rule of the Kuomintang. These changes in the new period make Xinjiang present a vibrant scene in many aspects. The westernization and russification of Xinjiang Han dwellings is one of them. Since the 1940s, western-style civil housing and western-style institutions have appeared in Xinjiang. Government officials, wealthy businessmen and intellectuals were the first people to live in Western-style buildings and use western-style furniture, while ordinary people kept the traditional way of living because of lack of opportunities and conditions. Li chenzhu, a famous industrialist of the Republic of China, once visited Xinjiang. His residence in east garden is as follows: “The front room is a dining room and entertainment room, with billiards and phonograph record in the middle of the house. There are two fireplaces in the room. Although the outside is ice and snow, the interior is warm as spring [34]. It can be seen that fireplaces, Western-style tables and chairs, gramophones and so on have become the most fashionable decorations and decorations in the residences of officials and wealthy businessmen, as well as the symbol of their status and status. From the point of view of the transmission area, the westernization and russianization tendencies of Xinjiang Han dwellings are always unbalanced, and the cities change faster, deeper and wider than the countryside. For example, in the Tacheng area, which is closer to the Soviet Union, there are street lamps, coal burning in houses, kerosene lamps, and European-style decorations. In addition, there are Russian consulates and telecommunications bureaus [35]. Meanwhile, Dihua City, which has become the political and commercial center of Xinjiang, also appeared many two to three-storey buildings or Western-style house See (Figure 10).

Hugo, the great French writer, said: “People’s thoughts are like all the laws of religion, and they have their own monuments. There is no important idea that human beings are not written on stone by the art of architecture.” Architecture in each historical period reflects the cultural era, national and regional characteristics. During the period of the Republic of China, the formation of the unique characteristics of the diversification of the houses of the Han nationality in Xinjiang was mainly caused by three factors. Firstly, the traditional Chinese conservative ideas and social production and life style were greatly impacted during the Republic of China. To a certain extent, it accelerated the collapse of Chinese feudal society and the emergence of a series of factors such as modern politics, economy and culture. This has an inevitable impact on Xinjiang, which has the largest area, the largest ethnic composition and the longest border in China. Secondly, it is also important that since the unification of the Western Regions by the Han Dynasty, Xinjiang has become one of the busiest traffic routes on the Asian continent. Businessmen, monks, soldiers, officials, unlucky intellectuals, nomads looking for new pastures, pioneers looking for land and travelers who cannot be classified across the Eurasian continent mostly pass through Xinjiang and leave their traces behind. They brought Eastern or western cultures, constantly enriching and impacting Xinjiang’s local culture. Finally, the history of the Han people in Xinjiang began in the process of incorporating this region into the territory of China, and the increase and decrease of its number changed with the prosperity and decline of the motherland. The inhabited areas of the Han nationality are mainly concentrated in the northern part of the eastern Xinjiang. They mainly use the unmanned land along the southern edge of the Junggar Basin, which is the grassland area north of the Tianshan Mountains occupied by nomads, to cultivate and reclaim, instead of occupying the cultivated land in the oasis area of the southern Xinjiang. The Han nationality in Xinjiang has gradually adapted to the arid and rainless natural and geographical environment in northern Xinjiang through constant changes, so that the living habits and external environment of the Han nationality can be harmonized and unified. Therefore, in the process of continuous adaptation, integration and development, Xinjiang Han culture has basically maintained the traditional folk customs, but also has a strong multi-provincial, multi-ethnic mixed characteristic.


Human history is always changeable and colorful, which is the charm of history. The Han nationality residence in Xinjiang may be only a small part of the human history, although it is a drop in the bucket, it is very unique and indispensable. The Han people, together with the people of Xinjiang, have developed and constructed this vast oasis in the wilderness. They have also experienced great changes with their brothers and nationalities in this area. The special and complicated historical background and geographical environment make the Han nationality dwellings in Xinjiang present diversified characteristics. It combines the cultural elements of the Han and other minority nationalities, and absorbs the cultural elements of the East and the West. It has not only the beauty of strict and standardized Han people, but also the beauty of simple and practical minorities, and also the beauty of open enthusiasm in the West. On the contrary, the Han nationality residence in Xinjiang in the Republic of China also reflect the specific characteristics of the times, geography and national culture from a vivid and intuitive life level. It even outlines the trajectory and process of the formation of a certain human civilization. Human civilization is probably blending with each other in the constant adaptation to the new environment, and eventually developing little by little.

Figure 1: Is a map of the surrounding areas of Xinjiang.

Figure 2: Is the map of Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region.

Figure 3: Huiyuan Ancient City.

Figure 4: South Gate Tower of Dihwa.

Figure 5: Street View of Dihua City in 1910.

Figure 6: Rural Xinjiang Photographed by Swiss Missionaries.

Figure 7: Hand-painted Courtyard Dwellings.

Figure 8: Qitai County in 1907.

Figure 9: Hui Mosque in the Republic of China.

Figure 10: Mingyuan Gate built by Sheng Shicai's father-in-law.

Population (person)






















































Wushi Hall



























Table 1: The specific distribution of the Han population in Xinjiang in the late Qing Dynasty.

Regions (District) Population (people)

Regions (District) Population (people)

Dihua 13688

Ashan 4104

Yili 27 661

Hetian 996

Kashga 2731

Yanqi 1682

Aksu 1 325

Hami 20251

Tacheng 26 229

Shache 654

Table 2: Population Statistics of the Han Nationality after 1944.


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