more than numbers

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Two zero zero eight.

It’s the year of the Olympics alright. Most radio and TV stations have been broadcasting a daily countdown for the last couple of months now: “just a friendly reminder: the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games are XXX days ahead!”

One thing is for sure though – China would always win gold when it comes to fireworks:

celebratory jeep

Seriously, anything I’ve seen in Europe or the States is child-play against this madness. And New Year’s Eve isn’t even a prime time of fireworks over here.

I took a leisure day and a walk around Wang Family Courtyard 王家大院, another merchant’s private estate from Qing-dynasty, much like Chang Family Mansion (sheepolution) and Qiao Family Courtyard (camel #4).

This time I did something different though: I paid extra money and hired a guide, which proved to be a very good idea. There are so many details to be missed out on otherwise:

Wang Family Courtyard

After the downfall of the Wang-family and the proclamation of the People’s Republic, farmers had been living on these premises up until the mid-nineties.

They had been using the very same buildings and furniture passed on from centuries ago:

within the Wang Family Courtyard

Several families would share a courtyard as if it was just a regular settlement.

…only much more beautiful and refined:

Wang Family Courtyard doorway

From what my guide told me, the remaining parts of Wang Family Courtyard are only about 25% of the original size.

To me, two things still remain unimaginable:

1) the amount of destruction that all these places have suffered.

Wang Family Courtyard architecture

2) the massive size and and the awe-abiding grace and tastefulness of these architectural monuments.

I stayed for a long time:

sunset over Wang Family Courtyard

Looks pretty, doesn’t it.

This is not about photography; finding an angle, pressing a few buttons.

Really, the beauty is all there in that breath-taking moment:

sunset at Wang Family Courtyard

One thing I often get over here is: “Germany? Good! Strong economy!”

But there are just some things money can’t buy.

  • TTL



  • John

    ahhhh, beautiful moment there! photography is all about the moment, for sure, and that one looks like a book cover! well done!! and thank you for sharing all these great images with us!


  • David lee

    I just heard from your friend(Marcal,I am not sure his name,he is in danmare now,a tall and handsome guy,always wear hat, if you play warcraft, he is just like deadking, if he has a white hair 🙂 about your GREAT PROJECt, I am a chinese student, I will pay attention about you everyday if I have time, and I will told my friends about your footprint.

    take care buddy, and follow though


  • Christoph

    TTL: 你也是啊,talking!
    John: There's a proverb in Chinese, it goes 班门弄斧 – "messing with the axe in front of Master Ban's house". Master Ban was a carpenter with such legendary skills that once a wooden bird even took off to fly – or so the saying goes. Anyways this proverb reminds me I shouldn't brag about my mediocre skills in front of more talented and experienced guys like you, John!
    David lee: I have a friend who looks like a character called "deadking" – really? Hahaha, that's hilarious! Anyways, thanks for your support, David!


  • Freya

    而乔家是做生意的,雕塑会让人觉得lack of taste,但其实是另外一种寓意或者追求。房屋的入口会有葡萄藤的浮雕,寓意“多子多福”。有的房间墙壁的厚度超过一米,象征着殷实的家底。



  • Christoph



  • Freya



  • Christoph



  • Meagan

    Absolutely beautiful photographs. They’re quite breathtaking. And the architecture is gorgeous! Such fine detail and so smooth!! I can only imagine how awe-inspiring they are to see in person.


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