The Mushroom House of Hani Ethnic Group
According to the legend, in ancient times, the Hanis lived in caves. Later when they immigrated into a place named “Reluo”, they found a vast field of mushrooms all over the mountain and the plain. The mushrooms could resist wind and rain, and ants and worms build nests under them. Then the Hanis imitated the mushrooms and built up the mushroom houses.
The Mushroom house, just as its name shows, is a mushroom-shaped house. The base of the wall is built by stones or bricks, half a meter high both above and under the ground. Upon the base is the wall, which is made of earth, pressed hard between boards. The roof is covered with multi-layers of couch grass, shaped into four slopes. The inside is usually composed of the principal room, the front veranda and the penthouse. The architectural design of the two-or three-floor mushroom house is very special and charming. The front veranda is connected with the front wall of the principal room, and the penthouse is connected with one or two sides of the principal room. Both the front veranda and the roof of the penthouse are solid soil platform, where people rest and enjoy the cool or dry the reaped crops. The second floor of the principal room is completely walled with clay and the roof is covered with grass three or four meters above the floor.
The space inside is called “Fire Banking Tower”, which is divided with boards to store crops, melons and beans, also a place for the young people of the right age to spend the night. The lowest layer is used to keep livestock and to pile up farm tools. The middle layer is separated into three rooms, in the middle of which is a square fire pool burning throughout the year. When guests come, the host will sit by the pool, serve them a long water pipe, and offer a cup of hot “glutinous rice tea” and a bowl of sweet “sealed wine”. Being buoyant with the wine, the host will sing a song, showing the Hani’s unsophisticated and loud voice, and wishing friendship and good luck to the guests.
Mushroom house is quite durable, warm in the winter and cool in the summer. It possesses a distinctive feature in the culture of local-style dwelling houses in our country. Together with lofty mountains and various terraces, they compose a marvelous grand sight of Hani mountain areas.