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Sustainability 2019, 11(3), 586;

A Study on the Public Landscape Order of Xinye Village
Graduate School of Design, National Yunlin University of Science and Technology, Yunlin 64002, Taiwan
Shanghai Institute of Design, China Academy of Art, Hangzhou 310002, China
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 7 November 2018 / Accepted: 18 January 2019 / Published: 23 January 2019


In the modernization process since China’s reform and liberalization, urban and village space design is reflected in the characteristics of Western cultures. The idea of Western space design has a profound influence on China, but the piecemeal individuation of art design, the disorderly public art modeling and concept, not only interferes with the aesthetic sense of urban and village public space itself, but also seriously affected the landscape order of public space. In fact, Chinese traditional settlement landscape excels in abundant landscape design and spatial sequence. This paper, using the methods of literature discussion, field research and spatial analysis, takes the typical traditional landscape settlement “Xinye Village” (新葉村) in the south of the Yangtze River as an example, and explores its public landscape order as a whole, and finds its spatial structure based on the “Five Elements and Nine Divisions (五行九宮)” cultural schemata. In the process of development, it has experienced the competition of public space, thus forming a stable and sustainable spatial order form. The purpose is to explore the cultural schema of the public landscape from the traditional Chinese settlement, and to put forward the possibility of “constructing the public landscape order based on culture” in future urban and village landscape design.
settlement; culture; public landscape; landscape order; Xinye Village

1. Introduction

With its continuing reform and liberalization, China has been going through a rapid development of urban construction with accelerating rural urbanization. Meanwhile, there are also over-crowded large cities, ubiquitous commercialization in public space, and disorderly environmental landscapes. The stress of urban life is suffocating and even causing an increasing ratio of depression. By contrast, some villages in China still preserve a traditional public landscape order. Therefore, in their spare time, far away from the cold concrete jungle and heavy traffic flow, more and more people go to the countryside to travel and enjoy the natural or traditional cultural landscape. The crisis of public space has a direct impact on the construction of public landscape order. On the one hand, public space is affected by social and economic benefits, and more complex factors have appeared, which leads to the increase of the instability of public landscape. On the other hand, public space is divorced from the organic connection of nature and lacks the spirit of place that embodies culture; the sustainability of public landscape order is challenged.
Public space and public life form public landscape, and show the relationship of dialectical development. The change of public space and public life will also cause the change of public landscape. Public landscape maintains the stability and sustainable development of public space. In the countryside, Chinese people have long depended on their families for survival. Their living space contains the “public culture” of the ethnic group and dominates the public landscape consciousness of settlement. In order to meet the functional or symbolic demands of public space, the authority of ethnic groups, the consensus of ethnic groups and the spirit of stabilizing ethnic groups are established, and the interests of families and the relations between families are maintained. In the public space of settlements, the unique landscape artistic conception and landscape order are created by combining cultural beliefs. At the same time, the public landscape of settlements contains wisdom about living space and living resources, and shapes the relationship between human beings, culture and nature: it regulates the relationship between humans and the environment, the relationship between people and others, and the relationship between human and themselves, emphasizes the harmonious relationship between humans, nature and society, and then creates the stability and sustainability of the public landscape.
As Lao Zi (老子) put it, “Human follows the earth, the earth follows heaven, heaven follows Dao (道), and Dao follows nature” [1]. Kay Milton (2007) [2] said: “Culture is a medium for human interaction with the environment. Culture is an indispensable part of human beings. Because if there is no culture, human beings cannot obtain the material and social resources from which they depend.” These two perspectives together illustrate that space is organized through the operation of cultural, natural or social processes, which is best represented by Xinye Village (新葉村).
The design of the village is centered on “water” and based on “five elements and nine divisions (五行九宮)”. It is a typical settlement with the traditional design philosophy. "Five Elements and Nine Divisions" is a method of simulating celestial phenomena and astronomy to create space order [3]. "A symbol of the sky and comply with the geography" is an important concept of Chinese space culture. The Book of Changes (易經): "When people know the law of the formation and operation of the sky, they understand the forming principle of the landscape of the mountains and rivers on the ground” [4]. Public landscape sequence is a spatial form that reflects and merges current nature functions, social culture, politics and economic environment [5]. The Xinye Village lies in the hilly and mountainous areas of the west of Zhejiang Province. It integrates culture and living resources, creating space order in which the natural and tranquil landscape can be felt.
Taking Xinye Village as an example, this paper discusses its public landscape order based on the “Five Elements and Nine Divisions.” According to the literature research and field investigation, the analysis and empirical research of public space and ritual behavior landscape are carried out with the help of geographical information and literature data. The purpose is to explore the landscape pattern of Chinese traditional culture and the public landscape order it creates, so as to provide reference for future innovation of urban public landscape order.

2. Literature Review

Local literature is the basic information source of this study, which mainly focuses on public space construction, local emotion, spirit and culture. For example, Zhihan Wang (2006) [6] discussed the three-month festival of Xinye Village; written by Jianliang Ye and Zhichang Chen (2011) [7], A Taste of Xinye featured the austere local spirit and emotion. Qiuxiang Li (2007) [8] studied the cultural belief and landscape construction of Xinye Village. Weinan Liang and Li’na Zhao (2016) [9] explored the elements of public space, the characteristics of public space, and the relationship between public space and behavior in Xinye Village.
Study on settlement landscape in China was based on material spatial study in the early stage and moved on to a broader discussion on divisions and places of historical interests in line with dynasties. Take Dunzhen Liu’s (1984) [10] History of Ancient Chinese Architecture as an example. Reading through this book offered a communication trend from the north to the south of the design concepts of Chinese public landscape sequences and the settlement trend based on water in Jiangnan after the Southern Song Dynasty. The current study of the public landscape sequence in rural areas, however, inclines us to expand to the overall settlement system, and focuses on the psychology, spirit, cosmological culture, regional characteristics and social life. For instance, Zhihua Chen and Qiuxiang Li (2011) [11] discussed in the “Chinese Heritage· Countryside Architecture: Xinye Village”, from the perspective of history and culture, uncovered the intact village structure within the settlement life circle by means of dynamic development and comparative association. In “Chinese Domestic Architecture: Analysis of Traditional Residential Architecture”, Senlin Liu (2009) [12] researched the impact of settlement residents’ psychology and mentality upon the environmental space and analyzed domestic architecture and mentality, domestic architecture and the cosmic system, and the public mentality of auspicious choice. In Report of Mountain Area Development in China, Guojie Chen, Yiping Fang, Yong Chen, et al. (2007) [13] examined the macro, medium and micro patterns of mountain area settlement distribution. Haiqing Wu (2011) [14] in the "Formation of Jiangnan Scenery and Chinese Aesthetic Culture" held that intellectuals all aspired to a picturesque residential space due to the fact that the Southern Song Dynasty was content to retain sovereignty in Jiangnan. Baode Han (2006) [15] in Fengshui and Environment revealed environmental features from the perspective of Fengshui. In terms of the cognitive model of the cosmos in Chinese tradition, Lizhen Lv (1990) [16] in the "Outline of Neo-Confucianism" puts forward the “Chinese traditional cognitive model of the universe,” and analyzed the relationship among heaven, people and the society in the space.
The current public landscape research focuses on the relationship between public art, place spirit and social life. For example, Jinchang Liu (2016) [17], analyzed the significance of space field and how the art, culture and environment can be connected. Pi-Fen Wang, Ming-Chyuan Ho (2012) [18] explored practice and types of sacred space to construct a preliminary conceptual model for designing sacred space. Xuzheng Zeng (2014) [19] put forward the basic subject of building community public life and public space. Yin-Jen Chen, Su-Hsin Lee (2016) [20] believed that “Public Space” becomes the most important landscape connecting indigenous interactive activities and public relationships within their daily life. Chu-joe Hsia (2007) [21] argues the historical dialogue between cities to discuss the cultures of Chinese cities, the building of public space, and the meanings of public arts.
The related foreign literature goes as follows: Reginald G. Golledge and J. Stimson (2003) [22] analyzed spatial behavior from a geographic perspective. Grant W. Reid (1994) [23] argued the scenery from thought to form. Bryan Lawson (2013) [24] researched spatial language from multiple angles. Christopher Alexander (1991) discussed the eternity of architecture and spatial model. Francis D.K. Ching (2015) [5] comprehensively researched architectural design and the relationship between space and sequence. Jacinta Francis, Billie Giles-Corti, Lisa Wood, Matthew Knuiman (2012) [25] discussed “Creating sense of community: The role of public space”. Maryam Ziyaee (2018) [26] assessed urban characteristics through cultural landscape matrix. R. Altin and C. Minca (2017) [27] wrote “Exopolis reloaded: fragmented landscapes and no human’s lands in a North-Eastern Italian border region.” A. Höglhammer, A. Muhar, P. Stokowski, T. Schauppenlehner and R. Eder (2018) [28] present the results show that public open spaces are not regarded as important leisure spaces but rather private areas for leisure purposes.
Settlement public landscape can symbolize the unique identity of the settlement, and improve the residents’ and tourists’ memory of spatial characteristics in the environment. Settlement is a space identity through the combination of landscape and culture, and in the description of the location, different settlement landscape elements have different functions. This paper attempts to describe the cultural identity of the settlements by linking them with natural resources, cultural beliefs and social life. With the help of geographic information such as public landscape orientation, orientation and layout, combined with local culture and ethnic life, the composition of public landscape is analyzed. It will also discuss the links between public landscapes, the interaction between the public landscape and human beings, as well as the spatial order constructed by settlement public landscape.

3. Method

This paper uses the methods of literature discussion, field investigation and spatial analysis. In spatial analysis, schema cognition and spatial analysis are used as specific research methods. Schema cognition has been an important method of cognitive space-time in China since ancient times, such as the typical cognitive space tool in the Han Dynasty (漢代); The Eight Trigrams (八卦) symbols in the book of changes are presented in the form of schema; Yin Yang (陰陽) Tai Chi (太極) and the five elements (五行) can interpret the operation rules of the universe through schemata. In the West, schema first appeared in the philosophical works of Immanuel Kant (1724–1804). Gestalt psychology was the first to attach theoretical importance to schema. Jean Piaget (1896–1980), a famous Swiss psychologist, believed that “schema refers to the structure or organization of action.” Spatial analysis refers to the technique of studying things in geometry or geographical properties. Spatial analysis is also used as a tool to verify the occultation length [29]. Therefore, we will draw lessons from the traditional Chinese spatial schema cognitive method combined with the current geospatial analysis methods. We designed detailed research steps, in-depth research framework in order to carry out this study.

3.1. Research Steps

3.1.1. Data Collection

The data in this paper come from comprehensive literatures, which include seeking the cooperation of settlement residents, local governments and scholars, and collecting various relevant information through historical documents and field surveys of settlement, searching local literatures, investigating the landscape layout of settlement, and statistical data of public open space and geographical environment. Participatory observation on the spot helped us understand the basic situation of village cases, collect genealogy, local literature and local cultural relics departments, with regard to the “Village Historic Architecture and Cultural Conservation Planning” and other information, compared the location of “public space” and its historical rise and decline with the sample data obtained from field trips.

3.1.2. Research Design

The prerequisite for establishing analytical methods is to design a research framework, in order to help better integrate research methods and content in the process of research, to explore the relevant elements of public landscapes and the basic cultural framework they comprise, and to better assist spatial content analysis in the process of research. The construction of “public landscape order” is put forward as a result.

3.1.3. Research Analysis

Through taking the public landscape of Xinye Village as a case study, collating the local literature and sample obtained from field interviews, comparing the location of “public space” on the map and its landscape construction, using chart cognition and spatial analysis, and making the systematic analysis of the related spatial theory, this paper discusses the public landscape order system of settlement: the connection between the public spatial landscape, and the exploration of the potential spatial culture, The spatial position, distribution, shape, orientation, and topological relation of the common landscape of settlement are analyzed.

3.1.4. Research Discussion

With the help of the viewpoint of competition theory and geospatial information, the competition hypothesis of “public space” is put forward by means of graphical cognitive analysis. We can find detailed descriptions of all variables related to public activities and public space, compare and study the “competition” between public spaces, study the changes of public space in the development process of villages, and compare the crisis, decline or sustainable development of “public space.” This paper evaluates the frequency, variables and vitality of public space through discussion, and concludes the “competition” law between “public space” and puts forward the dynamic development pattern of public space and the relatively stable field construction mode.

3.2. Research Framework

This paper takes the public space of “Xinye Village” as an example. The “public space” of the village is constructed and developed on the basis of Xishan Temple. It presents a unique landscape form and creates a public space landscape pattern and order of the “Five Elements and Nine Palaces”. The contradiction between population expansion and limited resources has gradually emerged. Each branch has formed a competitive relationship between space and life, leading to ethnic differentiation (Figure 1).

4. Construction of Settlement Public Space

4.1. Spatial Design of XinyeVillage Settlement

As was written in the Genealogy of the Yuhua Ye Family: “the Family had been living in Hucen (湖岑) of Shouchang (壽昌) region for generations but moved to the west of Yuhua in 1208. Since the first generation in Xinye Village, the Family has stayed away from wars, natural disasters and man-made misfortunes, maintained the cohesion of a consanguineous settlement, developed into a huge clan, and thus gradually achieved a systemic spatial design at macro, medium and micro levels. The landscape planning of Xinye Village has expanded to the surrounding rural areas, which is in line with what was described in Er Ya · Shi Di · Wu Fang (《爾雅•釋地•五方》) by Guo, Pu (郭璞), a Fengshui master: “Rural areas are basically areas outside cities, pastures are the areas outside rural areas, fields outside pastures, forests outside fields, Shang outside forests.” As was portrayed in Meng Zi · Li Lou Shang (《孟子•離婁上》): “To increase geopotential height, one must depend on hills and mountains; to decrease geopotential height, one must rely on rivers and lakes.” Located along the upstream section of Qiantang River, Xinye Village falls in the typical lower mountain and hill area to the south of Yangtze River. It is within the northern limits of the subtropical monsoon climate, featuring warm and humid weather, abundant rainfall and plentiful river branches, four distinct seasons and ample sunshine. It has a history of over 800 years since the first generation of the Yuhua Ye Family came to settle here and went through the Song Dynasty, the Yuan Dynasty, the Ming Dynasty, the Qing Dynasty and the Republic of China. The descendants of the Ye Family have kept the structure and spatial landscape of this village [11]. Zhu Lianfa (2007) [30] mentioned that “Jin Renshan (金仁山), a neo-Confucian philosopher in the Yuan Dynasty, selected the location for Xinye Village during Jiande Period, and Ye Tianxiang and Ye Yuqing, the descendants of Ye Family in the Ming Dynasty designed its layout and spatial landscape. Based on the nine I Ching hexagrams of Yin and Yang unifying Heaven and Earth, and the essence of hexagrams that in the end all are in a cycle that returns to the beginning,” they built around100 intersecting streets and alleys, forming a unity of Qian (Heaven) and Kun (Earth). The Construction of “Five Elements and Nine Divisions” Public Landscape order based on the system of number and principle, the spatial system was developed delicately and sophisticatedly layer by layer.
Due to the Chinese philosophical notion that “Tao follows nature”, the pursuit of open space and semi-open space outweighs the pursuit of confined space and the open public space naturally forms a public landscape sequence [31]. Through the observation, analysis and research of the site selection and development of Xinye Village, it is found that its public space sequence is based on “Five Elements and Nine Divisions,” which is both connected and separated from the inside out and from the outside in. From dots to lines to surfaces to three-dimensional space via pavilions, Towers, roads, alleys, rivers, ponds, halls and temples, these landscape models have been wholly shaped into a systematic landscape sequence. The pattern not only fits the interior landscape of the settlement, but also links the exterior space of the settlement. As it belongs to every villager, the public landscape has been able to foster a secured and orderly residential space. Security, with relevant factors such as physical condition, will, values, judgments, imagination and self-realization, is the inherent function of traditional Chinese settlement landscape. The sense of environmental security is also related to power [32], in that a specific location clarifies the status of human being [33].

4.2. The Model of Settlement’s Public Landscape

Table 1 “Five Elements and Nine Divisions” means that the combination of “Five Elements” and “Nine Divisions” can create a unique spatial order. The “Five Elements,” namely wood, fire, metal, water and earth, symbolizes the five spatial positions of east, south, west, north and middle respectively. The spatial arrangement of “Nine Divisions” combined with “Luo Shu (洛書)” and “the eight Trigrams of the later heavenly order (後天八卦),” and has given a number sequence from one to nine, azimuth layout, color symbol and so on. Therefore, the integration of “Five elements”, “Nine Divisions”, “the Eight Trigrams (八卦)” and “Luo Shu” to form the overall space order of “Five Elements and Nine Divisions”(Table 1, Figure 2): “1” is “Kan (坎宫)”, which belongs to “water,” white, located in the “north”; “2”is “Kun (坤宮)” belongs to “soil,” black, located in the“southwest”;“3” is “Zhen (震宫)”, belong to wood, Virid (碧), located in the “east”;“4”is “Xun (巽宫)”, belong to “wood”, green, located in the “southeast”; “5” is the “Zhonggong”, belongs to “the soil”, ranks in the “center”; “6” is “Qian Palace (乾宫)”. It belongs to “metal”, white, located in the “northwest”; “7” is “Dui (兑宫)”, belong to “metal”, red color, located in the “west”; “8” for “Gen (艮宫)”, belong to “earth”, white, located in the “northeast”; “9” is “Li (离宫)”, belongs to “fire”, purple, located in the “south” [3].
Specifically, Xinye Village is a settlement space centered on “Water” in the Chinese traditional philosophy of “Five Elements”. The whole settlement is built surrounding the semi-circular pool “Nantang” and the “Youxu Hall.” With intersecting streets and alleys, “Metal, Wood, Fire and Earth” have integrated the architecture, the space and the landscape into an organic and intact space, and eventually developed into the pattern of “Five Elements and Nine Divisions” (Table 1) that indicated oneness between nature and humans to showcase a mysterious three-dimensional image and shape into a public landscape sequence. Also, the public ceremony of Xinye Village settlement is conducted in accordance with the spatial structure of “Five Elements and Nine Divisions.” For instance, the route of the parade is consistent with the public landscape sequence. The public ceremony in its unique way further highlights such public landscape sequence.

4.3. Landscape Construction of Public Space

The existence of landscape all covers broad factors such as geography, countries, nations, and culture, thereby being created on the earth featuring certain traits with specified forms and materials [31]. As Xinye Village is located in the mountain area in the west of Zhejiang, an area where the trans-communication of Form School (形勢派) and Compass School (理氣派) prevails from Fengshui (風水), local residents value the impact of psychology and spirit upon the environment and pursue austere world views. Since the universe derives from its own rules that humans believe in and strive to understand, there came symbols of the universe in human cognition and a close-knit corresponding system, and even a rational condition of knowledge that has the power of influence, invention and creation [31]. Xinye Village lays a stress on proper site selection which combines the form and momentum of the mountains and rivers, and also, a world view and a survival philosophy that conforms to and integrate nature and create a multidimensional public landscape (Figure 3).
In line with the traditional Chinese world view, the site selection for Xinye Village also took into account the forms and momentum of the mountains and the rivers, thereby creating unique public landscape (Figure 2). The ancient doctrines of “Five Elements” in China hold that all creatures in the universe originated from Water, Wood, Metal, Fire and Earth [34]. The German philosopher Martin Heidegger (1889–1976) also argued that Heaven, Earth, Human and God integrate into a quadruple entirety in China. The ancestors of Xinye Village emphasized the materials and the shapes of the nature (the mountains and the rivers) at the very start of its village planning, with four directions of the settlement towards: east- A. Lion Mountain, south- B. Elephant Mountain, west- C. Yuhua Mountain, north- D. Daofeng Mountain and the settlement centers- E. Nantang. The structure of “form and momentum” in Fengshui carries profound connotations of “the human world”. The observation of nature by the Chinese is not purely objective, but rather out of human-oriented humanistic thinking [15]. The whole settlement of Xinye Village imitates the Nine Divisions of Yin and Yang (Figure 4): with D. Daofeng Mountain as Chao Shan (far front hill), C. Yuhua Mountain as Zu Shan (background hill), and two in-village canals “aided on the left and supported on the right,” mountains start from the west C. and the north D., and water all flows into the east A. and the south B. In this way, it fosters a natural space landscape that secures wind and auspicious fortune, with A. Lion Mountain and B. Elephant Mountain symbolizing gatekeepers. The artistic imagery of the whole space goes with what is illustrated in Zhuangzi: people will achieve true satisfaction if they bear no desire. Located at the center of the village, E. Nantang, a still water landscape, implies the philosophy of non-interference that settles people’s soul. The simple semicircular shape of E. Nantang offers people a sense of unity, and meanwhile symbolizes the combination of a static state and a dynamic state [22]. Changes will happen naturally if no action is taken other than adhering to the Tao; the society will be stable if it is managed in a calm way [35].

4.3.1. Public Space landscape

The existing public space in Xinye Village includes the landscape of local culture, such as Fengshui, religion and ancestor belief. These public landscapes determine the spatial orientation, landscape form and order of the settlement. With the development of history and times, there have been many changes in the public space of settlements. The existing public space landscape mainly includes ancestral hall, pool, pavilion, tower, temple and surrounding landscape, as shown in Figure 5, after sorting out the existing public space layout, we found that:
The declining of ethnic groups whose “ancestral Halls” are small, declining, abandoned or even extinct; the powerful of ethnic groups whose “ancestral Halls” are flourishing and gradually differentiate into new branches of ancestral Halls. These families with strong economic strength often build stage in the ancestral Hall, such as Youxun Hall, Rongren Hall, Xuanqing Hall, Rongshou Hall and Rongzhi Hall, etc. In order to meet the three aspects of landscape, daily water and Fengshui, in front of the larger public space, a square and a pond be built, and a solemn and comfortable environment is created. In the existing 13 ancestral temples, such as Youxu Hall, Rongren Hall, Rongshou Hall, Changshu Hall, Tongxin Hall, Changzhu Hall, and the ancestral temple of Xishan, there is always an independent pond within the Hall; in addition, there is a pond shared by Yongxi Hall and Youxu Hall, a pond for planting lotus flowers in front of Wenchang Pavilion, and there is a pond beside the Tuányun Tower. There are large squares built in the large public spaces of the settlement, such as Wenchang pavilion, Tuányun tower, Xishan ancestral hall and Yuquan temple etc.

4.3.2. Public Behavior Landscape

The public behavior landscape in Xinye Village is very rich, which embodies the interaction between human and public space. At the same time, public behavior is regulated and restricted by the public space, and the organic public landscape system is created as a whole. The public behavior landscape mainly includes production activities, daily life, festival entertainment and religious ceremonies.
Productive behavior activity: the behavior landscape of organizational production in Xinye Village includes the process of producing, harvesting, collecting, or celebrating the harvest, and eventually converges into the “ancestral group” of the public space and makes an overall arrangement and sharing. In this process, we can see that the continuation of life and the inheritance of farming culture can bring about rich material changes in the texture of public space.
Daily life activities: the life behavior landscape of Xinye Village mainly takes place in the public space of the village, which has a relatively open square and pond, forming an open landscape. In other words, the village residents will participate in public collective activities to different degrees, forming a kind of daily life landscape.
Festival entertainment and ceremony: the traditional festival celebrations and entertainment are closely related to public space, such as the local customs held in ancestral halls: marriage, birthday banquet, and relocation. All these activities can bring people a special sense of life and promote the inheritance of settlement spirit.

5. Analysis and Discussion of Public Landscape Order

5.1. Analysis of Landscape Order in Public Space

The landscape of public space endows space with value, creating a cultural schema of “public space” and its corresponding functions such as life, production, sacrifice, festivals and entertainment. It embodies the public landscape order of settlement. The landscape of public behavior strengthens the space culture, and the daily communication, festival activity and belief in public space, the “place spirit” of the settlement can be presented. In Xinye Village, the public space pattern created by temples, towers, ancestral temples and “water” provides the villagers with places for worship, gathering, living and entertainment, which stimulates public activities, condenses the emotions and spirits of the village, and forms a holistic and systematic landscape order from material space to spiritual life. The historical evolution process of public landscape shows that public space maintains the sustainability of public landscape in the competition.

5.1.1. Landscape Order of “Five Elements and Nine Divisions”

When the fundamental component units are assembled together in the space, there seems to be more diverse aspects than individual parts, shaping the architectural space and exterior public space [5]. Surrounding Xinye Village settlement are eight mountains standing in the south and facing north. Situated beside a river at the foot of the mountains, the setting of the whole settlement is just like the image of Eight Trigrams and Nine Divisions with the geometry of a spider’s web (Figure 6, Table 1): located at the center, Nantang, together with Youxu Hall to its south, directly faces Daofeng Mountain. As it’s forbidden to build houses in front of Youxu Hall, all houses in the village are scattered to its east, south and west, forming the most spacious public landscape in the central part of the settlement. The semicircular Nantang pond combined with central point, along with the extending line, creates the fundamental structure of public landscape. The semicircular Nantang is the center of the Eight–Diagram image with its western half reflecting mountains and its eastern half reflecting the brightness of the sky, altogether forming an image of Yin (陰) and Yang (陽) in Tai Chi. Qian (乾)and Kun (坤) in the eight Trigrams are exactly like residential architecture in three rows [7].
Analyzing Xinye Village from a philosophical perspective, its public landscape sequence conveys in-depth traditional Chinese philosophy, ritual thinking and environmental ecological values. The “Space of the Settlement” presents: five out of eight paths are connected to public space of “ancestral halls”, such as Chongren Hall, Chongzhi Hall, Rongshou Hall, Yongxi Hall, Cunxin Hall and Xuanqing Hall. Youxu Hall is a public Hall shared by the whole clan. Gradually with time, the patriarchal clan in the village was divided into several branches with each one building its own hall and having its residential houses surround the Hall except for the front side. So, the setting of the settlement showcases multiple layers and groups. Each element in the public space of the settlement, collectively or separately, exists in irregular communities.
During late Warring States Period, the concept of “Five Elements” prevailed in China and greatly dominated all the spatial concepts of Han people and even all forms of settlements. As a symbol, “Five Elements and Nine Divisions”, indicated in the Public Landscape Sequence of “Five Elements and Nine Divisions” offers a unique spatial perspective and enhances spatial mystery to interpret different landscape connotations. According to the essence of hexagrams that “in the end all are in a circle that returns to the beginning” (Figure 6, Table 1), to create a unit of space and public landscape, people adopted numerology to link various spatial elements to better command them all as a whole and gain a sense of wholeness. With the village facing Daofeng Mountain, the narrow and deep streets and alleys on the two sides of the settlement disperse to all directions and the old houses are arranged row after row in terms of their ranking on two sides and the back side with its spreading spatial structure sequentially in its construction.
The existence in the world is an essential natural system of its very existence, Xinye Village planned its layout based on “Five Elements and Nine Divisions” with a classification system of its five elements accounting for part of the cosmology and constituting a simplified cosmic order [16]. Things in the world are those that remain and they decompose this world out of materialization. Traditional Chinese culture holds that all in the universe are made up of five elements including metal, wood, water, fire and earth, and everything that develops and changes in the nature is the result of the ever-changing and ever-influencing five elements [12]. The public landscape layout of Xinye Village is exactly what is described in The Great Meaning of the Five Elements (《五行大義》) (Figure 6, Table 1): wood in the east stands for the color of green that symbolizes the creation of all and the color of sprouting buds; fire in the south is the color of red that demonstrates the scorching summer; earth in the center stands for the color of yellow that represents the color of soil and that is why there is a saying that the sky is dark and the earth is yellow in essence; metal in the west is the color of white, which signifies death as autumn bears a somber and desolate sense and the Solar Term of White Dew leads to frost; water in the north is the color of black. Daofeng Mountain in Xinye Village belongs to the element of “Fire” that the ancestors in the village dug the semicircular Nantang particularly to offset “Fire” with “Water.” In a word, Xinye Village takes “Five Elements and Nine Divisions” as a spatial schema, forming a unique public landscape order.

5.1.2. Order Imagination of Public Landscape

Wenchang Pavilion and Tudi Temple were built in concert with Tuányun Tower to convey the spirit of local culture. This Tower of Fengshui is called Tuányun Tower, originating from Zhuangzi∙ Xiao Yao You (《莊子•逍遙遊》): “soar straightly above nine thousand miles” [35]. The Tower that soars into the sky can compensate for the disadvantage of the high geopotential of the northwestern area and the low geopotential of the southern area of Xinye Village, creating a “tripartite confrontation” (Figure 6) situation together with Yuhua Mountain and Daofeng Mountain based on Nantang as the center. Vertical elements such as mountains and towers that can form special points in the air literally are able to define invisible opaque in the space. Villagers hold that landscape of “tripartite confrontation,” which was adopted “analogy” in landscape design. It will form a visual effect of upstanding height and balance the spatial landscape despite its inconsistence to the basic effect of mountains in nature. It can be seen that the landscape construction of the traditional Chinese public space not only respect the nature as a whole, but also adjust spatial balance from the situation and momentum of the landscape. The “tripartite confrontation” landscape of Xinye Village fulfills people’s needs to settle their souls.
As was mentioned by Baode Han in his (2006) [15] edition of Lectures on Chinese Architecture Culture, there has been no such spatial culture as that of China that has put so much emphasis on the concept of principal axis that often decides spatial planning and reflects a persistent awareness of cosmic balance by the Chinese [32]. As Jiangnan was a big aggregation of men of letter since the Southern Song Dynasty, the pursuit of success and fame of traditional Fengshui had an underlying impact on Xinye Village (Figure 6): Youxu Hall decides the choice of the location and the orientation of residencies and Halls in Xinye Village so that Tuányun Tower, Youxu Hall and Yuquan Temple are all connected into one axis that bisects the connecting line between Daofeng Mountain and Yuhua Mountain. The whole spatial layout echoes with a larger natural environment in a succinct style, shaping a unique public landscape sequence. The curve path in Xinye Village enables the visitors to enjoy changing landscape as they walk around. For instance, the grey line in Figure 5 shows the current visiting path to the village landscape. Horizontally viewed, the winding space extends beyond the façade and vertical elements, partly hidden, partly visible and alluring.

5.2. Discussion on the Spatial Competition of Public Landscape

Public space and public life form an interdependent relationship. Specific public life requires a specific structure of public space. The pluralistic way of life and culture will split the public space, make it full of conflicts and competition fields, and the competition for public space will lead to the change of the public landscape. With the development of Xinye Village, clan differentiation has appeared since the Ming Dynasty. The living space around the branches of the ancestral hall forms a “mass” of public landscape characteristics. The differentiated ancestral hall construction has planning significance for the layout of the public landscape. According to the Yuhua Ye genealogy, there are 22 ancestral halls in Xinye Village based on ethnic groups, and 11 of them are still in existence. It not only creates the sacrificial, festival and entertainment space for the settlement, but also creates the unique public landscape. In the whole process of development and change, the public space creates competition with each other, breaking through the original space order of “five elements and nine palaces,” and constantly reconstructing its new public landscape order.

5.2.1. Competition in the Public Space

In Chinese culture, there is a kind of ethnic “cultural circle”, which emphasizes the unequal relationship between “not my ethnic” and “my ethnic” [36]; therefore, after ethnic differentiation, there will inevitably be a “competition”. In traditional Chinese military law, there is much wisdom about “competition”. It points out the reasons of the competition, that is, striving for fame and fortune, accumulating contradictions, producing civil strife and striving for living resources. The important reason for the “competition” of public space is the competition between power and economy. For villages, the “competition” between ancestral halls is the main way to fight for survival power and living resources. For example (Table 2), the existing public space in Xinye Village includes religion, culture and ancestral belief space. There is a persistent competition between these public spaces. The scale of stable public space is larger than that of unstable public space: for ethnic groups with small power, their ancestral halls are usually small in scale, easy to decay, abandon or have even collapsed. Ancestral halls of powerful ethnic groups are flourishing and have gradually differentiated into new branch ancestral halls. In addition to the orderly hall, Rongren Hall, Luoqing Hall, Rongshou Hall and Rongzhi Hall in Sanshitian village all have drama stages. In front of the powerful ancestral hall of the family, there are open space with squares and ponds, and the environment will be solemn and comfortable. Among the 13 existing ancestral halls, there are ponds in front of Youxu Hall, Rongren Hall, Rongshou Hall, Changzhu Hall, Chunxin Hall, Changzhu Hall and Xishan Temple. In addition, Yongxi Hall and Youxu Hall share the “South Pond”. There are lotus ponds in front of Wenchang Pavilion and ponds beside Tuányun Tower. The more stable public spaces—Wenchang Pavilion, Tuányun Tower, Xishan Temple and Yuquan Temple—have very large squares.
In recent years, the creation of public space closely related to rural landscape has become more and more innovative. The restoration, reconstruction and abandonment of public space such as Xinye Village ancestral hall, and the restoration and expansion of some branch ancestral halls reflect the people’s national consciousness. Xishan ancestral temple (now the total ancestral temple), Ming Dynasty (1531) moved to the north of the Tuányun Tower, Qing Dynasty (1759) reconstruction; Youxu Hall (Outer House), Ming Dynasty (1505–1521), Qing Dynasty (1795–1820) expansion, reconstruction in 1926; Chongzhi Hall, rebuilt in the early Qing Dynasty, is now moving to Sanshitian village; Chongren Hall was relocated at the end of Ming Dynasty and rebuilt in Qing Dynasty (1880); Chunxintang was rebuilt in Qing Dynasty (1795–1820) and 1950; Xuanqing Hall was rebuilt in Qing Dynasty (1880) and in the eighteenth year (1929) of the Republic of China. Tuányun Tower was hit by a typhoon in the 1990s and repaired in 1999. Wenchangge, rebuilt in the Qing dynasty from 1862 to 1874; Yuquan temple, in the Qing dynasty (1821–1850) by the local 18 ethnic groups to rebuild cooperation. In addition, Chongxin Hall, Chongzhi Hall, Chongyi Hall, Yu Qingtang, Qiyou Hall, Youzhu Hall and Zhenmei Hall have no architectural space and no ruins. Of them, Shiliu Hall remains only the ruins of steps and patios. Qiyou Hall was caught in a fire in 1949. Its ruins have been occupied by other ethnic groups; Shizi Hall remains; Chongzhi Hall and its ethnic groups have moved to the nearby Sanshitian Village.
(1) “Competition” for Space Power
The “ancestral temple” is the “sacred space” of “family” in traditional Chinese settlements. Being endowed with cultural significance and place spirit, it is the symbolic space of family organization and authority, and the core "public space" of competition culture. According to the genealogy of the settlements, in “Xinye Village”, there are several ancestral temples for worship. Based on ethnic groups, there are 22 ancestral temples, forming a unique “ancestral temple group” (Figure 7). Everyone associates their dwelling place with the ancestral temple as the “center” to gain their status in ethnic history and society. Ancestral temple groups have maintained the public order and security of villages for more than 700 years. The phenomenon of “survival of the fittest” in the “competition” hides the life rule of “public space”. The stability and persistence of the “ancestral temple group” can reflect the development, prosperity and decline of a “consanguineous” village [12]. The public space landscape of ancestral temple, which is linked by “blood”, can not only meet the function of village public gathering, but also meet the needs of spiritual belief, reflect the collective characteristics of its society, and reconcile the common contradictions and problems of the society [19].
Therefore, the public space “ancestral temple group” in Xinye Village has two functions: one is to satisfy the spiritual sustenance of “ancestral belief” space, which serves as a place of worship and festival, and plays the role of connecting the public consciousness of ethnic groups; the other is to meet the needs of daily public life, which is the material space to carry out village gatherings, entertainment and so on—an important place for public activities. With the growth of the village population, they will have the expansion of human settlements, the antagonism of ethnic interests under limited resources, the differentiation of public consciousness, and the establishment of branch ancestral halls by different tribal groups [36]. During the development of ancestral temples in branches, conflicts among ethnic groups have been accumulated in order to compete for living space and living resources, resulting in civil unrest. Challenges faced by ancestral temples in branches have led to a crisis of decline in villages; some ancestral temples of branches and veins disappeared or became dilapidated due to the extinction or weakness of the clansmen, and even were occupied by other ethnic groups. In a word, the public space of “ancestral temple group” in Xinye Village is competing with each other, and the situation of survival of the fittest is formed.
The organization of public spaces should be hierarchical [37], through the spatial simple structure map; we can discuss the problem of spatial level. Among the 22 ancestral temples in Xinye Village, there is a dual spirit of competition centrality and differentiation, as a result of the competition; there are only 11 ancestral temples. In order to occupy better spiritual sites or better spatial resources with Fengshui, “competition” appears between ancestral temples of branches and veins in Xinye Village (Figure 7).
Xinye Village believes in ancestral culture, Confucian culture and geomantic culture. First, it builds the “Xishan ancestral Hall”, a public space that embodies the consciousness and spirit of the village. In the first generation, two groups were divided into two groups, which respectively established the Yongmu Hall and Youxu Hall. Later, the Yongmu Hall group declined and the ancestral hall declined; the second generation constructed the public space of ancestral temples with the title of “benevolence, righteousness, propriety, wisdom and faith” based on Confucian core concepts, Among them, Chongxin Hall and Chongli Hall have declined; therefore, the third generation was divided into Yuqing Hall, Xuanqing Hall, Youyi Hall and Jiqing Hall by Chongyi Hall, and Rongshou Hall, Yongxi Hall and Chunxin Hall by Chongzhi Hall, and Shiliu Hall by Chongren Hall. In the fourth generation, there were many declining branches, among which the branch of Chongshou Hall multiplied Qiyou Hall and the branch of Shiliu Hall multiplied Changzhu Hall, Ruizhi Hall and Youzhu Hall; In the fifth generation, Qiyou Hall declined, and Youzhu Hall differentiated into Shizi Hall and Zhenmei Hall. To sum up, the village changes because of natural and human-made competition, group multiplication, differentiation and competition. With the prosperity and decline of populations, “ancestral temple group” between the defensive and the “competition” life and death, some of the “public space” in ancestral halls in the “competition” have either collapsed or expanded: we can see clearly from Figure 7 village public space “ancestral temple group” of the development and evolution of trajectory, namely in the village “ancestral hall” along with the development history of vertical direction, and the corresponding reality still saves on the lateral public space, we can also find Chongren Hall branch off until now.
(2) “Competition” of Cultural Life
Public space and public life have formed a mutually interdependent relationship. A specific public life requires a specific public space structure. Public space is a common and intersecting space with cultural and life characteristics [38]. Christian Norberg-Schulz [37] wrote: “Clusters mostly imply a rule, which may be a geometric, two-dimensional or three-dimensional spatial organization. Chinese “families” have a set of organizational rules and spatial order. Ancestral halls in the public space are divided due to the contradiction between the expansion of ethnic groups and the limited resources. People have developed the introverted character of advocating Confucianism in ideology, which does not emphasize individual emotions and thoughts, but takes ethnic groups as the center. Human beings have a passion for attachment and protection to a particular place, and define their boundaries by occupying space and creating a safe living space. Therefore, territorial nature is a spatial category and a social phenomenon. Territorial nature includes two important factors: boundary and core area. Occupying core territory is the most important way to construct traditional family. The spatial organization of family territory is generated by the power competition of life, and defending territory has become human nature [24].
With the growth of Xinye Village, clan differentiation has emerged since the Ming dynasty. Residents have built living space around each branch temple and formed “cluster” characteristics. The construction of ancestral halls has planning significance for the layout of a cultural landscape [11]. In Xinye Village, unstable public space “ancestral temple groups” play in a competition with each other, just like in a chess competition (Figure 8). White symbolizes the declining or extinct ancestral temple space, black is the existing ancestral temple space, dotted circle is the living space constructed around “ancestral temple groups” in order to shape the spirit of their own ethnic groups. Home, playing chess with each other, is like playing Go to compete for the space of life and culture by means of land and enclosure. The “ancestral halls” of declining ethnic groups are gradually used less frequently, and spiritual emptiness is gradually declining. They are often occupied by powerful ethnic groups, and they are declining or dying out.
(3) “Competition” of Place Spirit
Public space is always perceived and interpreted through the filtering and screening of “cultural value” and “personal belief”. Public space is also viewed as a whole. When its structure is decomposed into independent parts and components, the spirit of the public space will be lost [22]. Having a reassuring public space is the basic condition for human survival. People can not only know the world, but also clearly position themselves in all things. That is to say, human beings can produce the dual dependence of spirit and psychology through public space [39]. The ancestral temple, the “public space” carrying traditional Chinese culture, has been gradually abandoned by the current society, but it embodies the “public consciousness”, contains the spirit of ethnic groups, and constructs the experience of a lasting “public space”. Ancestral temples have also established public and private links, bringing the "distance" between the public and the public closer in human relations. The “ancestral hall group” of Xinye Village carries the culture of the village, educates the residents, standardizes the public behavior and customs of the residents, worshipping ancestors, hosting weddings and funerals, cultural entertainment, maintaining Fengshui and public health, etc., and becomes a public space for public activities such as sacrifice, festivals, entertainment and gatherings, so as to gather the spirit of the ethnic group.

5.2.2. Public Behavior Reinforces Public Landscape Sequence

As Confucianism became the mainstream ideology in ancient China, its classics developed into impregnable and irreplaceable “principles”, rendering all etiquettes and regulations reaching further to all walks of life and requiring the architecture closely connected with people’s behavior to directly support the positioning and direction of public behavior [12]. There are traditional festivals in Xinye Village to worship ancestors, pray for good weather and enable talents to flourish. As Zhuangzi put it: “Know the nature’s order before adjusting regulations; Know the social order before exercising etiquettes” [34].
On the third day of March in Chinese Lunar Calendar, villagers in Xinye Village will hold a parade ceremony. People worship ancestors, along with the Heaven, Earth, Immortal and Buddha. And the procession is decorated with the “Five Colors (green, red, white, yellow and black)” corresponding to “Five Elements (wood, fire, metal, earth and water)”. The procession route is designed in line with the “Five Directions (East stands for wood, South for fire, West for metal, and North for water and Center for earth)” of the “Five Elements.” The procession is closely related to the public landscape sequence: when the clock strikes 7:30, a god-worshipping procession of over 300 Ye family members starts from halls, walking around the main public landscape and moving on to Yuquan Temple. After the ceremony of heaven-worshipping, earth-worshipping and ancestors-worshipping, the procession will welcome the Immortals worshipped in Yuquan Temple back to the hall of the settlement, and via public worship, express gratitude for heaven and earth and the prosperity of all creatures, as well as reverence for the ancestors’ efforts to sustain the family. The resonance among the route, the procession and the public landscape throughout the whole worshipping ceremony not only purifies the settlement space but also enhances the public landscape sequence.

5.2.3. Rebuild the Public Landscape Order in “Competition”

Through case observation, analysis, discussion and research, we can conclude the following order characteristics in the “competition” of public space, including the crisis, stability and sustainability of public space, and make further analysis:
(1) Crisis of Public Space
Since the birth of public space, there has always existed a crisis. Through this study, we found that the connotation and frequency of the construction of public space will directly lead to the “crisis” of public space, which reflects the public nature and vitality. The stronger the public nature of space, the stronger the vitality, the smaller the crisis; the weaker the public nature of space, the shorter the vitality, and the stronger the public nature of space, the greater the crisis. For Xinye Village, the public space based on religious beliefs, cultural beliefs and ancestral beliefs has strong vitality, thus witnessing a smaller crisis. However, the ancestral halls derived from the development process are characterized by the growth of ethnic groups, the lack of resources, and the polarization of clan public space, the fierce “competition” between each other will directly lead to crisis. As a result, the order of the public space landscape has changed.
(2) Stability of Public Space
In the process of public space change, there are stable factors and unstable factors. If a stable public space model is found, it is necessary to distinguish the stability in the public space: The stability factor can measure the self-transparency and sustainability of public space, and the instability factor can reflect the “competition” between public spaces [39]. Religious beliefs, cultural belief and ancestor faith are the factors that stabilized order in Xinye Village, while population growth has generated contradictions and created competition in the public space. The accumulating instability has changed and even reversed the order of the public space.
(3) Sustainability of Public Space
Public space emphasizes that public organizations need to be based on the value of sustainable survival. In the process of cooperation among public groups, they coordinate individual’s mind according to common values and concepts, induce the life and ability hidden in the public, and awaken the essence and significance of public awareness. The foundation of sustainability will determine the continuation of focusing on “public interest”. The “sustainability” of public space in Xinye Villages mainly manifested in the common consciousness and belief of the village, which maintains the main body and stable public space landscape order.
In short, the frequency of use of “public space” can also directly reflect its stability, sustainability and mutual competition. The traditional “public space” was initially dominated by functions such as gathering, festival and entertainment, but now it has developed into the pursuit of social and leisure and other diverse uses. When the basic units of space are organized together, there will be more abundant orientations than a single part. They can also shape the relationship between internal space and external public space [5]. In Xinye Village, the mass space of human settlement centered on the public space “ancestral temple group” gathers together to form a more complex, meaningful and overall spatial order. This complete organizational law is just like the “proven perceptual organization law” proposed by the Gestalt school: the village as a whole is not a simple sum or addition of ancestral temples, but forms a public space structure and nature that strengthens the whole. Constructing the “new” public space in the competition is not only in the past, but more importantly; it supports the new public life mode by creating public space order. It also contains new relationships between people and people, between people and land, and even between people and society. If these relationships are used for reference by the new urban public space, it not only helps to enhance public recognition, but also promotes the quality of life in public society.

6. Conclusions

As Chinese residential settlement is closely related to such factors as ecological considerations, ideological concepts, public behavior, social organization, economy, production, experience and technology, a settlement takes many factors into consideration when building its public landscape sequence. The public landscape sequence of Xinye Village not only meets material needs, but also merges such factors as history, society, culture and psychology and ideology to console the minds of the settlement residents.
With a complicated spatial structure and connotation, the ancestors of Xinye Village adopted “Five Elements and Nine Divisions” of the traditional Chinese cosmic model to organize the public landscape sequence of the settlement space and adjust the possible relations between all sorts of shapes of public landscape, making each factor coexist in harmony with each other in the space in order to maintain the residential environment of settlement villagers. Such a traditional public landscape sequence showcases the spatial wisdom of traditional ancient Chinese culture system based on public spatial landscape and public behavior mode of the specific universal outlook of the Chinese.
When public space is affected by economy, power and culture, it will produce “competition”, which will lead to a change of public landscape. In order to maintain the continuity of public space, it is more important to understand the nature and characteristics of “competition” in “public space” through the use of physiological, psychological and spiritual functions. Then, we can anticipate the planning or creation of public space landscape in the future. It is suggested that public culture and public life can be integrated into the landscape planning and design of the future public space. Through the evaluation of public space competition and our life experiences, we can understand the value of the public space landscape. Public space planning and design can be used to avoid the lack of a sense of locality and disruption of local culture. The study attempts to provide clear evidence for future urban and rural public space planning and design practice to provide a cultural schema reference through which it is possible to create an organic and systematic public space.

Author Contributions

All authors contributed to the paper. L.X. wrote the manuscript with the supervision from S.-c.C., and L.X. acted as a corresponding author.


This research received no external funding.


First of all, we are especially grateful to Hongfu Ye, who is over 80 years old now living in Xinye Village. He has given us an enthusiastic reception, recommended interviews, accompanied inspections and provided detailed introductions, which enabled the researchers to collect the genealogy of the village. The research information and related field survey data have promoted the empirical research of this paper, and we are also thankful to Jiaman Xing who drove and accompanied me to the site visit, which provided great support to the completion of the paper. Finally, we sincerely thank the anonymous reviewers for their affirmation of this article and for their detailed and valuable suggestions for revision.

Conflicts of Interest

The authors declare no conflict of interest.


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Figure 1. Exploring public landscape order.
Figure 1. Exploring public landscape order.
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Figure 2. Pattern of Five Elements and Nine Divisions.
Figure 2. Pattern of Five Elements and Nine Divisions.
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Figure 3. Landscape of Xinye Village.
Figure 3. Landscape of Xinye Village.
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Figure 4. Google solid scene map of Xinye Village.
Figure 4. Google solid scene map of Xinye Village.
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Figure 5. Existing public space in Xinye Village. Notes: (1) Existing ancestral temple, (2) Pool space, (3) Abandoned ancestral temple, (4) Settlement residence, (5) Open channel, (6) culvert, (7) Original path, (8) Mountain orientation; 1 Youxun Hall, 2 Nantang, 3 The ancestral temple in the West Mountain, 4 Pond of the ancestral temple in the West Mountain, 5 Stone pond, 6 Li pond, 7 Cunxin Hall, 8 Pond of Cunxin Hall, 9 Chongren Hall, 10 Pond of half-moon, 11 Xuanqing Hall, 12 Youyi Hall, 13 Yongxi Tang, 14 Yongmu Hall, 15 Youzu Hall, 16 Xicao Hall, 17 Rongrou Hall, 18 Pond of Sifang, 19 Qiyou Hall, 20 Shiliu Hall, 21 Shizi Hall, 22 ZhenMei Hall, 23 Wenchang Pavilion, 24 Tuányun Tower, 25 Yuhua Mountain, 26 Daofeng Mountain, 27 The way to Yuquan Temple.
Figure 5. Existing public space in Xinye Village. Notes: (1) Existing ancestral temple, (2) Pool space, (3) Abandoned ancestral temple, (4) Settlement residence, (5) Open channel, (6) culvert, (7) Original path, (8) Mountain orientation; 1 Youxun Hall, 2 Nantang, 3 The ancestral temple in the West Mountain, 4 Pond of the ancestral temple in the West Mountain, 5 Stone pond, 6 Li pond, 7 Cunxin Hall, 8 Pond of Cunxin Hall, 9 Chongren Hall, 10 Pond of half-moon, 11 Xuanqing Hall, 12 Youyi Hall, 13 Yongxi Tang, 14 Yongmu Hall, 15 Youzu Hall, 16 Xicao Hall, 17 Rongrou Hall, 18 Pond of Sifang, 19 Qiyou Hall, 20 Shiliu Hall, 21 Shizi Hall, 22 ZhenMei Hall, 23 Wenchang Pavilion, 24 Tuányun Tower, 25 Yuhua Mountain, 26 Daofeng Mountain, 27 The way to Yuquan Temple.
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Figure 6. Public landscape sequence of Five Elements and Nine Divisions.
Figure 6. Public landscape sequence of Five Elements and Nine Divisions.
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Figure 7. The development and decline of the “Ancestral Temple Group”.
Figure 7. The development and decline of the “Ancestral Temple Group”.
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Figure 8. The layout of human living space around the ancestral temple group in public space is presented as a “cluster”. Notes: 1. Xishan Temple, 2A. Youxu Hall, 2B. Yongmu Hall, 3A1. Old Site of Chongren Hall, 3A2. Present Site of Chongren Hall, 3B. Chongyi Hall, 3C. Chongzhi Hall, 3D. Chongde Hall, 4A. Shiliu Hall, 4B1. Xuanqing Hall, 4B2. Youyi Hall, 4B3. Jiqing Hall, 4B4.Yu Qing Hall, 4C1. Rongshou Hall, 4C2. Yongxi Hall, 4C3. Cunxin Hall, 5C1. Qiyou Hall, 5Aa. Ruizhi Hall, 5Ab. Changzhu Hall, 5Ac. Youzhu Hall, 6Aca. Shizi Hall, 6Acb. Zhenmei Hall.
Figure 8. The layout of human living space around the ancestral temple group in public space is presented as a “cluster”. Notes: 1. Xishan Temple, 2A. Youxu Hall, 2B. Yongmu Hall, 3A1. Old Site of Chongren Hall, 3A2. Present Site of Chongren Hall, 3B. Chongyi Hall, 3C. Chongzhi Hall, 3D. Chongde Hall, 4A. Shiliu Hall, 4B1. Xuanqing Hall, 4B2. Youyi Hall, 4B3. Jiqing Hall, 4B4.Yu Qing Hall, 4C1. Rongshou Hall, 4C2. Yongxi Hall, 4C3. Cunxin Hall, 5C1. Qiyou Hall, 5Aa. Ruizhi Hall, 5Ab. Changzhu Hall, 5Ac. Youzhu Hall, 6Aca. Shizi Hall, 6Acb. Zhenmei Hall.
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Table 1. Historical origin of the settlement.
Table 1. Historical origin of the settlement.
NumberFive ElementsNine DivisionsDirectionColorMain Function Area
1Water☵坎(Kan)SouthWhiteYongxi Hall and Xuanqin Hall
2Soil☷坤(Kun)NortheastBlackXiaxinwu Residential Area and Sifangtang
3Wood☳震(Zhen)WestViridResidential Area of Rongren Hall and Banyuetang
4Wood☴巽(Xun)NorthwestGreenResidential Area of Shangdaoyuan
5Soil中宮(Zhonggong)CenterYellowCentral Palace and Youxu Hall
6Metal☰乾(Qian)SoutheastWhiteResidential Area of Xuanqin Hall
7Metal☱兑(Dui)EastRedJinshidi, Rongshou Hall and Residential Area of Jiedushang
8Soil☶艮(Gen)SouthwestWhiteResidential Area of Dahou Mountain
9Fire☲离(Li)NorthPurpleQiangang Mountain, Country field, Qing’gang, Wangjing, Daofeng Mountian
Table 2. A public space that changes in competition.
Table 2. A public space that changes in competition.
Public SpaceConstruction and Change of Public Landscape
Time of ConstructionRelocation or ReconstructionIncidental PondIncidental SquareStorage and Waste Status
Xi Shan ancestral hallEarly Yuan Dynasty
Youxu HallBeginning of Yuan Dynasty×
Yongmu HallMing Dynasty××
Chongxin Hall
Chongzhi HallMing Dynasty××
Chongli Hall
Chongyi Hall
Chongren HallMing Luanda period×
Rongshou Hall
Yongxi HallMing Dynasty××
Storage HallMing Jiajing period×
Yuqing Hall
Yuyi HallMing Dynasty××
Xuanqing HallQing Dynasty(1661)××
Jiqing Hall
Shiliu Hall×
Qiyou Hall×
Youzhu Hall
Ruizi Hall
Changzhu Hall
Shizi Hall
Zhen Mei Hall
Tuányun TowerFirst year of Ming long Qing (1567)
Wen Chang CabinetNorthern Song Dynasty (960–1127)
Yuquan TempleSouthern Song Dynasty (1127–1279)×
Notes: √ sure, × negate, ○ No textual criticism, ◇ Site or occupation, △ rebuild.

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