Xizhou was once a commercial center of Yunnan, and the birthplace of Bai's modern entrepreneurs. It is said that more than 140 wealthy families built their houses here, including the Yan's, the Yang's, the Dong's and the Zhao's. These houses are characterized by '3 rooms and a wall screening' and '4 joints and 5 courtyards'. '3 rooms and a wall screening' refers that every house boasts a major room flanked by two wing-rooms, and facing the middle room erects a wall screening for the house privacy. '4 joints and 5 courtyards' means the houses have a central courtyard with rooms in all directions; other smaller four courtyards join the central one from four sides to make five courtyards. All these houses are decorated with woodcarvings, colored patterns, marbles and wash drawings, which represents the masterpieces of Bai's architecture.
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