DIAOLOU – The watchtowers of Kaiping
2017 China, Province Guangdong
Hundreds of watchtowers, the Diaolou, can be found in the Chinese province of Guangdong. Our documentation of the Kaiping Diaolou continues the central aspect of our previous work. Here, the signs of migration become visible in architecture once again. Today, the Kaiping Diaolou are seen as contemporary witnesses of the emigration history of overseas Chinese from Kaiping. Due to their unique architecture, some of the Kaiping Diaolou were given the status of World Heritage Site by the UNESCO in 2007.
Today, the Diaolou are very different from traditional Chinese residential housing. Apart from gothic, baroque and rococo elements, the influence of ancient Greek, Roman and Islamic architectural style can be identified. A unique combination of Chinese and western architecture was formed. The Kaiping Diaolou display the earliest adaptation of western influences in rural areas of China.
Sabine Bungert und Stefan Dolfen
The project „Diaolou“ was supported by Stiftung Kulturwerk der VG Bild-Kunst.