Formation of landscape and territory in a Sichuan village, Southwestern Mainland China

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Abstract

This paper analyzes the formation of landscape and territory in a Sichuan village, in the southeastern part of Chengdu city area. Changes in the territory of the basic units of the society and the landscape were examined in the following three periods: 1) before Liberation (1912-1949): II) the Maoist period (1949-1978): and III) after the Deng reforms (1978-). The three following conclusions were reached. First, in rural Chengdu basin, administrative and economic units have been reformed frequently. The basic units of the society during the each period were: 1) yuanzi lineage; II) production team; and III) zu community. Before the Deng reforms, feng-shui (Chinese folk geography) was represented in the village space which consists mainly of yuanzi compounds, farmlands on the hills, the river, lanes, and graves. Sichuan villages have been composed of flexible combinations of yuanzi, not dispersed settlements as believed in previous studies. Second, the actual situation and people's cognition of the village territory in the each period were as follows: I) actual or cognitive boundaries were not found before Liberation: II) actual boundaries were formed in the process of establishing collective ownership, partially based on landform, while cognitive ones were formed by collective labor in agriculture during the Maoist period: and II) actual boundaries were fully recognized by the generation who experienced peoples' communes in the Maoist period, while partially perceived by only some younger people who cultivate the periphery. Third, the factors in landscape changes were: Changes in political ideology, for example, the Communist revolution, the Cultural Revolution, and the Deng reforms, embodied in the use of farmlands and ponds, construction of collective agricultural facilities, and destruction of temples and a lineage tomb: The reorganization of local governments after the Deng reforms, realized in the construction of irrigation canals, fruit gardens, concrete houses, and a bridge: and growth of population and economy, reflected in the transition of settlement form from yuanzi compounds to concrete houses in agglomerations. The factors in landscape continuity were: Persistent elements such as land lots and lanes: And the survival of traditional folk beliefs throughout these periods, represented by graves and a tomb.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)394-414
Number of pages21
JournalGeographical Review of Japan, Series A
Volume74
Issue number7
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2001
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Earth-Surface Processes

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