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Mainstay & House piled up with logs

Traditional local-style houseVillages of the Pumis scatter over gentle slopes halfway up mountains, and they settle together with members of the same clan according to the distance of blood relationship. The distance is very short among villages: smoke from kitchen chimneys could be seen and the crow of cocks and bark of dogs could be heard between villages. Each family makes a yard and different families are neighbors.


Traditional local-style houseThe houses are mostly wooden. The main room is 6.5 meters long and about 3 meters wide. Big posts are erected at the four corners, and a square post is erected in the middle, which is called "Mainstay" ("Samawa" in Pumi language) and is regarded as the place where gods stay. A crossbeam with the shape of  (a Chinese character referring to human beings) is put up on the ridge of the house, and boards or tiles are covered on the roof. The wall is piled up with round wood. This kind of house is commonly called "Muleng house" or "Muleizu". It is usually divided into two storeys: the upper storey is for living and the latter storey is for keeping domestic animals or storing stuff. The arrangement of the room has fixed pattern: the door is open toward the east and there is a fire pit at the right side by the door which is built by stones, surrounded by boards and is called the upper fire pit. Wooden beds about 70 centimeters wide are put up on the two sides of the fire pit, which are for receiving guests. A 70 centimeters high bed is built at the foot of the wall opposite the door, and the bed is covered with boards. Another fire pit is built in the middle of the big bed with tripod over it, which is commonly called the latter fire pit, and is for warming, boiling water and cooking. Bunks are arranged around the fire pit, which are living place for the whole families with the left side for men and the right side for women. The fire pit is the center of the house, and is the main place for activities of the whole family. In normal times, they can sit near it and get warmth, chat, sing or sleep. When having dinner, the whole family sit around the fire pit. The hostess distributes food to them or they eat while toasting cakes or meat with glowing red flames shinning upon faces of the family members. When relatives and friends come, the hospitable Pumis guide the guests to the honorable seat near the fire pit at first. Then they offer tea and wine with respect, carry steaming hot beef, mutton, fat pork and a bowl of vinegar-pepper soup which is mixed with onion, garlic, chili, prickly ash and leaves of Chinese toon. They entertain the guests warmly until they have drunk and eaten to their hearts' content or even are dead drunk.


Bones of ox and sheep are hung out of the Pumis' house. It is said these are symbols of the family wealth and they also have the effect of exorcising and pressing down evil spirits.

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