Xisuo Tibetan Village is located at the intersection of National Highway 317 from Chengdu to Barkam and Provincial Highway 210 from Zhuokeji to Xiaojin, about 8 kilometers from the town of Barkam. It is situated at an altitude of around 2660 meters and is separated from Zhuokeji Guan-zhai by a stream called Nazu Gully.
During the historical period of local chieftains, Xisuo Village was known as “Gan-qiang-ba” in Zhuokeji, which means “street of Zhuokeji.” At that time, the residents were mostly the Koba (messenger) of the Zhuokeji chieftain, as well as merchants and folk craftsmen. After 1950, this area was designated as a group within Xisuo Village, and the current residents are mostly descendants of the original messengers, merchants, and folk craftsmen of the chieftain.
The chieftain of Xisuo was one of the famous 18 chieftains of Jiarong in western Sichuan. At the end of the Qing Dynasty (1616 AD – 1912 AD), due to the chieftain “Si-bi-deng-nian” being involved in the “Gelug Pa Religion” and having no heirs, in 1912, the son of the Wenchuan Wasa chieftain “Suo-guan-ying,” succeeded to the position.
The official village gate faces southwest, and the residential buildings are shaped like watchtowers, also known as “diaolou”. The windows on each floor are smaller on the outside and larger on the inside, with intricately designed window frames featuring carving, painting, and colorful techniques, reflecting strong Tibetan ethnic characteristics.
The walls surrounding the houses are built with pieces of stone and bound together with yellow clay. The walls are as thick as 1 meter and are constructed using the method of inward incline and outward straight, with craftsmen relying solely on their experience to build the stone walls neatly, with sharp edges and a narrow top and wide base. The entire wall is under compressive stress and serves as the main load-bearing structure of the building. In addition, the mutual support and convergence of the internal wooden structure beams make the entire building have a smaller footprint at the base, a larger footprint at the top, a strong internal center of gravity, and high stability.
At the highest point, the corners of the watchtower form sharp angles, creating a sense of grandeur. The edges of the highest stone walls are thickened to avoid a flat appearance, enhancing the three-dimensional feel. The roof is divided into two parts, with the front half being flat, surrounded by low walls on three sides, while the back half forms a sloping mountain shape, covered with stone slabs or tiles.
The entire Tibetan village is comprised of three-story stone buildings, with the ground floor used for raising livestock, the second floor for the kitchen and living quarters, and the third floor for the scripture hall and guest rooms. This type of watchtower not only provides warmth in winter and coolness in summer but also represents the traditional architectural style of the Jiarong ancestors, who “built rooms with stones.” The entire village is neatly arranged, with a sense of order and a layout that looks like a well-fortified ancient castle when viewed from a distance.
When viewed from a distance, one will be amazed to find that Xisuo Tibetan Village bears a striking resemblance to the “Huayi” pattern in the Tibetan Eight Auspicious Symbols (resembling the “Endless Knot,” representing the heart of Shakyamuni Buddha).
The distinct, angular stone buildings, combined with the surrounding steep mountains and cliffs, create a natural environment that is harmoniously integrated. The pathways paved with bluestones lead into the village, connecting each household tightly together. The vibrant totems, red tiles, and fluttering prayer flags add a touch of mystery to this place.
The climate here belongs to the plateau continental monsoon climate, with distinct dry and rainy seasons. The four seasons are not clearly defined, and most areas do not experience summer. There is abundant sunshine, significant temperature differences, and frequent strong winds during the dry season. The average annual temperature is 8-9°C, with an annual rainfall of around 753 millimeters and over 1500 hours of sunshine. The frost-free period lasts for approximately 120 days.