Ever wonder how the ancient Chinese kept intruders out of their home? This was one way.
I walked into the courtyard of a historic house in Pubian Village on Kinmen Island with a historian who started pointing out the peculiar aspects of the architecture. It was an old East/ West hybrid house, a peculiar architectural style that is unique to the Kinmen area. But my attention was captured by something else: an assemblage of curved terracotta pieces that were artfully assembled into a row of triangles along the top of the property’s stone wall.
“What are those clay triangles for?” I asked.
“It’s to keep thieves away,” I was told. “It’s kind of like an old anti-theft alarm. If someone tries to climb over the wall they will break the ceramic, and it will make a loud noise and the people inside will hear.”
The ceramic tiles are too frail to support the weight of a human, so if someone was to grab onto them or try to climb on them they will shatter. Apparently, the sound of this is loud enough to work as an alarm.
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