A Kang is normally built when the build of a new house starts. But it is not imposible to make one in an existing house. At first, a mould needs to ba made. This is normally made out of the strongest oak wood. The red mud is then poured into the mould. When it is done at the beginning of a house construction, this can be done with the help of work animals. If this is not the case, then workers need to carry buckets with the stuff in and out of the room. How many times that is depends on how many workers there are and how big the buckets are. After the red clay is poured into the mould, it needs to harden and set. Most of the time they leave it until the clock has passed the hour of the rat, seven times. In the meantime, they work on the iron door. They measured the size of the space on the left side of the mould. They make this part not inside or near the house, but at the local blacksmith. The man makes the door and the hinges. Which also can take up to seven days. The tatami mats also need time to be made. The rice straw is collected during the rice harvest and needs to dry in the sun. Mostly during the late 春天(Chūntiān) and early 夏天 (Xiàtiān). When the 雨季 (Yǔjì) has not started yet. Which happens in the later part of 夏天 (Xiàtiān) and early 秋天 (Qiūtiān). The drying process takes two days. Then the straw is woven together into mats. This latest process needs to happen every twenty years. After seven days, the workers take the mould away and place the iron door and its hinges and make the first fire. This fire needs to be burning until the hour of the rat. The tatami mats are placed last, a day after the first fire. The Kang is then ready to be used.
The houses of the common people and some of what richer people were quite small and there was simple no room to place beds, table, chairs and heater. It was more handy to make a structure that could house them all and could keep the room warm during 冬天 (Dōngtiān). It is not known who came up with the idea or when. But it is known that there were a lot of fires happening in the early part of the last century. Maybe the predecessor of the Kang that is known today was not as safe.
The Kang is made out of red clay, it has a small opening at the bottom on the left side of the structure. That is for the wood and the fire, the flames are closed off with an iron door. On top of the red clay structure, there lay tatami mats. Tatami mats are made out of rice straw, bundled together. It is softer than wood, but it is still not easy to sleep on. The straw is simply what is left over after the rice harvest and was laid in the sun to dry. Above the Tatami mats, simple pillows and maybe a little wooden table are added on top of the structure when it is time to eat. Or meet up with guests. Between the hour of the monkey and rooster, the people start a fire in the lower section of the Kang. To have it warm before it is time to go to bed. This of course depends on the season. During the later part of 秋天 (Qiūtiān) and the whole duration of 冬天 (Dōngtiān) people start their fires earlier. Even go as far as the hour of the horse, or they start the fire when they get up.
A Kang is a normal object that is found in all the 'commoners households'
Raw materials & Components
- Red clay
- rice straw
- Oak wood
- hour of the monkey16:00 till 17:59
- hour of the rooster18:00 till 19:59
- hour of the rat00:00 till 01:59