Anhui province is rich in natural resources and agriculture. Salt merchants from the Anhui became very wealthy by shipping salt to inland China areas for centuries. With their wealth they were able to educate their children and many of the Anhui educated men entered service to the emperor. When they had distinguished themselves after a life time of services, commemorative arches were built to honor their deeds in their village. . Some villages had as many as eight commemorative arches.

Because of the hilly environment in Anhui and to reduce the foot print of the houses, a two story housing type was developed with a minimum two light wells to create airflow and allow light into the houses.