Forman 1813 c1: Barren land in border areas reclaimed for resettlement. Cave-dwellings are easy to dig in loess soil. They are warm in winter, cool in summer. Kenanpo, [Shanxi]. Forman 1813 c6: Millions of people in the arid Northwest of China live in communities of cave-dwellings easily burrowed into loess cliffsides, cost only a man's labor, are warm in the winter, cool in summer. Note cultivated area in the foreground.
Caption from Harrison Forman's book Changing China: Chinese civilization was cradled in the loess highlands which border the deserts of Mongolia and form the northern rampart of China Proper. In places this loess blanket is as much as 1,000 feet thick. It is easily chiseled and shaped so that caves may be scooped out to serve as dwellings which are warm in the winter, cool in the summer, and cost only a man's labor to construct. It has been estimated that there may be as many as 10,000,000 or more cave-dwellers in Northwest China. Often whole mountains are pockmarked with hundreds of cave openings.
Source of Descriptive Information
Forman, H. (1948). Changing China. New York: Crown Publishers.