There are many very old buildings in Yangzhou, and remnants of old buildings. The difficulty as with much of China is distinguishing the old from the made to look old upgrades. There are to be sure some impressive, extant examples of Yangzhou's past. Ge Yuan is one notable site. This streetscene typifies much of what charm Yangzhou offers.
The paved streets and walls of grey brick give some indication as to the amount of wealth that flowed into Yangzhou at one times. The salt trade, rather the collection of taxes, on the salt trade accounts for most of the wealth that flowed into this once worldly city. From what I saw there is no reminder of this commodity's importance.
And because even the oldest parts of Yangzhou are still a very much inhabited, it is possible to walk down its many narrow alleyways and find sights such as this, modern construction pressed up against the old with a mixture of modern amenities and destructive alterations. In all cases of historical relics, it is happenstance in what determines what is preserved and what is lost.
One is just as likely a beautiful gem of detail as a modern metal door as its replacement. This motif does not appear to be Chinese, but I have no experience is such matters and it is doubtful that the present residents can offer much accurate interpretation either.
I cannot say for certain whether these two doorways are contemporary, but they exemplify how appearances and methods can vary across time and between craftsmen.
Here is an exposed example of the timberwork of an older building near where much new construction is underway. The roof structure is simple yet elegant. The bottom chord rests on the posts in open mortises, tying the opposing walls together. Two queen posts support a straining beam with a mortice that accepts a king post, which is in turn morticed in a ridge beam. Purlins carry closely spaced splitsawn timbers as rafters. The whole assembly carries interlocking fired tiles set in mortar.
Here is a closeup of the modern interpretation of Chinese timberframing. It features the use of rounded timbers and some of the same joinery. There are, however, some changes. While the purlins are carried on the king and queen posts, they do not appear to involve any joinery. As can be seen, the purlins are simply cut flush at the ends and butted together atop the posts. I can only guess that they are toenailed or will be connected with some sort of other metal fasteners.
In another concession to modernity these men use an electric chainsaw to cut a raw log flush at one end. Behind them is a stack of partially worked and unfinished timbers.
In the next step, a workman lays out the dimensions of the timber, using a template and ink. Afterwards he uses a single beveled hatchet and planes to smooth the timbers to their final rounded dimensions.
These are the handmade tools used by the man above doing the layout, lying on some raw logs. The horizontal handles seem to be a feature of Chinese planes. Cheaply made planes of bamboo and Vanadium alloy blades of similar design can be bought in retail stores. This plane body was built of a dense tropical wood and had the heft of bronze.