The bus trip from Mount Huangshan to Hangzhou is a great way to see the Chinese countryside. The one thing that I found curious was the stainless steel spires atop many of the houses we passed by. They consist of two or three stainless steel spheres of different sizes mounted on a spire. Some fancier versions sported rings around the larger sphere like an armillary sphere. They remind me of the space-age Oriental Pearl TV tower in Shanghai.
I asked our guide if they represented anything and he told me they were just decoration for the houses. They are such a striking addition to an already striking house design (to Western eyes!) I am curious if there is some other meaning attached to them rather than just decorative.
The photo above shows a spire on a house which is typical of many of the modern houses that abound in the Chinese countryside.
I recently discovered similar decoration used in Morocco on the minaret towers adjacent mosques. The spires are called jamours. I think it likely this was the inspiration for the decoration and that the owners are Muslim. I would be interested to hear what others think. Better still would be to hear from someone who has one installed on their home.