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Chinese architecture is an
architectural style An architectural style is a set of characteristics and features that make a building or other structure notable or historically identifiable. It is a sub-class of Style (visual arts), style in the visual arts generally, and most styles in architec ...
that developed over millennia in
China China, officially the People's Republic of China (PRC), is a country in East Asia. It is the List of countries and dependencies by population, world's most populous country, with a population of around 1.4 billion. Covering approximately 9.6& ...
, before spreading out to influence architecture throughout
East Asia East Asia is the eastern region of Asia Asia () is Earth's largest and most populous continent, located primarily in the Eastern Hemisphere, Eastern and Northern Hemisphere, Northern Hemisphere of the Earth, Hemispheres. It shares the ...
. Since the solidification of the style during the early imperial period, the structural principles of Chinese architecture have remained largely unchanged, the main changes being only the decorative details. Starting with the
Tang dynasty The Tang dynasty (, ; ), or Tang Empire, was an imperial dynasty of China that ruled from 618 to 907, with an interregnum between 690 and 705. It was preceded by the Sui dynasty and followed by the Five Dynasties and Ten Kingdoms period. H ...
, Chinese architecture has had a major influence on the architectural styles of
Japan , image_flag = Flag of Japan.svg , alt_flag = Centered deep red circle on a white rectangle , image_coat = Imperial Seal of Japan.svg , alt_coat = Golden circle subdiv ...
,
Korea Korea (officially the "Korean Peninsula") is a region in East Asia. Since 1945 it has been Division of Korea, divided into the two parts which soon became the two sovereign states: North Korea (officially the "Democratic People's Republic of ...
,
Mongolia Mongolia (, mn, Монгол Улс, Mongol Uls, Traditional Mongolian: '; lit. "Mongol Nation" or "State of Mongolia") is a landlocked country A landlocked country is a country A country is a distinct territory, territorial body ...
, and
Vietnam , image_map = , map_caption = , capital = Hanoi , coordinates = , largest_city = Ho Chi Minh City , languages_type = National language , languages ...
, and a varying amount of influence on the architectural styles of Southeast and South Asia including
Malaysia Malaysia ( ; ) is a country in Southeast Asia. The federation, federal constitutional monarchy consists of States and federal territories of Malaysia, thirteen states and three federal territories, separated by the South China Sea into two reg ...

Malaysia
,
Singapore Singapore (), officially the Republic of Singapore, is a sovereign state, sovereign island city-state in maritime Southeast Asia. It lies about one degree of latitude () north of the equator, off the southern tip of the Malay Peninsula, bord ...

Singapore
,
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Indonesia
,
Sri Lanka Sri Lanka (, ; si, ශ්‍රී ලංකාව, Śrī Laṅkā, translit-std=ISO (); ta, இலங்கை, Ilaṅkai, translit-std=ISO ()), formerly known as Ceylon, and officially the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka, is ...

Sri Lanka
,
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Thailand
,
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Laos
,
Cambodia Cambodia (; also Kampuchea ; km, កម្ពុជា, ), officially the Kingdom of Cambodia, is a country located in the southern portion of the Indochinese Peninsula in Southeast Asia. It is in area, bordered by Thailand to Cambodia–T ...
and the
Philippines The Philippines (; fil, Pilipinas or ''Filipinas'' ), officially the Republic of the Philippines ( fil, Republika ng Pilipinas), * bik, Republika kan Filipinas * ceb, Republika sa Pilipinas * cbk, República de Filipinas * hil, Republik ...

Philippines
. Chinese architecture is characterised by various features such as bilateral symmetry, use of enclosed open spaces, the incorporation of ideas related to
feng shui Feng shui ( zh, t=風水), also known as Chinese geomancy, is a pseudoscientific traditional practice originating from ancient China, which claims to use energy forces to harmonize individuals with their surrounding environment. The term '' ...

feng shui
(e.g. directional hierarchies), a horizontal emphasis, and an allusion to various cosmological, mythological or in general symbolic elements. Chinese architecture traditionally classifies structures according to type, ranging from pagodas to palaces. Due to the frequent use of wood, a relatively perishable material, as well as a lack of major monumental structures built of more durable materials, much historical knowledge of Chinese architecture derives from surviving miniature models in ceramic and published planning diagrams and specifications. Some of the architecture of China shows the influence of other types or styles from outside of China, such as the influences on
mosque A mosque (; from ar, مَسْجِد, masjid, ; literally "place of ritual prostration"), also called masjid, is a place of worship for Muslims. Any act of worship that follows the Salah, Islamic rules of prayer can be said to create a mosque, ...

mosque
structures originating in the
Middle East The Middle East ( ar, الشرق الأوسط, ISO 233 The international standard are technical standards developed by international organizations (intergovernmental organizations), such as Codex Alimentarius in food, the World Health Organi ...

Middle East
. Although displaying certain unifying aspects, Chinese architecture on status or affiliation, like whether or not the structures were constructed for emperors, commoners, or used for religious purposes. Other variations in Chinese architecture are shown in the varying styles associated with different geographic regions and in ethnic architectural design. Throughout the 20th century, Chinese architects have attempted to combine traditional Chinese designs into
modern architecture Modern architecture, or modernist architecture, was an architectural movement or architectural style based upon new and innovative technologies of construction, particularly the use of glass, steel, and reinforced concrete; the idea that Form fo ...

modern architecture
, usually government. Moreover, the pressure for urban development throughout contemporary China requires a higher speed of construction and floor area ratio: thus, in cities, the demand for traditional Chinese buildings (which are normally less than 3 levels) has declined in favor of modern architecture. However, the traditional skills of Chinese architecture, including major and minor carpentry,
masonry Masonry is the building of structures from individual units, which are often laid in and bound together by mortar Mortar may refer to: * Mortar (weapon), an indirect-fire infantry weapon * Mortar (masonry), a material used to fill the gaps betwee ...

masonry
, and
stonemasonry Stonemasonry or stonecraft is the creation of building A building, or edifice, is a structure with a roof and walls standing more or less permanently in one place, such as a house or factory. Buildings come in a variety of sizes, shapes, and f ...

stonemasonry
, are still applied to the construction of
vernacular architecture Vernacular architecture is building done outside any academic tradition, and without professional guidance. This category encompasses a wide range and variety of building types, with differing methods of construction, from around the world, b ...
in China's vast rural areas.


History


Neolithic and early antiquity

Chinese civilizational cultures developed in the plains along the numerous rivers that emptied into the Bohai and Hongzhow bays. The most prominent of these rivers, the
Yellow Yellow is the color Color ( American English), or colour ( Commonwealth English), is the characteristic of visual perception described through color ''categories'', with names such as red, orange (colour), orange, yellow, green, blue, ...
and the
Yangtze along the Yangtze River. in Hubei Hubei (; Postal romanization, alternately Hupeh) is a landlocked provinces of China, province of the China, People's Republic of China, and is part of the Central China region. The name of the provinc ...
, hosted a complex fabric of villages. The climate was warmer and more humid than today, allowing for millet to be grown in the north and rice in the south. There was, however, no single "origin" of the Chinese civilization. Instead, there was a gradual multinuclear development between the years 4000 and 2000 BC – from village communities to what anthropologists call cultures to small but well-organized states. Two of the more important cultures were the
Hongshan culture The C-shaped jade dragon of Hongshan Culture The Hongshan culture () was a Neolithic culture in the Liao river basin in northeast China. Hongshan sites have been found in an area stretching from Inner Mongolia to Liaoning, and dated from about 47 ...
(4700–2900 BC) to the north of Bohai Bay in
Inner Mongolia Inner Mongolia, officially the Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region, is a landlocked Autonomous regions of China, autonomous region of the China, People's Republic of China. Its border includes most of the length of China's China–Mongolia border, ...

Inner Mongolia
and
Hebei Hebei (; Postal romanization, alternately Hopeh) is a coastal Provinces of China, province of the China, People's Republic of China, and is part of the North China region. The modern province was established in 1911 as Zhili, Chihli Province ...
Province and the contemporaneous
Yangshao culture The Yangshao culture was a Neolithic The Neolithic period is the final division of the Stone Age, with a wide-ranging set of developments that appear to have arisen independently in several parts of the world. It is first seen about 12,000 yea ...
(5000–3000 BC) in
Henan Province Henan (; alternatively Honan) is a landlocked province of China, in the central part of the country. Henan is often referred to as Zhongyuan or Zhongzhou (), which literally means "central plain" or "midland", although the name is also ap ...

Henan Province
. Between the two, and developing later, was the
Longshan culture The Longshan (or Lung-shan) culture, also sometimes referred to as the Black Pottery Culture, was a late Neolithic The Neolithic period is the final division of the Stone Age, with a wide-ranging set of developments that appear to have arisen i ...
(3000–2000 BC) in the central and lower
Yellow River The Yellow River (Chinese: , Jin Chinese, Jin: uə xɔ Standard Beijing Mandarin, Mandarin: ''Huáng hé'' ) is the second-longest river in China, after the Yangtze River, and the List of rivers by length, sixth-longest river system in ...
valley. These combined areas gave rise to thousands of small states and proto-states by 3000 BC. Some continued to share a common ritual center that linked the communities to a single symbolic order, but others developed along more independent lines. All was not peaceful, and the emergence of walled cities during this time is a clear indication that the political landscape was very much in flux. The Hongshan culture of Inner Mongolia (located along the Laoha, Yingjin, and Daling rivers that empty into
Bohai Bay Bohai Bay () is one of the three major bays of the Bohai Sea The Bohai Sea or Bo Sea, also known as Bohai Gulf, Bo Gulf or Pohai Bay (), is a marginal sea approximately in area on the east coast of mainland China Mainland China, also ...
) was scattered over a large area but had a single, common ritual center that consisted of at least 14 burial mounds and altars over several hill ridges. It dates from around 3500 BC but could have been founded ever earlier. Although there is no evidence of village settlements nearby, its size is much larger than one clan or village could support. In other words, though rituals would have been performed here for the elites, the large area implies that audiences for the ritual would have encompassed all the villages of the Hongshan. As a sacred landscape, the center might also have attracted supplicants from even further afield.


Features


Architectural bilateral symmetry

A very important feature in Chinese architecture is its emphasis on articulation and bilateral symmetry, which signifies balance. Bilateral symmetry and the articulation of buildings are found everywhere in Chinese architecture, from palace complexes to humble farmhouses. When possible, plans for renovation and extension of a house will often try to maintain this symmetry provided that there is enough capital to do so. Secondary elements are positioned either side of main structures as two wings to maintain overall bilateral symmetry. The buildings are typically planned to contain an even number of columns in a structure to produce an odd number of bays (間). With the inclusion of a main door to a building in the center bay, symmetry is maintained. In contrast to the buildings, the Chinese gardens tend to be asymmetrical. The principle underlying the garden's composition is to create enduring flow. The design of the classic Chinese garden is based on the ideology of "Nature and Man in One", as opposed to the home itself, which is a symbol of the human sphere co-existing with, but separate from nature. So, the arrangement is as flexible as possible to let people feel they are surrounded by and in harmony with nature. The two essential elements of the garden are hill stones and water. The hill stones mean the pursuit of immortality and water represents emptiness and existence. The mountain belongs to yang (static beauty) and the water belongs to yin (dynamic wonder). They depend on each other and complete the whole nature.


Enclosure

In much of traditional Chinese architecture, buildings or building complexes take up an entire property but enclose open spaces within themselves. These enclosed spaces come in two forms, the: *''Courtyard (院)'': The use of open courtyards is a common feature in many types of Chinese architectures. This is best exemplified in the
Siheyuan A ''siheyuan'' is a historical type of residence that was commonly found throughout China China, officially the People's Republic of China (PRC), is a country in East Asia. It is the List of countries and dependencies by population, world' ...
: It consisted of an empty space surrounded by buildings connected with one another either directly or through verandas. *''"Sky well" (天井)'': Although large open courtyards are less commonly found in southern Chinese architecture, the concept of an "open space" surrounded by buildings, which is seen in northern courtyard complexes, can be seen in the southern building structure known as the "sky well". This structure is essentially a relatively enclosed courtyard formed from the intersections of closely spaced buildings and offer small opening to the sky through the roof space from the floor up. These enclosures serve in temperature regulation and in venting the building complexes. Northern courtyards are typically open and facing the south to allow the maximum exposure of the building windows and walls to the sun while keeping the cold northern winds out. Southern sky wells are relatively small and serves to collect rain water from the roof tops. They perform the same duties as the
Roman Roman or Romans usually refers to: *Rome, the capital city of Italy *Ancient Rome, Roman civilization from 8th century BC to 5th century AD *Roman people, the people of ancient Rome *''Epistle to the Romans'', shortened to ''Romans'', a letter in ...
impluvium The ''impluvium'' is the sunken part of the atrium in a Greek or Roman house (''domus In ancient Rome, the ''domus'' (plural ''domūs'', genitive ''domūs'' or ''domī'') was the type of town house occupied by the upper classes and some w ...

impluvium
while restricting the amount of sunlight that enters the building. Sky wells also serve as vents for rising hot air, which draws cool air from the lower stories of the house and allows for exchange of cool air with the outside.


Hierarchy

The projected hierarchy and importance and uses of buildings in traditional Chinese architecture are based on the strict placement of buildings in a property/complex. Buildings with doors facing the front of the property are considered more important than those facing the sides. Buildings facing away from the front of the property are the least important. South-facing buildings in the rear and more private location of the property with higher exposure to sunlight are held in higher esteem and reserved for elder members of the family or ancestral plaques. Buildings facing east and west are generally for junior members or branches of the family, while buildings near the front are typically for servants and hired help. Front-facing buildings in the back of properties are used particularly for rooms of celebratory rites and for the placement of ancestral halls and plaques. In multiple courtyard complexes, central courtyards and their buildings are considered more important than peripheral ones, the latter typically being used as storage, servants’ rooms, or kitchens.


Horizontal emphasis

Classical Chinese buildings, especially those of the wealthy, are built with an emphasis on breadth and less on height, featuring an enclosed heavy platform and a large roof that floats over this base, with the vertical walls not well emphasized. Buildings that were too high and large were considered unsightly, and therefore generally avoided. Chinese architecture stresses the visual impact of the width of the buildings, using sheer scale to inspire awe in visitors. This preference contrasts Western architecture, which tends to grow in height and depth. This often meant that
pagoda (Six Harmonies Pagoda) of Hangzhou Hangzhou (, , Standard Mandarin Standard Chinese, in linguistics known as Standard Northern Mandarin, Standard Beijing Mandarin or simply Mandarin, is a Mandarin Chinese#Subgrouping, dialect of M ...

pagoda
s towered above all other buildings in the skyline of a Chinese city. The halls and palaces in the
Forbidden City The Forbidden City () is a palace , the official residence of Emperor of Japan The Emperor of Japan is the head of state A head of state (or chief of state) is the public persona who officially embodies a state (polity), state#F ...

Forbidden City
, have rather low ceilings when compared to equivalent stately buildings in the West, but their external appearances suggest the all-embracing nature of imperial China. These ideas have found their way into modern Western architecture, for example through the work of
Jørn Utzon Jørn Oberg Utzon, , Hon. FAIA (; 9 April 191829 November 2008) was a Danish architect. He was most notable for designing the Sydney Opera House The Sydney Opera House is a multi-venue performing arts centre at Sydney Harbour located in ...
.


Cosmological concepts

Chinese architecture from early times used concepts from
Chinese cosmology Chinese mythology () is mythology Myth is a folklore genre consisting of narrative A narrative, story or tale is any account of a series of related events or experiences, whether nonfictional ( memoir, biography, news report, documentar ...
such as ''
feng shui Feng shui ( zh, t=風水), also known as Chinese geomancy, is a pseudoscientific traditional practice originating from ancient China, which claims to use energy forces to harmonize individuals with their surrounding environment. The term '' ...

feng shui
'' (
geomancy Geomancy (Greek language, Greek: γεωμαντεία, "earth divination") is a method of divination that interprets markings on the ground or the patterns formed by tossed handfuls of soil, rocks, or sand. The most prevalent form of divinator ...
) and
Taoism Taoism (), or Daoism (), is a philosophical and spiritual tradition of China, Chinese origin which emphasizes living in harmony with the ''Tao'' (, Taoism#Spelling and pronunciation, or ''Dao''). In Taoism, the ''Tao'' is the source, pattern a ...
to organize construction and layout from common residences to imperial and religious structures. This includes the use of: * Screen walls to face the main entrance of the house, which stems from the belief that evil things travel in straight lines. * Talismans and imagery of good fortune: **
Door god Menshen or threshold guardians are divine guardians of doors and gates in Chinese folk religions, used to protect against evil influences or to encourage the entrance of positive ones. They began as the divine pair Shenshu (deity), Shenshu () ...

Door god
s displayed on doorways to ward off evil and encourage the flow of good fortune ** Three anthropomorphic figures representing
Fu Lu Shou The Sanxing (三星 "Three Stars") are the gods of the three stars or constellations considered essential in Chinese astrology and mythology: Jupiter, Ursa Major, and Canopus. Fu, Lu, and Shou (), or Cai, Zi and Shou (財子壽) are also the embo ...
(福祿壽 fú-lù-shòu) stars are prominently displayed, sometimes with the proclamation "the three stars are present" (三星宅 sān-xīng-zhài) ** Animals and fruits that symbolize good fortune and prosperity, such as
bat Bats are mammal Mammals (from Latin language, Latin , 'breast') are a group of vertebrate animals constituting the class (biology), class Mammalia (), and characterized by the presence of mammary glands which in Female#Mammalian femal ...

bat
s and
pomegranates The pomegranate (''Punica granatum'') is a fruit-bearing deciduous shrub in the family Lythraceae, subfamily Punicoideae, that grows between tall. The pomegranate was originally described throughout the Mediterranean region. It was introduce ...

pomegranates
, respectively. The association is often done through
rebus A rebus () is a puzzle device that combines the use of illustrated pictures with individual letters to depict words or phrases. For example: the word "been" might be depicted by a rebus showing an illustrated bumblebee next to a plus sign (+) ...

rebus
es. * Orienting the structure with its back to elevated landscape and ensuring that there is water in the front. Considerations are also made such that the generally windowless back of the structure faces the north, where the wind is coldest in the winter. * Ponds, pools, wells, and other water sources are usually built into the structure. * Aligning a building along a north/south axis, with the building facing south and the two sides facing east and west respectively. The use of certain colors, numbers and the cardinal directions in traditional Chinese architecture reflected the belief in a type of
immanence The doctrine or theory of immanence holds that the divine encompasses or is manifested in the material world. It is held by some philosophical and metaphysical theories of divine presence. Immanence is usually applied in monotheistic, panth ...
, where the nature of a thing could be wholly contained in its own form.
Beijing Beijing ( ; ; ), Chinese postal romanization, alternatively romanized as Peking ( ), is the Capital city, capital of the People's Republic of China. It is the world's List of national capitals by population, most populous national capital ci ...

Beijing
and
Chang'an Chang'an (; ) was an ancient capital of more than ten dynasties in Chinese history, today known as Xi'an in Shaanxi Shaanxi (, ; Chinese postal romanization, alternately Shensi) is a landlocked Provinces of China, province of the Ch ...
are examples of traditional Chinese
town planning Urban planning, also known as regional planning, town planning, city planning, or rural planning, is a technical and political process that is focused on the development and design of land use caused by numerous roads near the Indiana Dunes ...
that represent these cosmological concepts.


Architectural types

There are various types of Chinese architecture. Some of these relate to the associated use of the structures, such as whether they were built for royals, commoners, or the religious.


Commoners

Due to primarily wooden construction and poor maintenance, far fewer examples of commoner's homes survive to this day compared to those of nobles. According to Matthew Korman, the average commoner's home did not change much, even centuries after the establishment of the universal style, such as early-20th-century homes, were very similar to late and mid imperial homes in layout and construction. These homes, be they those of bureaucrats, merchants or farmers, tended to follow a set pattern: the center of the building would be a shrine for the deities and the ancestors, which would also be used during festivities. On its two sides were bedrooms for the elders; the two wings of the building (known as "guardian dragons" by the Chinese) were for the junior members of the family, as well as the living room, the dining room, and the kitchen, although sometimes the living room could be very close to the center. Sometimes the extended families became so large that one or even two extra pairs of "wings" had to be built. This resulted in a U-shaped building, with a courtyard suitable for farm work. Merchants and bureaucrats, however, preferred to close off the front with an imposing front gate. All buildings were legally regulated, and the law held that the number of stories, the length of the building and the colours used depended on the owner's class. Some commoners living in areas plagued by bandits built communal fortresses called
Tulou A tulou (), or "earthen building", is a traditional communal Hakka people The Hakka (), sometimes also referred to as Hakka Han, or Hakka Chinese, are a Han Chinese The Han Chinese,
for protection. Often favoured by the Hakka in Fujian and Jiangxi, the design of Tulou also shows the Chinese ancient philosophy of harmony between people and environment. People used local materials to build the walls with rammed earth. There is no window to the outside on the lower two floors for defense, but it's open on the inside with a common courtyard and lets people get together easily.


Imperial

There were certain architectural features that were reserved solely for buildings built for the
Emperor of China Emperor of China, or ''Huángdì'' (), was the Chinese sovereign, monarch of China during the History of China#Imperial China, imperial period of Chinese history. In traditional Chinese political theory, the emperor was considered the Son of Hea ...
. One example is the use of yellow roof tiles, yellow having been the Imperial color; yellow roof tiles still adorn most of the buildings within the
Forbidden City The Forbidden City () is a palace , the official residence of Emperor of Japan The Emperor of Japan is the head of state A head of state (or chief of state) is the public persona who officially embodies a state (polity), state#F ...

Forbidden City
. The other example is the roof types, which only emperor can be used is Hip Roofs, which four sides of roof were sloping. Also there were two different type of hip roof: single-eave and double-eave. The Hall of Supreme Harmony is the great example of double eaves hip roof in Chinese architectural. The
Temple of Heaven The Temple of Heaven () is an imperial complex of religious buildings situated in the southeastern part of central Beijing Beijing ( ), Chinese postal romanization, alternatively romanized as Peking ( ), is the Capital city, capital of ...

Temple of Heaven
, however, uses blue roof tiles to symbolize the sky. The roofs are almost invariably supported by
bracket A bracket is either of two tall fore- or back-facing punctuation Punctuation (or sometimes interpunction) is the use of spacing, conventional signs (called punctuation marks), and certain typographical devices as aids to the understanding ...
s ("''dougong''"), a feature shared only with the largest of religious buildings. The wooden columns of the buildings, as well as the surfaces of the walls, tend to be red in color. Black is also a famous color often used in pagodas. It was believed that the gods are inspired by the black color to descend to the earth. The Chinese 5-clawed dragon, adopted by the first Ming emperor for his personal use, was used as decoration on the beams, pillars, and on the doors on Imperial architecture. Curiously, the dragon was never used on roofs of imperial buildings. Only the buildings used by the imperial family were allowed to have nine ''jian'' (間, space between two columns); only the gates used by the
Emperor An emperor (from la, imperator, via fro, empereor) is a monarch, and usually the sovereignty, sovereign ruler of an empire or another type of imperial realm. Empress, the female equivalent, may indicate an emperor's wife (empress consort), m ...
could have five arches, with the centre one, of course, being reserved for the Emperor himself. The ancient Chinese favored the color
red Red is the color at the long wavelength end of the visible spectrum Laser beams with visible spectrum The visible spectrum is the portion of the electromagnetic spectrum that is visual perception, visible to the human eye. Electromagnetic ...

red
. The buildings faced south because the north had a cold wind.
Beijing Beijing ( ; ; ), Chinese postal romanization, alternatively romanized as Peking ( ), is the Capital city, capital of the People's Republic of China. It is the world's List of national capitals by population, most populous national capital ci ...

Beijing
became the capital of China after the
Mongol The Mongols ( mn, Монголчууд, , ''Mongolchuud'', ; russian: Монголы, ) are an East Asian people, East Asian ethnic group indigenous peoples, native to the Inner Mongolia, Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region of China, Mongolia and ...

Mongol
invasion of the 13th century, completing the easterly migration of the Chinese capital begun since the Jin dynasty. The
Ming#REDIRECT Ming dynasty#REDIRECT Ming dynasty {{Redirect category shell, 1= {{R from move {{R from other capitalisation ...
{{Redirect category shell, 1= {{R from move {{R from other capitalisation ...

Ming
uprising in 1368 reasserted Chinese authority and fixed Beijing as the seat of imperial power for the next five centuries. The Emperor and the Empress lived in palaces on the central axis of the
Forbidden City The Forbidden City () is a palace , the official residence of Emperor of Japan The Emperor of Japan is the head of state A head of state (or chief of state) is the public persona who officially embodies a state (polity), state#F ...

Forbidden City
, the
Crown Prince A crown prince or hereditary prince is the heir apparent An heir apparent is a person who is first in an order of succession An order of succession or right of succession is the line of individuals entitled to hold a high office when it ...

Crown Prince
at the eastern side, and the concubines at the back (therefore the numerous imperial concubines were often referred to as "The Back Palace Three Thousand"). However, during the mid-
Qing dynasty The Qing dynasty, officially the Great Qing (), was the last Dynasties in Chinese history, dynasty in the History of China#Imperial China, imperial history of China. It was established in 1636, and ruled China proper from 1644 to 1912, wi ...
, the Emperor's residence was moved to the western side of the complex. It is misleading to speak of an axis in the Western sense of a visual perspective ordering facades, rather the Chinese axis is a line of privilege, usually built upon, regulating access—there are no vistas, but a series of gates and pavilions.
Numerology Numerology is the pseudoscientific belief in a divine or mysticism, mystical relationship between a number and one or more Coincidence#Interpretation, coinciding events. It is also the study of the numerical value of the letters in words, names, ...
heavily influenced Imperial Architecture, hence the use of nine in much of construction (nine being the greatest single digit number) and the reason why the Forbidden City in Beijing is said to have 9,999.9 rooms—just short of the mythical 10,000 rooms in heaven. The importance of the East (the direction of the rising sun) in orienting and siting Imperial buildings is a form of solar worship found in many ancient cultures, where there is the notion of Ruler being affiliated with the Sun. The tombs and mausoleums of imperial family members, such as the 8th-century
Tang dynasty The Tang dynasty (, ; ), or Tang Empire, was an imperial dynasty of China that ruled from 618 to 907, with an interregnum between 690 and 705. It was preceded by the Sui dynasty and followed by the Five Dynasties and Ten Kingdoms period. H ...
tombs at the
Qianling Mausoleum The Qianling Mausoleum () is a Tang dynasty The Tang dynasty (, ; ), or Tang Empire, was an imperial dynasty of China that ruled from 618 to 907, with an interregnum between 690 and 705. It was preceded by the Sui dynasty and followed by ...
, can also be counted as part of the imperial tradition in architecture. These above-ground earthen mounds and pyramids had subterranean shaft-and-vault structures that were lined with brick walls since at least the
Warring States period The Warring States period () was an era in ancient Chinese history characterized by warfare, as well as bureaucratic and military reforms and consolidation. It followed the Spring and Autumn period The Spring and Autumn period was a period i ...
(481–221 BC).Guo, Qinghua. "Tomb Architecture of Dynastic China: Old and New Questions," ''Architectural History'' (Volume 47, 2004): 1–24. Page 12.


Religious

Generally speaking,
Buddhist Buddhism (, ) is the world's fourth-largest religion Religion is a social system, social-cultural system of designated religious behaviour, behaviors and practices, morality, morals, beliefs, worldviews, religious text, texts, shrine, ...

Buddhist
architecture follows the imperial style. A large Buddhist monastery normally has a front hall, housing the statues of the
Four Heavenly Kings The Four Heavenly Kings are four Buddhist Buddhism (, ) is the world's fourth-largest religion Religion is a social system, social-cultural system of designated religious behaviour, behaviors and practices, morality, morals, belie ...
, followed by a great hall, housing the statues of the
Buddhas In Buddhism, Buddha (), "awakened one," is a title for someone who is Enlightenment in Buddhism, awake, and has attained Nirvana (Buddhism), nirvana and Buddhahood. The title is most commonly used for Gautama Buddha, the founder of Buddhism, wh ...
. Accommodations for the monks and the nuns are located at the two sides. Some of the greatest examples of this come from the 18th-century Puning Temple and
Putuo Zongcheng Temple
Putuo Zongcheng Temple
. Buddhist monasteries sometimes also have
pagoda (Six Harmonies Pagoda) of Hangzhou Hangzhou (, , Standard Mandarin Standard Chinese, in linguistics known as Standard Northern Mandarin, Standard Beijing Mandarin or simply Mandarin, is a Mandarin Chinese#Subgrouping, dialect of M ...

pagoda
s, which may house the relics of the
Gautama Buddha Gautama Buddha, popularly known as the Buddha (also known as Siddhattha Gotama or Siddhārtha Gautama or Buddha Shakyamuni), was an Śramaṇa, ascetic, a religious leader and teacher who lived in History of India#Iron Age (1500 – 200 BCE ...

Gautama Buddha
; older pagodas tend to be four-sided, while later pagodas usually have eight sides.
Daoist Taoism (), or Daoism (), is a philosophical tradition of Chinese origin which emphasizes living in harmony with the ''Tao'' (, or ''Dao''). In Taosim the ''Tao'' is the source, pattern and substance of everything that exists. Taoism teaches ...
architecture, on the other hand, usually follows the commoners' style. The main entrance is, however, usually at the side, out of
superstition . A superstition is a belief or practice typically resulting from ignorance, a misunderstanding of science Science (from the Latin word ''scientia'', meaning "knowledge") is a systematic enterprise that Scientific method, builds and Taxon ...
about
demon A demon is a supernatural The supernatural encompasses supposed phenomena that are not subject to the laws of nature.https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/supernatural By definition, a supernatural manifestation or event requires ...

demon
s which might try to enter the premise (see
feng shui Feng shui ( zh, t=風水), also known as Chinese geomancy, is a pseudoscientific traditional practice originating from ancient China, which claims to use energy forces to harmonize individuals with their surrounding environment. The term '' ...

feng shui
.) In contrast to the Buddhists, in a
Daoist Taoism (), or Daoism (), is a philosophical tradition of Chinese origin which emphasizes living in harmony with the ''Tao'' (, or ''Dao''). In Taosim the ''Tao'' is the source, pattern and substance of everything that exists. Taoism teaches ...
temple the main deity is located in the main hall at the front, the lesser deities in the back hall and at the sides. This is because Chinese people believe that even after the body has died, the soul is still alive. From the Han grave design, it shows the forces of cosmic yin and yang, the two forces from the heaven and earth that creates eternity. The tallest pre-modern building in China was built for both religious and martial purposes. The Liaodi Pagoda of 1055 AD stands at a height of , and although it served as the crowning pagoda of the Kaiyuan monastery in old Dingzhou,
Hebei Hebei (; Postal romanization, alternately Hopeh) is a coastal Provinces of China, province of the China, People's Republic of China, and is part of the North China region. The modern province was established in 1911 as Zhili, Chihli Province ...
, it was also used as a military
watchtower A watchtower is a type of fortification A fortification is a military construction or building designed for the defense of territories in warfare, and is also used to establish rule in a region during peacetime. The term is derived from La ...

watchtower
for
Song dynasty The Song dynasty (; ; 960–1279) was an imperial dynasty of China that began in 960 and lasted until 1279. The dynasty was founded by Emperor Taizu of Song Emperor Taizu of Song (21 March 927 – 14 November 976), personal name Zhao Kuan ...
soldiers to observe potential
Liao dynasty The Liao dynasty (; Khitan: ''Mos Jælud''; ), also known as the Khitan Empire (Khitan: ''Mos diau-d kitai huldʒi gur''), officially the Great Liao (), was an imperial dynasty of China that existed between 916 and 1125, ruled by the Yelü ...
enemy movements. The architecture of the
mosques A mosque (; from ar, مَسْجِد, masjid, ; literally "place of ritual prostration"), also called masjid, is a place of worship for Muslims Muslims () are people who follow or practice Islam, a Monotheism, monotheistic Abrahamic reli ...
and '' gongbei'' tomb shrines of
China's Muslims
China's Muslims
often combines traditional Chinese styles with Middle Eastern influences.


Gallery

File:Mount Tai.jpg, A group of temples at the top of
Mount Tai Mount Tai () is a mountain of historical and cultural significance located north of the city of Tai'an Tai'an () is a prefecture-level city Image:Yangxin-renmin-huanyin-ni-0022.jpg, A road sign shows distance to the "Huangshi urban area" () ra ...

Mount Tai
shan, where structures have been built at the site since the 3rd century BC during the
Han dynasty#REDIRECT Han dynasty The Han dynasty () was the second Dynasties in Chinese history, imperial dynasty of China (202 BC – 220 AD), established by the rebel leader Liu Bang and ruled by the House of Liu. Preceded by the short-lived Qin dynas ...

Han dynasty
File:Nanshan temple.JPG, Nanshan Temple in Longkou,
Shandong Shandong (; alternately romanized as Shantung) is a coastal province A province is almost always an administrative division Administrative division, administrative unitArticle 3(1). , country subdivision, administrative region, subnati ...

Shandong
. File:Lianhuashan Temple.jpg, Lianhuashan (lit. "lotus flower mountain") Temple in
Dalian Dalian is a major sub-provincial port city in Liaoning province, People's Republic of China, and is Liaoning's second largest city (after the provincial capital Shenyang) and the fourth-most populous city of Northeast China. Located on the ...

Dalian
File:%E6%96%B9%E5%A1%942.JPG,
Songjiang Square Pagoda The Songjiang Square Pagoda or Songjiang Fangta, officially the Xingshengjiao Temple Pagoda, is a Buddhist pagoda in the old town of Songjiang District, Songjiang in suburban Shanghai. Originally built in the 11th century, it is the only structure ...
, built in the 11th century File:Jiudingta 2008 07 15 1.jpg, The
Nine Pinnacle Pagoda Image:Jiudingta 2008 07 15 1.jpg, 250px, Nine Pinnacle Pagoda The Nine Pinnacle Pagoda or Jiuding Pagoda (, sometimes translated as "Nine Roof Pagoda") is an 8th-century pavilion-style brick pagoda located in central Shandong Province of China, Prov ...
, built in the 8th century during the
Tang dynasty The Tang dynasty (, ; ), or Tang Empire, was an imperial dynasty of China that ruled from 618 to 907, with an interregnum between 690 and 705. It was preceded by the Sui dynasty and followed by the Five Dynasties and Ten Kingdoms period. H ...
File:Chinese-style minaret of the Great Mosque.jpg, A
Chinese pavilion in Taipei, Taiwan A Chinese pavilion ( Chinese language, Chinese 亭, pinyin ''Hanyu Pinyin'' (), often abbreviated to pinyin, is the official romanization system for Standard Chinese, Standard Mandarin Chinese in mainland China, Taiwan (R ...

Chinese pavilion
instead of a
minaret Minaret (; fa, گل‌دسته ', az, minarə, tr, minare,"minaret."
''Online Etymology Dictionar ...

minaret
at the
Great Mosque of Xi'an The Great Mosque of Xi'an () is the largest mosque A mosque (; from ar, مَسْجِد, masjid, ; literally "place of ritual prostration"), also called masjid, is a place of worship for Muslims. Any act of worship that follows the Salah, Islam ...
. File:The Fugong Temple Wooden Pagoda.jpg, The Fogong Temple Pagoda, located in Ying county, Shanxi province, built in 1056 during the
Liao dynasty The Liao dynasty (; Khitan: ''Mos Jælud''; ), also known as the Khitan Empire (Khitan: ''Mos diau-d kitai huldʒi gur''), officially the Great Liao (), was an imperial dynasty of China that existed between 916 and 1125, ruled by the Yelü ...
, is the oldest existent fully wooden pagoda in China File:ChinaTrip2005-110.jpg, The
Giant Wild Goose Pagoda Giant Wild Goose Pagoda or Big Wild Goose Pagoda (, literally "big swan goose pagoda"), is a Chinese pagoda, Buddhist pagoda located in southern Xi'an, Shaanxi, China. It was built in 652 during the Tang dynasty and originally had five stories. Th ...

Giant Wild Goose Pagoda
in
Xi'an Xi'an ( , ; ; Chinese: ), sometimes romanized as Sian, is the capital Capital most commonly refers to: * Capital letter Letter case (or just case) is the distinction between the letters that are in larger uppercase or capitals ( ...
, rebuilt in 704 during the
Tang dynasty The Tang dynasty (, ; ), or Tang Empire, was an imperial dynasty of China that ruled from 618 to 907, with an interregnum between 690 and 705. It was preceded by the Sui dynasty and followed by the Five Dynasties and Ten Kingdoms period. H ...
File:Songyue Pagoda 1.JPG, The
Songyue Pagoda The Songyue Pagoda (), constructed in AD 523, is located at the Songyue Monastery on Mount Song Mount Song () is a mountain in central China's Henan Province Henan (; alternatively Honan) is a landlocked province of China, in the centra ...

Songyue Pagoda
, built in 523 AD during the
Northern and Southern dynasties The Northern and Southern dynasties () was a period in the history of China The earliest known written records of the history of China date from as early as 1250 BC, from the Shang dynasty (c. 1600–1046 BC), during the king Wu Ding ...
File:Liuhe Pagoda.jpg, The
Liuhe Pagoda Liuhe Pagoda (), literally Six Harmonies Pagoda, is a multi-story Chinese pagoda (Six Harmonies Pagoda) of Hangzhou, Zhejiang Zhejiang (, formerly romanized as Chekiang) is an eastern, coastal Provinces of China, province of the Ch ...

Liuhe Pagoda
of Hangzhou,
China China, officially the People's Republic of China (PRC), is a country in East Asia. It is the List of countries and dependencies by population, world's most populous country, with a population of around 1.4 billion. Covering approximately 9.6& ...
, built in 1165 AD during the
Song dynasty The Song dynasty (; ; 960–1279) was an imperial dynasty of China that began in 960 and lasted until 1279. The dynasty was founded by Emperor Taizu of Song Emperor Taizu of Song (21 March 927 – 14 November 976), personal name Zhao Kuan ...
File:5741-Linxia-Huasi-Gongbei.jpg, Hua Si Gongbei (Islamic architecture), Gongbei (the mausoleum of Ma Laichi) in Linxia City, Gansu File:Foguang Temple 9.JPG, A timber hall built in 857 during the
Tang dynasty The Tang dynasty (, ; ), or Tang Empire, was an imperial dynasty of China that ruled from 618 to 907, with an interregnum between 690 and 705. It was preceded by the Sui dynasty and followed by the Five Dynasties and Ten Kingdoms period. H ...
, located at the Buddhist Foguang Temple in Mount Wutai, Shanxi File:Dingzhou Liaodi Pagoda 4.jpg, The Liaodi Pagoda, the tallest pre-modern Chinese pagoda, built in 1055 during the
Song dynasty The Song dynasty (; ; 960–1279) was an imperial dynasty of China that began in 960 and lasted until 1279. The dynasty was founded by Emperor Taizu of Song Emperor Taizu of Song (21 March 927 – 14 November 976), personal name Zhao Kuan ...


Urban planning

Chinese urban planning is based on fengshui geomancy and the well-field system of land division, both used since the Neolithic age. The basic well-field diagram is overlaid with the luoshu, a magic square divided into 9 sub-squares, and linked with Chinese numerology. In Southern Song dynasty (1131AD), the design of Hongcun city in Anhui was based around "harmony between man and nature", facing south and surrounded by mountains and water. According to the theory of the traditional Chinese fengshui geomancy, it is a carefully planned ancient village and show the Human-Nature Intergraded Ecological Planning concept. Since wars happened in northern China very often, people moved to southern China. The building method of a courtyard house was adapted to southern China. The village of Tungyuan in Fujian Province is a good example of a planned settlement that shows the Chinese feng shui elements – psychological self-defense and building structure – in the form of material self-defense.


Construction


Materials and history

Wood was originally utilised as a primary building material because it was very common. Also, Chinese people trust that life is connecting with nature and humans should interact with animated things, therefore wood was favored as opposed to stone, which was associated with the homes of the dead. However, unlike other building construction materials, old wooden structures often do not survive because they are more vulnerable to weathering and fires and are naturally subjected to rotting over time. Although now-nonexistent wooden residential towers, watchtowers, and pagodas predated it by centuries, the
Songyue Pagoda The Songyue Pagoda (), constructed in AD 523, is located at the Songyue Monastery on Mount Song Mount Song () is a mountain in central China's Henan Province Henan (; alternatively Honan) is a landlocked province of China, in the centra ...

Songyue Pagoda
built in 523 is the oldest extant Chinese pagoda, pagoda in China; its use of brick instead of wood had much to do with its endurance throughout the centuries. From the
Tang dynasty The Tang dynasty (, ; ), or Tang Empire, was an imperial dynasty of China that ruled from 618 to 907, with an interregnum between 690 and 705. It was preceded by the Sui dynasty and followed by the Five Dynasties and Ten Kingdoms period. H ...
(618–907) onwards, brick and stone architecture gradually became more common and replaced wooden edifices. The earliest examples of this transition can be seen in building projects such as the Zhaozhou Bridge completed in 605 or the Xumi Pagoda built in 636, yet stone and brick architecture is known to have been used in subterranean tomb architecture of earlier dynasties. ruins of a granary in Hecang Fortress (Chinese: 河仓城; Pinyin: Hécāngchéng), located ~11 km (7 miles) northeast of the Western-Han-era Yumen Pass, were built during the Western Han (202 BC – 9 AD) and significantly rebuilt during the Western Jin (280–316 AD). In the early 20th century there were no known fully wood-constructed Tang Dynasty buildings that still existed; the oldest so far discovered was the 1931 find of Guanyin Pavilion at Dule Monastery, dated 984 during the Song.Steinhardt, Nancy Shatzman. "The Tang Architectural Icon and the Politics of Chinese Architectural History," ''The Art Bulletin'' (Volume 86, Number 2, 2004): 228–254. Page 228. This was until the architectural historians Liang Sicheng (1901–1972), Lin Huiyin (1904–1955), Mo Zongjiang (1916–1999), and (1902 – c. 1960s) discovered that the Great East Hall of Foguang Temple on Mount Wutai in Shanxi was reliably dated to the year 857 in June 1937. The groundfloor dimensions for this monastic hall measures .Steinhardt, Nancy Shatzman. "The Tang Architectural Icon and the Politics of Chinese Architectural History," ''The Art Bulletin'' (Volume 86, Number 2, 2004): 228–254. Page 233. A year after the discovery at Foguang, the main hall of nearby Nanchan Temple (Wutai), Nanchan Temple on Mount Wutai was reliably dated to the year 782,Steinhardt, Nancy Shatzman. "The Tang Architectural Icon and the politics of Chinese Architectural History," ''The Art Bulletin'' (Volume 86, Number 2, 2004): 228–254. Page 228–229. while a total of six Tang era wooden buildings have been found by the 21st century.Steinhardt, Nancy Shatzman. "The Tang Architectural Icon and the Politics of Chinese Architectural History," ''The Art Bulletin'' (Volume 86, Number 2, 2004): 228–254. Page 238. The oldest existent fully wooden pagoda that has survived intact is the Pagoda of Fogong Temple of the
Liao dynasty The Liao dynasty (; Khitan: ''Mos Jælud''; ), also known as the Khitan Empire (Khitan: ''Mos diau-d kitai huldʒi gur''), officially the Great Liao (), was an imperial dynasty of China that existed between 916 and 1125, ruled by the Yelü ...
, located in Ying County of Shanxi. While the East Hall of Foguang Temple features only seven types of Dougong, bracket arms in its construction, the 11th-century Pagoda of Fogong Temple features a total of fifty-four.Steinhardt, Nancy Shatzman. "Liao: An Architectural Tradition in the Making," Artibus Asiae (Volume 54, Number 1/2, 1994): 5–39. Page 13. File:Chemin de ronde muraille long.JPG, The Great Wall of China at Mutianyu, near Beijing, built during the Ming dynasty (1368–1644) The earliest walls and platforms in China were of rammed earth construction, and over time brick and stone became more frequently used. This can be seen in ancient sections of the Great Wall of China, while the brick and stone Great Wall seen today is a renovation of the Ming dynasty (1368–1644). With it all consistency is found in Chinese architecture and, although wood being one of the main features, other materials like stone and glazed ceramic tiles were used too. Buildings for public use and for the elites usually consisted of earth mixed with bricks or stones on raised platforms which makes it of little wonder they survived time and natural disasters,hardly do you see the remains of homes of commoners. The earliest of this sort of architecture can be traced to the Shang dynasty (c. 1600 - 1046 BCE)


Structure

*''Foundations'': Most buildings are typically raised on raised platforms (臺基) as their foundations. Vertical structural beams may rest on raised stone pedestals (柱础) which occasionally rest on Deep foundation, piles. In lower class construction, the platforms are constructed of rammed earth platforms that are unpaved or paved with brick or ceramics. In the simplest cases vertical structural beams are driven into the ground directly. Upper class constructions typically have high raised stone paved rammed earth or stone foundations with ornately carved heavy stone pedestals for supporting large vertical structural beams. The vertical beams rest and remain on their pedestals solely by friction and the pressure exerted by the building structure. *''Structural beams'': Use of large structural timbers for primary support of the roof of a building. Wooden timber, usually large trimmed logs, are used as load-bearing columns and lateral beams for framing buildings and supporting the roofs. These beams are connected to each other directly or, in larger and higher class structures, tied indirectly together through the use of brackets. These structural timbers are prominently displayed in finished structures. It is not definitively known how the ancient builders raised the huge wooden load bearing columns into position. *''Structural connections'': Timber frames are typically constructed with joinery and dowelling alone, seldom with the use of glue or nails. These types of semi-rigid structural joints allow the timber structure to resist bending and torsion while under high compression. Structural stability is further ensured through the use of heavy beams and roofs, which weighs the structure down. The lack of glue or nails in joinery, the use of non-rigid support such as dougong, and the used of wood as structural members allow the buildings to slide, flex, and hinge while absorbing shock, vibration, and groundshift from earthquakes without significant damage to its structure. Dougong has a special function. The rich people applied valuable materials to decorate the Dougong for displaying their wealth. The common people used artwork to express their appreciation to the house. *''Walls'': The common use of curtain walls or door panels to delineate rooms or enclose a building, with the general de-emphasis of load-bearing walls in most higher class construction. However, with the reduction in availability of trees in the later dynasties for building structures, the use of load-bearing walls in non-governmental or religious construction increased, with brick and stone being commonly used. *''Roofs'': Flat roofs are uncommon while gabled roofs are almost omnipresent in traditional Chinese architecture. Roofs are either built on roof cross-beams or rest directly on vertical structural beams. In higher class construction, roof supporting beams are supported through complex dougong bracketing systems that indirectly connect them to the primary structural beams. Three main types of roofs are found: *#''Straight inclined'': Roofs with a single incline. These are the most economical type of roofing and are most prevalent in commoner architectures. *#''Multi-inclined'': Roofs with 2 or more sections of incline. These roofs are used in higher class constructions, from the dwellings of wealthy commoners to palaces. *#''Sweeping'': Roofs with a sweeping curvature that rises at the corners of the roof. This type of roof construction is usually reserved for temples and palaces although it may also be found in the homes of the wealthy. In the former cases, the ridges of the roof are usually highly decorated with ceramic figurines. *''Roof apex'': The roof apex of a large hall is usually topped with a ridge of tiles and statues for both decorative purposes as well as to weigh down the layers of roofing tiles for stability. These ridges are often well decorated, especially for religious or palatial structures. In some regions of China, the ridges are sometimes extended or incorporated into the walls of the building to form matouqiang (horse-head walls), which serve as a fire deterrent from drifting embers. *''Roof top decorations'': Symbolism can be found from colors of the eaves, roofing materials and roof top decorations. Gold/yellow is an auspicious (good) color, imperial roofs are gold or yellow. They are usually used by the emperor. Green roofs symbolize bamboo shafts, which, in turn, represent youth and longevity.


Classification by structure

Chinese language, Chinese classifications for architecture include: *亭 () ''ting'' (
Chinese pavilion in Taipei, Taiwan A Chinese pavilion ( Chinese language, Chinese 亭, pinyin ''Hanyu Pinyin'' (), often abbreviated to pinyin, is the official romanization system for Standard Chinese, Standard Mandarin Chinese in mainland China, Taiwan (R ...

Chinese pavilion
s) *臺 () ''tai'' (Terrace (building), terraces) *樓 () ''lou'' (multistory buildings) *閣 () ''ge'' (two-story Chinese pavilion, pavilions) *軒 (轩) ''xuan'' Verandah, (verandas with windows) *塔 ''ta'' (Chinese pagodas) *榭 ''xie'' (pavilions or houses on terraces) *屋 ''wu'' (Rooms along roofed corridors) *斗拱 () ''dougong'' interlocking wooden bracket (architecture), brackets, often used in clusters to support roofs and add ornamentation. *藻井 ''Caisson (Asian architecture), Caisson'' domed or coffered ceiling *宮 () ''Palace#China, palaces'', larger buildings used as imperial residences, temples, or centers for cultural activities.


Miniature models

Although mostly only ruins of brick and rammed earth walls and towers from ancient China (i.e. before the 6th century AD) have survived, information on ancient Chinese architecture (especially wooden architecture) can be discerned from more or less realistic clay Scale model, models of buildings created by the ancient Chinese as funerary items. This is similar to the paper joss paper, joss houses burned in some modern Chinese funerals. The following models were made during the Han Dynasty (202 BC – AD 220): During the Jin dynasty (266–420) and the Six Dynasties, miniature models of buildings or entire architectural ensembles were often made to decorate the tops of the so-called "soul vases" (''hunping''), found in many tombs of that period.


Gender in Chinese homes and society

Beyond the physically creative architecture techniques that the Chinese used, there was an "imaginary architecture" that was implemented into a Chinese house. This imaginary architecture projected three major principles, that display a different set of messages about the relations between its inhabitants, the cosmos, and society at large, that each depicts a gender power imbalance. The first design principle was that the Chinese house was the embodiment of Neo-Confucianism, Neo-Confucian values. The values of the home incorporated prominently social values, collaborative values of loyalty, and values of respect and service. The values were depicted through how the Chinese home represented generations, gender, and age. Unlike western homes, the Chinese home was not a private space or a place separated from the state. It was a smaller community in itself. A place that sheltered a clan's or family's patrilineal kinship. It was quite common for houses to shelter "five generations under one roof." In this patrilineal kinship, there are heavily influenced social concepts of Confucianism, Confucianist values from the Five Relationships between "ruler and subject, father and child, husband and wife, elder and younger brother and friends." There is a large emphasis on the unequal relationship between the superior and subordinate. In the case of the relationship between husband and wife, it clearly was male-dominated. Despite this, the husband was still responsible for treating the partner with kindness, consideration, and understanding. The second aspect was that the Chinese house was a cosmic space. The house was designed as a shelter to thwart away evil influences by channeling cosmic energies (qi) through means of incorporating feng-shui, Feng shui (also known as geomancy). Depending on the season, astral cycle, landscape's configuration of hills, rocks, trees, and water streams, and the house's arrangement, orientation, and details of roofs or gates, an arbitrary amount of energy would be produced. However, since the cosmic energy was such an arbitrary concept, it would be used in both moral and immoral ways. The moral way is by adding feng-shui, Feng shui to a local community temple. Yet, it other times feng-shui, Feng shui would be used competitively to raise the value of one's house at the expense of others. For example, if someone built a part of their house against the norm, their house would be considered a threat. Since it was throwing off the cosmic energy. In one detailed account, a fight broke out over feng-shui, Feng shui. Additionally, this methodology was also incorporated inside the home. Symmetry, orientations, arrangements of objects, and cleanliness were important factors to cosmic energy. Even in poorer homes cleanliness and tidiness were highly desired since it would compensate for the cramped quarters. Sweeping was a daily task that was thought to be an act of purifying the room of pollutions such as dirt. As the Chinese historian, Sima Guang writes, "The servants of the inner and outer quarters and the concubines all rise at the first crow of the cock. After combing their hair, washing, and getting dressed, the male servants should sweep the halls and front courtyard; the doorman and older servants should sweep the middle courtyard, while the maids sweep the living quarters, arrange tables and chairs, and prepare for the toilet of the master and mistress." Through cleaning, the gender segregation of the Chinese household can be seen. The third component was that the house was a space of culture, by depicting the Chinese view of humanity. The house was a domestic domain that marked the separation of the undomesticated world. Commonly symbolized through walls and gates. Gates were first a physical barrier and second a kind of notice board for the outside world. Walls were the boundaries of a patriarchal domain. The home culture was also a place where family rules could be enforced, causing divides in the upbringing of the inhabitants. Most commonly, there was a wide gender distinction. Women were often hidden away within the inner walls to do wifely domestic duties. While men would be house representatives. In terms of the marriage duties, "Men would grow up, marry and likely die in the house win which he, his father and paternal grandfather had been born and in which his mother would live until her death. Women would leave their natal home on marriage to become a stranger in a new house." Women wouldn't be accepted into a new home until they sired a child. Often new brides would be treated badly by the senior members of a household. In extreme cases, junior brides were treated like unpaid servants and forced to do unpleasant chores. Additionally, to women, marriage was thought of as a descent into hell. "The analogy of the wedding process with death is made explicit: the bride describes herself as being prepared for death, and the wedding process as the crossing of the yellow river that is the boundary between this life and the next. Shes appeals for justice, citing the valuable and unrecognized contribution she has made to her family. Her language is bitter and unrestrained, and she even curses the matchmaker and her future husband's family. Such lamenting can take place only within her parents' household and must cease halfway on the road to her new home, when the invisible boundary has been crossed." As a result of this, men and women faced two vastly different lives. The confinement of women was a method of controlling their sexuality. It was thought that women needed to be controlled so that they may not get pregnant by an outsider and then try to claim a state in the male's domain. In addition, wives were often represented as "gossiping troublemakers eager to stir up strife between otherwise devoted brothers, the root of family discord, requiring strict patriarchal control." As a result, they were untrusted and were always considered to be involved in an illicit sexual relationship if they were in the company of another male. Even though a couple would be married, husbands and wives did not stay in the same private room for long. During the day, men would go out or work in their studies so that they can avoid any unnecessary contact with female relatives. Women weren't allowed to leave the inner perimeter. If a woman had to leave the inner perimeter, they must cover their face with a veil or her sleeve. However, the inner quarters did provide women with some control over the patriarchal order. Since they had their own private room that men were not usually permitted to enter. On all social levels and aspects of the Chinese home, the seclusion of women was ingrained into society. A married woman was a virtually a prisoner in her husband's domain while the husband "never had to leave his parents or his home, he knew which lineage and which landscape he belonged to from the time he began to understand the world."


Influence from outside of China

Despite largely being self-developing, there have been periods where Chinese architecture received significant influence from abroad, particularly during conquest dynasties such as the Yuan and Qing, who tended to be more outward-looking. The ruins of the Yuan capital of Khanbaliq under the Forbidden City in Beijing were analysed by scholars to be both distinct from previous styles and influential to many later architecture. Additionally the import of many Muslim officials, architects and scholars from the Islamic world during the Yuan led to an influx of Islamic design elements, especially in Chinese mosques. The Zhenghai Mosque in Ningbo city, Zhejiang province is a type of Islamic Architecture which appeared in China during the Song dynasty (990 AD). When the Arabic traders arrived at the big commercial city of Ningbo and settled down there, they spread the Muslim culture and built a mosque. Later, more mosques were built around Beijing. The case itself is found in the mosques of Xi'an such as Xi'an Great Mosque and Daxuexi Alley Mosque. Beijing's Mosques also follow essentially the norms of Chinese planning, layout, design, and traditional wooden structure. There are many miniature pagodas in Northeast China. They were built by Buddhists during the Liao dynasty (907–1125), and the dynasty supported the practice of Buddhism. They developed some new types of Buddhist architecture building with bricks. Thus, one can find many such pagodas from Hebei Province to Beijing and Inner Mongolia.


Influence on neighboring Asian countries

Chinese architecture has been influential in varying degrees in the development of the architecture of many neighboring East Asian countries. After the Tang dynasty, the era when much Chinese culture was imported en masse by neighboring nations, Chinese architecture has had a major influence on the architectural styles of
Japan , image_flag = Flag of Japan.svg , alt_flag = Centered deep red circle on a white rectangle , image_coat = Imperial Seal of Japan.svg , alt_coat = Golden circle subdiv ...
,
Korea Korea (officially the "Korean Peninsula") is a region in East Asia. Since 1945 it has been Division of Korea, divided into the two parts which soon became the two sovereign states: North Korea (officially the "Democratic People's Republic of ...
,
Mongolia Mongolia (, mn, Монгол Улс, Mongol Uls, Traditional Mongolian: '; lit. "Mongol Nation" or "State of Mongolia") is a landlocked country A landlocked country is a country A country is a distinct territory, territorial body ...
, and
Vietnam , image_map = , map_caption = , capital = Hanoi , coordinates = , largest_city = Ho Chi Minh City , languages_type = National language , languages ...
where the East Asian hip-and-gable roof design is ubiquitous. Chinese architecture also has underlying influences in the architecture of various Southeast Asian countries. Certain Chinese architectural techniques were adopted by Thai artisans after trade commenced with the Yuan dynasty, Yuan and Ming dynasty towards Architecture of Thailand, Thai architecture. Certain temple and palace roof tops were also built in Chinese-style and Chinese-style buildings can be found in Phra Nakhon Si Ayutthaya District, Ayutthaya a nod towards the large numbers of Chinese shipbuilders, sailors and traders who came to the country. In Architecture of Indonesia, Indonesia,
mosque A mosque (; from ar, مَسْجِد, masjid, ; literally "place of ritual prostration"), also called masjid, is a place of worship for Muslims. Any act of worship that follows the Salah, Islamic rules of prayer can be said to create a mosque, ...

mosque
s bearing Chinese influence can be found in certain parts of the country. This influence is recent in comparison to other parts of Asia and is largely due to the sizable Chinese Indonesians, Chinese Indonesian community. In South Asia, Chinese architecture has played a significant role in shaping Architecture of Sri Lanka, Sri Lankan architecture, alongside influences from Architecture of India, India and other parts of Southeast Asia. The East Asian hip-and-gable roof#Kandyan roof of Sri Lanka, Kandyan roof style, for example bears many similarities to the East Asian hip-and-gable roof technique which has its origins in China. The Chinese guardian lions, Chinese-origin guardian lion is also found in front of Buddhist temples, buildings and some Hindu temples (in Nepal) across Asia including Japan, Korea, Thailand, Myanmar, Vietnam, Sri Lanka, Nepal, Cambodia and Laos.


Regional variation

There is considerable regional variance in traditional Chinese architecture, some of which are very divergent from general layouts. Several of the more notable regional styles include:


Hui Style architecture


Shanxi architecture

Shanxi preserves the oldest wooden structures in China from
Tang dynasty The Tang dynasty (, ; ), or Tang Empire, was an imperial dynasty of China that ruled from 618 to 907, with an interregnum between 690 and 705. It was preceded by the Sui dynasty and followed by the Five Dynasties and Ten Kingdoms period. H ...
, including the Foguang Temple and Nanchan Temple. Yungang Grottoes in Datong and numerous Buddhist temples in the sacred Mount Wutai exemplify the religious architectures of China. Shanxi Courtyard Houses, Shanxi family compounds are representative of
vernacular architecture Vernacular architecture is building done outside any academic tradition, and without professional guidance. This category encompasses a wide range and variety of building types, with differing methods of construction, from around the world, b ...
in North China. In the mountainous areas of Shanxi, yaodong is a type of earth shelter that are commonly found. File:Yungang11 2010.JPG, Yungang Grottoes(云冈石窟), Datong(大同), China. File:WutaiShanTaihuai.jpg, Temples in Mount Wutai(五台山) File:Foguang Temple 9.JPG, The Grand East Hall of the Foguang Temple(佛光寺东大殿), in Mount Wutai File:Zunsheng Temple 11.JPG, Birdview of the Zunsheng Temple(尊胜寺) in Mount Wutai File:Goddess Temple Jinsi.JPG, Goddess Temple of Jinci(晋祠圣母殿), Taiyuan File:PingYaoCityWall.jpg, Pingyao(平遥) City Wall File:Pingyao marketstreet.jpg, A market street in Pingyao ancient city File:Lingshi Jingsheng Wangjia Dayuan 2013.08.24 14-14-08.jpg, Wang Family Compound(王家大院), in Lingshi File:Qiao Family Compound, Jinyiyuan.JPG, Qiao Family Compound(乔家大院), Jingyi Court in Qi County File:常家庄园书院内 20130212.jpg, Chang Family Studies, Yuci File:Cave houses shanxi 1.jpg, Yaodong(窑洞) in Lingshi(灵石) County, Shanxi


Lingnan (Cantonese) architecture

The classical Lingnan architecture is used primarily in the southern province of Guangdong and the eastern half of the neighboring Guangxi. It is noted for its use of carvings and sculptures for decorations, green brick, balconies, "Cold alleys", "Narrow doors", and many other characteristics adaptive to the subtropical region. File:Ho Ancestral Hall A.jpg, The Ho Ancestral Hall in Panyu, Guangzhou; Built in 14th century, it utilizes manner door – a second door behind the main one, which is related to Cantonese Feng shui culture. File:The Chen Clan's Academy.jpg, Chen Clan Ancestral Hall, Chan Clan Academy in Gwongzau is often cited as a representative example of Lingnan architecture. File:Chen Clan Academy 5.jpg, A cold alley in Chan Clan Academy; A "Narrow Door" leads to the next alley. File:FSWongFeihungMusium.jpg, A monument in honor of the Cantonese folk hero Wong Fei-hung, in Foshan. File:HK AberdeenTinHauTemple.JPG, Most Hongkongese are of Cantonese origin. Thus, Hong Kong naturally has a lot of buildings of classical Lingnan style. Pictured is a Mazu (Goddess), Mazu temple in Shek Pai Wan, Hong Kong.


Minnan (Hokkien) architecture

Minnan architecture, or Hokkien architecture, refers to the architectural style of the Hoklo people, the Han Chinese group who have been the dominant demographic of most of Fujian and Taiwan. This style is noted for its use of swallowtail roofs (heavily decorated upward-curving roof ridges) and "cut porcelain carving" for decorations. The swallowtail roof is a signature of the Hokkien architecture, commonly used for religious buildings like shrines and temples, but can also be found in dwellings. Hokkien architecture is also dominated by decorations from carvings of natural elements like plants and animals, or figures from Chinese mythology, Chinese mythology. File:Nanfeng Ancestral Temple 06 2013-09.JPG, Nanfeng Ancestral Temple at Zhao'an County, Chiàu-an, Zhangzhou, Changchow, Hokkien (the name of Fujian in the Hokkien language. File:Nanfeng Ancestral Temple 11 2013-09.JPG, Cut porcelain carving decorations above the main door of Nanfeng Ancestral Temple. File:Singang Fengtian Temple 20081012.jpg, A Mazu (Goddess), Mazu temple in Chiayi City, Taiwan. File:鎮福社.JPG, A shrine for Tudigong, a Taoist earth deity, in Kaohsiung, Taiwan; It is an example of a less garish swallowtail roof. File:Thian Hock Keng Temple - entrance.jpg, Front entrance of Thian Hock Keng Temple, Singapore.


Hakka architecture

Hakka people have been noted for building very distinctive walled villages in order to protect themselves from Punti-Hakka Clan Wars, clan wars. File:Earth building-chengqi2.jpg File:Hakka china2.jpg File:HakkaYongding.jpg File:Earth buildings-Tianluokeng.jpg File:Earth building-fuyu.jpg


Gan architecture

The Gan Chinese-speaking province of Jiangxi is noted for its distinct style, making use of bricks, wood, and stones as materials, primarily erected with wooden frames. File:抚州 流坑.JPG, Academies (Shuyuan), Confucian academy in Fuzhou File:流坑.jpg, Jiangxi's indigenous architecture – Liukeng village. File:牌头屋.jpg, A "Pai tau uk" (牌頭屋) in Nanchang, Jiangxi. File:Village in Jinxi, Fuzhou.jpg, A residence in Jinxi county, Fuzhou.


Yaodong architecture

The Jin Chinese cultural area of Shanxi and northern Shaanxi are noted for carving their homes into the sides of mountains. The soft rock of the Loess Plateau in this region makes for an excellent insulating material. File:Cave houses shanxi 1.jpg File:Cave houses shanxi 3.jpg File:Cave houses shanxi 7.jpg File:Cave Dwelling - Courtyard.jpg File:Yanan Shaanxi maoist city IMG 8475.JPG


Tibetan architecture


Xinjiang architecture


Others

Aside from the above, there are many other regional styles, such as Hutong, which is prevalent in northern China, Longtang and Shikumen of Haipai (Shanghainese) architecture, and so on. File:Hutong 1 (Snowyowls).jpg, Entrance to a residence in a hutong. File:Xintiandi gem.jpg, Shikumen in Xintiandi lanes in Shanghai. File:Great walls of state Qi.jpg, Great Wall of Qi in
Shandong Shandong (; alternately romanized as Shantung) is a coastal province A province is almost always an administrative division Administrative division, administrative unitArticle 3(1). , country subdivision, administrative region, subnati ...

Shandong
. File:Du Fu Thatched Cottage Garden.jpg, Du Fu Thatched Cottage in Sichuan. File:Jin Temple entrance.JPG, Jinci in the Jin Chinese-speaking province of Shanxi.


See also

* Ancient Chinese wooden architecture * Architecture of the Song Dynasty * Architecture of Hong Kong * Architecture of Penang * Chinese garden * Chinese pagodas * Feng Shui * Hutong * Imperial roof decoration * Imperial guardian lions * Shanghai – for a gallery of modern buildings * Shikumen *
Siheyuan A ''siheyuan'' is a historical type of residence that was commonly found throughout China China, officially the People's Republic of China (PRC), is a country in East Asia. It is the List of countries and dependencies by population, world' ...
* Walled villages of Hong Kong * Yu Hao


References


Citations


Sources

* Liang Sicheng, Liang, Ssu-ch'eng 1984, ''A pictorial history of Chinese architecture: a study of the development of its structural system and the evolution of its types'', ed. by Wilma Fairbanks, Cambridge (Mass.): MIT Press * * Steinhardt, Nancy Shatzman. "Liao: An Architectural Tradition in the Making," ''Artibus Asiae'' (Volume 54, Number 1/2, 1994): 5–39. * Steinhardt, Nancy Shatzman. "The Tang Architectural Icon and the Politics of Chinese Architectural History," ''The Art Bulletin'' (Volume 86, Number 2, 2004): 228–254. * Weston, Richard. 2002. ''Utzon : inspiration, vision, architecture''. Hellerup: Blondal.


Further reading

* Banister Fletcher, Fletcher, Banister; Cruickshank, Dan
''Sir Banister Fletcher's a History of Architecture''
Architectural Press, 20th edition, 1996 (first published 1896). . Cf. Part Four, Chapter 24. * Sickman L and Soper A. ''The Art and Architecture of China'' (Penguin Books, 1956). * * Genovese Paolo Vincenzo ''Harmony in Space. Introduction to Chinese Architecture'' (Libria, 2017)


External links


''Yin Yu Tang: A Chinese Home''
To explore an in depth look into the ancient architecture of the Huang family's domestic life in China, the Yin Yu Tang house offers an interactive view of the typical domestic architecture of the Qing dynasty.
''Herbert Offen Research Collection''
An excellent bibliography of publicly accessible books and manuscripts on Chinese architecture.

Introduction to the Chinese Mosques in South, West, and North respectively
''Chinese Vernacular Architecture & General Chinese Architecture—Web Links''
Chinese Vernacular Architecture & General Chinese Architecture—Web Links
''Chinese Residential Houses''
Ten types of Chinese residential houses
Asian Historical Architecture

Web Resources of Chinese Architecture History
{{DEFAULTSORT:Chinese Architecture Architecture of China, Architectural history Architectural styles Chinese architectural history,