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Chinese gen arch. characteristics

Chinese gen arch. characteristics



general architectural characteristics of china

general architectural characteristics of china



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    Chinese gen arch. characteristics Chinese gen arch. characteristics Document Transcript

    • INTRODUCTION Architecture and culture are tightly related to each other. Architectural style may be regarded as a reflection of thelife and the culture of the people in a particular history period. Each great architectural work is an integral part of its owntime, and expresses the culture and technology of the particular period in history. Architecture styles have greatly changed over the course of time. Traditional architecture is today but a remnant ofthe past, an antique ruin which a modern architect may admire but would hardly seek to imitate. Architectural stylechanges over time, just like the flows of water in a river – today’s water is no longer the same as yesterdays; but in anyvalid architecture there always remains an underlying system that gives the architecture its validity. In a sense,architecture is the carrier of culture. Traditional architecture in a large country with a long, diverse history such as China contains many appropriate andtime-lasting architectural solutions. Learning from the past can help us ensure the continuation of our culture, andprovide us with some useful resources and reference materials to apply to contemporary architectural problems. China is a nation of vast territory, long history, and rich resources. Great differences in geographical andclimatic conditions have caused marked diversity in the architecture of various regions in China. However, it is possibleto distinguish the underlying distinctive common characteristics. Since ancient times, Chinese culture has been heavilyinfluenced by conservative philosophies like Confucianism, Taoism etc. Over the centuries, the structural principles ofChinese architecture have remained largely unchanged, the main changes being on the decorative details. Chinesearchitecture has had a major influence on the architectural styles of Korea, Vietnam, and Japan. Styles of Chinese ancient architecture are rich and varied, such as temples, imperial palaces, altars,pavilions, official residencies and folk houses, which greatly reflect Chinese ancient thought - the harmoniousunity of human beings with nature. Chinese architecture refers to a style of architecture that has taken shape in East Asia over the years. An ancientcivilized nation and a great country on the East Asian continent, China possesses a vast territory covering 9.6 millionsq. km. and a population accounting for over one-fifth of the worlds total, 56nationalities and a recorded history of3,OOO years, during which it has created a unique, outstanding traditional Chinese Culture. Traditional Chinese buildings are always found in pairs or groups, whether they are residences, temples or palaces.Most structures in Chinese architecture are simple rectangles, and it is the architectural complex composed bysingle structures rather than the single structures themselves that expresses the broadness andmagnanimousness of ancient Chinese architecture. Traditional Chinese architecture, unlike that of other cultures,uses wood-frame construction as one of its most distinctive features. Traditional Chinese architecture can still be seen throughout China, offering a tangible expression of traditionalChinese culture. Traditional Chinese architecture encompasses palaces, temples, tombs, parks, and residences. Inboth individual structures and overall building practices, traditional Chinese architecture represents the synthesis ofpolitical, economic, cultural, and technical influences over the ages. In the past, these structures provided theancient Chinese people with functional space to live and work in. Today, they make us to experience the essence ofChinese culture.
    • TRADITIONAL CHINESE ARCHITECTURE CHINESE ARCHITECTURE DESIGN TECHNIQUES  THE AXIAL CITY PLAN AND SITE PLAN  THE ALTERNATION BETWEEN THE ARCHITECTURE INTERIOR AND EXTERIOR SPACE  THE MODULAR SYSTEM  THE EXPOSED STRUCTURE THE AXIAL CITY PLAN AND SITE PLAN One of the great religious beliefs that influenced the design of the classical Chinese city and Chinese architecture is Confucianism. In order to create a stable social order, Confucianism established the strict doctrines putting the society in order with rules and filial piety. An axial symmetrical city layout was the most suitable means of expressing the concept of rigid hierarchical social system in ancient China. This is because compositional elements in an axial layout plan are never independent – they are always subordinate to the axis and ruled by its coordinates. The relationship of each compositional element to the reference axis is an important factor in the axis plan. For example, it is important whether a building is on the north-south axis or on the east-west axis. The classical Chinese city axial plan was based on an orthogonal system that was regarded as the best means to express the social system in ancient China. Some common characteristic features of the classical Chinese cities were as follows: 1. The classical Chinese city’s plan exhibited obvious axial symmetry, with palace or other important government building in the axial center, symbolizing the centralized power of Chinese emperor. 2. The traditional Chinese cities were usually designed with a square plan; the streets were laid out running north-south and east-west along the plan axis to form a checker-board grid. 3. They were all enclosed inside a wall. Like the Chinese city, the house, representing a microcosm of Chinese private life, was also influenced by Confucian doctrine. The obvious axial arrangement of Chinese architecture had often been seen as an expression of Confucian idea of harmonious social relationship, which was formal, regular and clearly defined. Nothing inharmonious or irregular existed inside this kind of Chinese building. Usually the north-south axis was considered to be the major axis and east-west axis as the minor. This was because China is geographically situated north of the equator and the climate is, for the most part, cold in the winter and warm in the summer with a southeasterly
    • prevailing wind. A north-south axis makes it possible for building to take the advantage of the southeasterly winds and sunshine. Thus, traditional Chinese buildings along the south-north axis usually have a more pleasant environment than the traditional Chinese buildings along the east-west axis.  One of the essential points of the Confucianism is “HARMONY”. Harmony in a family was considered the primary source of happiness of one’s life in traditional China. Traditional Chinese believed the Confucian ethical concept of DEFERENCE TO ELDERS was the useful way to have family harmony in which happiness and propriety prevailed. The classical Chinese house was planned to express and reinforce this philosophy. The halls for the older generations and for important ceremonies were arranged along the main axis, which usually was the north- south axis, to have the best ventilation and sunshine, while the young occupied the side halls facing east and west. The halls for the parents would be higher, more exquisitely decorative than the quarters for children. Various types of buildings had been created to fit the different uses. Such as, o Ting (Hall) – the largest and the most formal room used to treat important guests, o Tang (Living room) – the place to hold family meeting o L’ou (Apartment) – the place for family member live and for taking advantages of scenery o Ting (Pavilion) – the place for relaxation  Usually, in ancient China, the entire house was enclosed by a high, solid wall. One or two doors lead out to the street. The function of the wall was to make the house a safe domain of a family, to protect the home from theft and fire, and to provide a sense of privacy and seclusion. THE ALTERNATION BETWEEN THE ARCHITECTURE INTERIOR AND EXTERIOR SPACE Deciduous trees COURTYARDWIND DIRECTION INTERIOR INTERIOR      The axis in traditional Chinese architecture not only controls the layout but acts as a path.  The entire traditional Chinese building complex is composed of ALTERNATING INTERIOR AND EXTERIOR SPACES. From a building to a courtyard, and then from the courtyard to another built space, there is a spatial sequence of solids and voids.  The interior and exterior spaces in the Chinese courtyard house are complementary to one another, rather than being independent.
    •  Hence traditional Chinese courtyard (an exterior space) is also one of the necessary parts of the spatial organization in classical Chinese architecture. A Courtyard in Chinese architecture may be seen as the extension of the interior space. Almost all the doors and windows of traditional Chinese buildings open toward the courtyard. The courtyards usually are the center of family activities. Space Complex of a Traditional Chinese House View A- from outside into Building View B - from Courtyard into a building View C - Through the building into View D - Through the moon Gate the second courtyard into the Garden
    • THE MODULAR SYSTEM OF CHINESE ARCHITECTURE One of the basic principles of classical Chinese buildings is the USE OF A JIAN MODULE, much like the modular concept of prefabrication in contemporary architecture. Traditional Chinese carpenters used “JIAN” – a structured bay as a standard unit to construct all buildings. “Jian” was a rectangular space marked by Repetition adjacent structural frames. “Jian”, as the basic interior unit, can be of Jian expanded or repeated along the architectural plan axis to join together to create a hall, then a building. Along a longer axis, several buildings can be connected around a traditional Chinese courtyard to form a traditional Chinese courtyard house. Several traditional Chinese courtyard house units along the city plan axis create a small street district. A number of such districts form a grid-like network based on the longer city plan axis with palaces, government buildings and other public buildings in the center. This is typical of traditional Chinese cities. THE EXPOSED STRUCTURE OF CHINESE ARCHITECTURE In ancient China, almost all of the main structures of classical Chinese architecture were made of wood. Thus, the art of traditional Chinese architecture may be seen as the aesthetic of wood. The original texture and color of the wood was exposed. The wood frame in traditional Chinese was only painted with a kind of transparent wood oil to prevent it from decaying. This kind of transparent oil allows the wood’s original texture, grain and color to be seen. The wood frame, the skeleton of the classical Chinese building, supported the weight of the huge roof as well as the upper stories. Walls were used only as enclosing elements. This traditional Chinese structural system made it possible for the interior space to be divided freely according to the needs. In the division of the interior space, besides using solid fixed partitions, such as solid walls, sliding screens and folding panels, Chinese also used temporary partitions, such as a moon door, decorative panels, open shelves, decorative panels, etc. These partitions only partially divided the space, to mark the “separation of the space” and allow free access and the continuity of vision. In traditional Chinese buildings in southern China, the character of the exposed wood structure was even more obvious. In this Chinese region, the weather is more hot and humid, so the walls are thinner and not only the interior wood structure but also all the columns and beams were exposed or half embedded in the outside walls of the building. The exposed framework in the wall is the integral part of the composition of classical Chinese architecture.
    • ARCHITECTURAL FEATURES o ARCHITECTURAL BILATERAL SYMMETRY o ENCLOSURE o HIERARCHY o HORIZONTAL EMPHASIS o COSMOLOGICAL CONCEPTS ARCHITECTURAL BILATERAL SYMMETRYAn important feature in Chinese architecture is its emphasis on articulation and bilateral symmetry, which signifiesbalance. Bilateral symmetry and the articulation of buildings are found everywhere in Chinese architecture, from palacecomplexes to humble farmhouses. Secondary elements are positioned either side of main structures as two wings tomaintain overall bilateral symmetry.In contrast to the buildings, Chinese gardens are a notable exception which tends to be asymmetrical. The principleunderlying the gardens composition is to create enduring flow. The plan of Yans House, Fuzhou, Fujian. This plan shows that a formal geometric architecture and irregularly and naturalistic garden are skillfully integrated.
    • AXIS ENCLOSURE In Traditional Chinese architecture, the buildings or building complexes encloses open spaces within itself. These enclosed spaces come in two forms: “THE COURTYARD” AND THE "SKY WELL" The use of open courtyards is a common feature in many types of Chinese architecture. This is best exemplified in the Siheyuan, which consists of an empty space surrounded by buildings connected with one another either directly or through verandas. 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. Usually, large deciduous trees are planted inside the courtyard. During summers it provides shade whereas in the winter, it allows in plentiful sunshine. Hence the courtyard is really an ideal space for relaxation. Although large open courtyards are less commonly found in southern Chinese architecture, the concept of a "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. Southern sky wells are relatively small and serves to collect rain water from the roof tops 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 lowers stories of the house and allows for exchange of cool air with the outside. The Sky Well (in Hui Style architecture) is the most important feature of the house. It is a variation on the courtyard of the Central-Courtyard Houses found in northern China. Unlike the courtyard, the “Sky Well”, is very small, similar in dimensions to the opening of a well, hence, the name. The Sky Well is the only internal part of the house directly exposed to the exterior. In this way, it connects the home to the earth outside the built structure. It provided both sunlight and rain water, and was the only open area in which inhabitants conducted their daily activities, thus representing the important connection of Heaven, Man, and Earth in line with Feng Shui principles. The ground level of the Sky Well is typically lower than that of the Zheng Tang (Main Hall). The ground is covered with stone slats, beneath which is an area for the storage of rain water, which is connected to an underground drainage system. The last function of the Sky Well, particularly in a two story residence or higher, is to serve as a chimney, for removing dust and stagnant air, thus permitting improved air circulation. 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. As well, building in the rear and more private parts of the property are held in higher esteem and reserve for elder members of the family or ancestral plaques than buildings near the front, which 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 or servants rooms or kitchens.IMPERIAL PALACES The Forbidden City emphasizes on symmetry, which connotes a sense of grandeur. Even the style of the roof shows the power of the sovereign, with the ridges engraved with the immortal or beasts symbolizing stateliness. This massive imperial courtyard complex clearly embodies the Confucian emphasis on strict divisions of rank, and the position of the individual within a hierarchical system- Emphasis on divisions between ruler and subjects, husband and wife, Nobles and commoners etc., The overall arrangement of the Forbidden City accords with traditional Chinese ritual requirements and the Yin-Yang Principle. The front part is a place for the emperor to handle official businesses, and the rear part is the residence for emperors and concubines. Within the complex there are several immense courtyards divided by individual gates. There is a shrine for the ancestors in the east and another one for the agricultural deities in the west. The structure is symmetrical. In addition to the palaces, there is a fabulous garden for the imperial family to relax themselves.RESIDENTIAL BUILDINGS OF THE ROYAL RELATIVESPRINCE GONGS PALACE Compared with the imperial palace, residential buildings for the royal relatives seemed less solemn and much smaller in size and scale. There were less sidesteps in front of gates. Ridges were decorated with engraved beasts; however, the number of beasts could not exceed nine because the number "nine" carried a special significance in old China and symbolized the emperors supreme sovereignty.
    • MANDARINS(BUREAUCRAT) RESIDENCE Although lower in rank than the above two categories, mandarins residence was also restricted by a set of rules. All buildings were legally regulated. "Guardian lions" were not allowed to stand in front of the gate; and engraved beasts were forbidden to decorate ridges of roof.RESIDENCE OF WEALTHY BUSINESS PEOPLE Different from government officials, business people belonged to a much lower social class no matter how rich Yintaidi in Ningbo they might were. Doors of these buildings were totally different in style from that of officials residence. There were no ornaments around the door symbolic of official position in ancient Chinese hierarchical society.RESIDENCE OF ORDINARY PEOPLE Ordinary people could not afford buildings as decent as those of the wealthy or officials. The houses were very simple. Doors and windows were much smaller; Siheyuan belonging to the wealthy usually featuring an A Gate into the Siheyuan elaborate doorway belonging to commoner HORIZONTAL EMPHASIS Classical Chinese buildings, especially those of the wealthy are built with an emphasis on breadth and less on height, with close heavy platform and a large roof that floats over this base, with the vertical walls not well emphasized. This contrasts Western architecture, which tends to grow in height and depth. Chinese architecture stresses the visual impact of the width of the buildings.
    •  The halls and palaces in the Forbidden City, for example, 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. COSMOLOGICAL CONCEPTS  Chinese architecture from early times used concepts from Chinese cosmology such as feng shui (geomancy) and Taoism to organize construction and layout from common residences to imperial and religious structures. This includes the use of: o Screen walls to face the main entrance of the house, which stems from the belief that evil things travel in straight lines. o Talismans and imagery of good fortune: o Door gods displayed on doorways to ward off evil and encourage the flow of good fortune o Three anthropomorphic figures representing Fu Lu Shou stars are prominently displayed, sometimes with the proclamation "the threes star are present”. o Animals and fruits that symbolize good fortune and prosperity, such as bats and pomegranates, respectively. The association is often done through rebuses.  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  The use of certain colors, numbers and the cardinal directions in traditional Chinese architecture reflected the belief in a type of immanence, where the nature of a thing could be wholly contained in its own form.One way to summon good fortune is to invoke thecharacter fu, seen on the wall to the right. Fu can betranslated as "happiness," "good fortune,""blessings," or "luck." A picture of a tiger with the eight trigrams. This is often hung above doors in some parts of China, the word for tiger is pronounced "fu." The eight trigrams are thought to ward off evil influences. In combination with the tigers fierce face, this image makes a powerful amulet(element of good luck).
    • A stylized form of shou can be seen in the middle of the door-BecauseChinese people honor age and desire long life, the characterrepresenting longevity shou is also often seen on Chinese houses. Another character thought to express longevity is wan which means "ten thousand." This character is often represented stylistically as a backwards swastika. ANCIENT CHINESE ARCHITECTURE Ancient Chinese architecture is mainly timberwork. Wooden posts, beams, lintels and joists make up the framework of a house. Walls serve as the separation of rooms without bearing the weight of the whole house, which is unique to China. The art of constructing tall buildings was already highly developed in China during ancient times. Many multiple- storeyed towers of complex structure had wholly wood frameworks fixed together with dougong brackets without the use of a single piece of metal. Yueyang Tower in Hunan and Huanghelou (Tower of the Yellow Crane) in Wuchang are masterpieces among ancient towers. Colored glazed roofs, windows with exquisite applique design and beautiful flower patterns on wooden pillars reflect the high-level of the craftsmens handicraft and their rich imagination. The layout of a courtyard complex is also unique to China. The main structure is located on the central axis of a court while less-important structures are located to the left and right. The whole layout is symmetrical. A Chinese courtyard is like a hand scroll of painting which should be unfolded little by little. The scenery is different in each courtyard. Even in moving several steps within the court yard, there is a gradual changing of prospects. Likewise from the interior of the buildings the view from no two windows is the same. A fundamental achievement of Chinese wooden architecture is the load-bearing timber frame, a network of interlocking wooden supports forming the skeleton of the building. This is considered Chinas major contribution to worldwide architectural technology STRUCTURAL FLEXIBILITY-The chief building material of ancient Chinese buildings is wood. The components are mainly columns, beams, and purlins that are connected by tenons and mortises. As a result, the wooden structure is quite flexible. The ancient Chinese wooden building possesses a unique design found only in China, termed dougong (i.e., a system of brackets inserted between the top of a column and a crossbeam), and constitutes one of the most important features in ancient Chinese architecture. In ancient Chinese wooden architecture, the wall only defined an enclosure, and did not form a load-bearing element. Buildings in China have been supported by wooden frames
    •  In traditional Chinese architecture, every facet of a building was decorated using various materials and techniques. Simple ceiling ornamentations in ordinary buildings were made of wooden strips and covered with paper. More decorative was the lattice ceiling constructed of woven wooden strips or sorghum stems fastened to the beams. Mortise and tenon joinery was used to build wood-framed houses; Wooden beams or earth supported the roofs which were mostly thatched. Dougong is a unique structural element of interlocking wooden brackets, one of the most important elements in traditional Chinese architecture. It evolved into a structural network that joined pillars and columns to the frame of the roof. Dougong was widely used in the Spring and Autumn Period (770–476 BC) and Sliding Dovetail joints developed into a complex set of interlocking parts in the later periods. Since ancient times when the Chinese first began to use wood for building, joinery has been a major focus and craftsmen cut the wooden pieces to fit so perfectly that no glue or fasteners were necessary Lap Dovetail joints THE DECORATIVE ROOF Because of the intricacy of its ornamentation, elaborate cupolas were reserved for the ceilings of the most important structures such as tombs and altars, although it is not clear what the spiritual beliefs of the Stepped Bevel splice joints early Chinese were, as alters appear to have served as burial sites In traditional Chinese architecture roofs and ceiling, like the other structural elements, were constructed without nails, the layered pieces of the ceiling are held together by interlocking bracket sets (dǒugǒng). Elaborate wooden coffers (zǎojǐng) bordered by a round, square, or polygon frame with its brackets projecting inward and upward from its base were used around the 7th century. Dougong-Corbelled Deeply recessed panels shaped like a well (square at the wooden brackets base with a rounded top) were fitted into the ceilings wooden framework. The center panel of the ceiling was decorated with water lilies or other water plants. (The relationship of the name to water has been linked to an ancient fear that wooden buildings would be destroyed by fire and that water from the zǎojǐng would prevent or quell the fires flames).
    •  The tomb of Empress Dowager Wenming has a coffer in the flat-topped, vaulted ceiling in the back chamber of her tomb. The Baoguo Temple in Yuyao in Zhejiang has three cupolas in the ceiling, making it unique.Coffered ceiling(zaojing) with elaborate ornamentation – Found in the imperial garden, the Forbidden City
    • ARCHITECTURAL TYPES  IMPERIAL ARCHITECTURE  RELIGIOUS ARCHITECTURE  COMMONER ARCHITECTURE IMPERIAL ARCHITECTURE IMPERIAL MAUSOLEUM ARCHITECTURE Imperial mausoleum architecture accounts for a major part in ancient Chinese architecture since they usually stand for the highest architectural techniques of the time. Mausoleums in and around Beijing include the Ming Tombs, and the Imperial East and West Mausoleums of the Qing Dynasty. The mausoleums are generally built against the mountain and divided by valleys along which walls are erected. A stone monument stands in front of the deceased emperor. The mausoleums have broad ways called Shendao (the Sacred Way) at the entrance. Along both sides of the Shendao, there are ornamental columns and stone sculptures of men and animals which guard the tombs. A stone bridge proceeds the roads leading to separate tombs. In each tomb area, there are a number of constructions, including the Dragon and Phoenix Gate, a tablet, the Gate of Eminent Favours, the Hall of Eminent Favours, the side halls, the Soul Tower, the grave mound and subterranean constructions with the underground palace as the main part. Mausoleums of the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644) are magnificent, while those of the Qing Dynasty are carefully built. Examples - The Hall of Eminent Favours of Chang-ling Tomb; the tomb of Zhu Di; the Hall of Supreme Harmony in the Forbidden City. THE HALL OF SUPREME HARMONY IN THE FORBIDDEN CITY
    •  IMPERIAL PALATIAL ARCHITECTUREPALACE (GONG) Since palaces are where emperors live and practice their reign, palaces of different dynasties integrates essences of Chinese architecture. The famous palace complex, Efang-gong built by and for Qin Shi Huang Emperor. The Forbidden City, also called the Imperial Palace, which was set up under the reign of the Ming dynasty covers an area of 720,000 sq.m PALACE OF HEAVENLY PURITY and consists of more than 9900 palaces and other structures. It is the grandest and biggest palace in the world. Designs related with nine appeared almost on every imperial structure such as palace. For example, on gates of the Forbidden City, there are 81 gold-plating bronze studs which were arranged in nine columns and nine rows. Ancient palaces usually were designed to be nine-section architectural complex. The Chinese word for "palace" is Gong. The Forbidden City of Beijing, served as the imperial palace for both Ming and Qing emperors (1368-1911) covers an area of 720,000 square meters and embraces many halls, towers, pavilions and studies measured as 9,900 bays. It is one of the greatest palaces of the world. The palaces grew into a veritable city and are often called Gong-cheng (palace city). The Qing emperors used to live at Qianqing-gong (Palace of Heavenly Purity) in the Forbidden City, whereas the living quarters of the empresses were at Kunning-gong (Palace of Female Tranquility). The imperial concubines of various ranks inhabited the six Gongs or palace quadrangles on either side of the central axis of the Forbidden City. The temples of Taoist priests are generally called Sanging gong (palace of triple purity). For thousands of years, the word Gong was reserved exclusively for naming imperial and religious buildings. PAVILION (TING) The Chinese pavilion (ting, which means also a kiosk) is built normally either of wood or stone or bamboo with any of several shapes - square, triangle, hexagon, octagon, a five-petal flower, a fan and more. But all pavilions have columns for support without walls. In parks or some scenic places, pavilions are built on slopes to command the
    • panorama or are built by the lakeside to create intriguing images by water. Pavilions also serve diverse purposes The wayside pavilion is called Liangting (cooling kiosk) to provide weary wayfarers with a place for rest. The "stele pavilion" gives a roof to a stone tablet to protect the engraved record of an important event. Pavilions also stand by bridges or over water-wells. In the latter case, dormer windows are built to allow the sun to cast its rays into the well as it has been the belief that water untouched by the sun would cause disease. Bronze pavilions are rarely found. The most celebrated of these is Baoyunge Pavilion of Precious Clouds in Beijings Summer Palace. The entire structure including its roof and columns is cast in bronze. It is popularly known as the "Gold Pavilion” for its elegance and dignity.TERRACE (TAI) The Tai was an elevated terrace with a flat top. In most cases be built of earth, stone and surfaced with brick, they are used as a belvedere from which to look into the distance. In some Tai, some palatial halls are also built on top. A typical example is the Round City of the Beihai Park in Beijing. As a terrace five meters high, it has an area of 4, 500 square meters on its top and a main hall with side corridors. The Tai could be built to serve different practical purposes- could be an observatory, watch towers, military purposes or beacon (fire) towers. Ex.,- Jianguomen in Beijing is an observatory. The beacon towers along the Great Wall, to transmit urgent information with smoke by day and fire by night in emergency. Also on the Great Wall, there is a square Tai at intervals of every 300 to 400 meters from which the defense force troops kept watch.STOREYED BUILDING (LOU) A Lou is a building of two or more storeys with a horizontal main ridge. Ancient buildings with more than one storey were meant for a variety of uses. The smaller two-storeyed buildings of private homes generally have the owners study or bedroom upstairs. Ancient cities had bell and drum towers (zhong-lou and gu-lou), usually palatial buildings with four-sloped, double- caved, glazed roofs, all-around verandas and coloured and carved dougong brackets supporting the overhanging eaves. They housed a big bell or drum which was used to toll hours.
    • STOREYED PAVILION (GE) The Chinese Ge is similar to the Lou in that both are of two or more storey buildings. The difference between them is that the Ge has a door and windows only on the front side with the other three sides being solid walls. Moreover, Ge is usually enclosed by wooden balustrades or decorated with boards all around. Such storeyed pavilions were used in ancient times for the storage of important articles and documents. Ex., Wenyuan-ge, in the Forbidden City of Beijing was in effect the imperial library. Kuiwen-ge in the Confucius Temple of Qufu, was devoted to the safekeeping of the books and works of painting and calligraphy bestowed by the courts of various dynasties. The Ge is also used to describe the towers which shelter the colossal statues in great monasteries.PAGODA (TA) Buddhism came to China during the Eastern or Later Han period. A pagoda can also be seen as a symbol for a monastery. The word "pagoda" derives from the Sanskrit word bhagavat (cf. the book Bhagavatgita) "holy". The typical Chinese pagoda has superficially nothing in common with the old Indian. But the shapes and appearances of the Chinese pagodas in earlier ages, leads back to the Indian origin also of the typical octagonal and straight Chinese pagoda with the curved roofs. It reflects a pagoda of Bodhgaya, where some typical features of a pagoda or stupa: the tower is multi- storied and more or less decorated on the surface and tapers from bottom to top. The top is crowned with something that looks like a flower bud, in Buddhism an expression for the lotus flower. In other cases, the construction at the top is an honorific umbrella with up to ten layers. Around the main tower there are small miniature pagodas, ranging from four to eight, depending on the shape of the whole pagoda complex. Most pagodas contain relics of the Buddha or at least a statue of the Enlightened. The inside of a pagoda may be a dome-like room or can be climbed by stairs to take care for the decorations or the jewels that are fixed atop of the lotus flower bud. The oldest pagoda still intact on Chinese soil is the pagoda of Songyue Monastery of Dengfeng / Henan at the foothills of the sacred mountain Songshan. While the lower parts of the round pagoda are built of twelve flat surfaces symbolizing the twelve causes of sin, the upper part is octagonal and constructed in the shape of 15 steps. The top is crowned by a bud that once was adorned with jewels.