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ARCHITECTURE AND TOWN 
PLANNING 
ANCIENT CHINA
ERAS OF HISTORY OF CHINA 
History of China has been divided into 4 eras 
• Prehistoric Era 
• Ancient China 
• Imperial Ch...
ANCIENT CHINA 
• Ancient China ranges from 2100 BC till 221 BC and is subdivided into 
3 dynasties, namely; 
• Xia dynasty...
Xia Dynasty 
• Xia dynasty is related to the excavations at Erlitou in central Henan province, 
where a bronze smelter fro...
Shang Dynasty 
• Archaeological findings providing evidence for the existence of the Shang dynasty, 
c. 1600–1046 BC, are ...
• These buildings can be compared to Greek temples from around 800 BC, which 
also have wooden columns all the way around ...
Zhou (Chou) Dynasty 
• The Zhou dynasty was the longest-lasting dynasty in Chinese history, from 
1066 BC to approx. 256 B...
TYPES OF ANCIENT CHINESE ARCHITECTURE 
• Classification by structure 
• Chinese pavilions 
• Terraces 
• Storeyed pavilion...
Chinese pavilions 
Chinese Pavilions are covered structures without 
surrounding walls. 
Types of Chinese Pavilion: Round,...
Terraces 
As an ancient architectural structure of Chinese, the tai 
was a very much elevated terrace with a flat top, gen...
Storeyed Pavilions 
Storeyed Pavilions were like simple 
pavilions stacked on top of each other. 
Functions of storeyed pa...
Classification by function 
• Imperial Palaces 
• Traditional Chinese Gardens 
• Altars and Temples 
• Religious Structure...
• Imperial Palaces 
Usually built on a grand scale, the 
imperial palaces are closely related to imperial 
sovereignty and...
- The ancient palaces were strictly laid 
out on central axis. 
- Yellow roof tiles were used. 
- The wooden columns of th...
•Traditional Chinese Gardens 
The most distinguishing feature of traditional Chinese gardens is 
their natural mountain-an...
• Altars and Temples 
Altars and temples built in ancient 
China were meant for practice of rites. 
Three categories: 
— I...
• Religious Structures 
Taoist Temples 
A Chinese Taoist temple is the 
holy hall where Taoists perform their 
religious c...
• Tombs and Mausoleums 
People of all social classes had their tombs carefully built. 
Over the centuries, the craft of to...
FAMOUS ANCIENT CHINESE 
STRUCTURES
GREAT WALL OF CHINA 
• Built in 220–206 BC 
• By first Emperor of China, Qin Shi 
Huang 
• Protection and border control 
...
FORBIDDEN CITY 
• Ming Dynasty Imperial Palace 
• Built from 1406 to 1420 
• Largest ancient palatial architecture in the ...
TEMPLE OF HEAVEN 
• Built from 1406 to 1420 during the reign of the 
Yongle Emperor 
• For annual ceremonies of prayer to ...
Ancient Chinese Architecture
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Ancient Chinese Architecture

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Presentation on Architecture of China Through Ages

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Ancient Chinese Architecture

  1. 1. ARCHITECTURE AND TOWN PLANNING ANCIENT CHINA
  2. 2. ERAS OF HISTORY OF CHINA History of China has been divided into 4 eras • Prehistoric Era • Ancient China • Imperial China • Republican China (or Modern Era)
  3. 3. ANCIENT CHINA • Ancient China ranges from 2100 BC till 221 BC and is subdivided into 3 dynasties, namely; • Xia dynasty (c. 2100 – c. 1600 BC) • Shang dynasty (c. 1600–1046 BC) • Zhou dynasty (1046–221 BC) • Spring and Autumn period (722–476 BC) • Warring States period (476–221 BC)
  4. 4. Xia Dynasty • Xia dynasty is related to the excavations at Erlitou in central Henan province, where a bronze smelter from around 2000 BC was unearthed. • Early markings from this period found on pottery and shells are thought to be ancestral to modern Chinese characters. • With few clear records matching the Shang oracle bones or the Zhou bronze vessel writings, the Xia era remains poorly understood and little is known about the architecture of Xia Dynasty. • According to mythology, the dynasty ended around 1600 BC as a consequence of the Battle of Mingtiao. Fig. Zhou bronze vessel Fig. Shang oracle bones
  5. 5. Shang Dynasty • Archaeological findings providing evidence for the existence of the Shang dynasty, c. 1600–1046 BC, are divided into two sets. • The first set comes from sources at Shangcheng. The second set is at An-yang, in modern-day Henan. The findings at An-yang include the earliest written record of Chinese past so far discovered. • In the cities people lived in rectangular houses laid out in rows, built of wood and rammed earth. In the center of the city, there was a big palace or temple on a high earth platform. One building at An-yang was a big hall with pillars all the way around it.
  6. 6. • These buildings can be compared to Greek temples from around 800 BC, which also have wooden columns all the way around them and thatched, slanted roofs. • There was a city wall of rammed earth around the Shang capital at An-yang. These were built by piling up dirt and pounding it until it was as hard as rock. • Other people at that time were building rammed earth altars, in circular patterns like this one to worship Heaven, and square ones to worship Earth. • In the summertime, people moved out of their dark sod houses and lived instead in a tree-house built on a wooden platform, with the roof made of poles and branches. Living high up in the air kept them safe from animals and snakes. Fig. Shang Dynasty Altar Fig. Shang Dynasty city wall around Zhengzhou
  7. 7. Zhou (Chou) Dynasty • The Zhou dynasty was the longest-lasting dynasty in Chinese history, from 1066 BC to approx. 256 BC. By the end of the 2nd millennium BC, the Zhou dynasty began to emerge in the Yellow River valley, overrunning the territory of the Shang. • There had been a lot of big palaces and shrines. These palaces were built mainly of big wooden beams. They had rammed earth walls, like the buildings of the Shang Dynasty. They had courtyards. Archaeology tells us that some of these buildings had clay roof tiles. • Rich people's houses already looked a lot the way rich people's houses looked in later China, with walls around them and courtyards and more private areas for the women in the back. • The Zhou emperors made laws about how fancy house could be. Only the emperors were allowed to have artists carve their pillars and paint them red. Only the very richest families could paint their pillars black. People who were not so rich painted their pillars yellow.
  8. 8. TYPES OF ANCIENT CHINESE ARCHITECTURE • Classification by structure • Chinese pavilions • Terraces • Storeyed pavilions
  9. 9. Chinese pavilions Chinese Pavilions are covered structures without surrounding walls. Types of Chinese Pavilion: Round, square, triangular Practical function: — used for military and governmental purposes — as a place for rest — as a roof to a stone tablet Aesthetic function: Pavilions provided a place to sit and enjoy the scenery, and they also became part of the scenery itself, being attractive structures.
  10. 10. Terraces As an ancient architectural structure of Chinese, the tai was a very much elevated terrace with a flat top, generally built of earth and stone and surfaced with brick. Functions of terraces : — as an observatory — as beacon towers along the Great Wall — in honor of the sincere friendship
  11. 11. Storeyed Pavilions Storeyed Pavilions were like simple pavilions stacked on top of each other. Functions of storeyed pavilions : — used in ancient times for the storage of important articles and documents — a place where educated men used to gather to write articles and hold banquets — used for enjoying the sights
  12. 12. Classification by function • Imperial Palaces • Traditional Chinese Gardens • Altars and Temples • Religious Structures • Tombs and Mausoleums
  13. 13. • Imperial Palaces Usually built on a grand scale, the imperial palaces are closely related to imperial sovereignty and were also constructed for the entertainment of rulers. Imperial palaces are where emperors lived and administered their court during their reign. They are the most revered, luxurious and grandiose architectural types from ancient China.
  14. 14. - The ancient palaces were strictly laid out on central axis. - Yellow roof tiles were used. - The wooden columns of the buildings, as well as the surface of the walls, tend to be red in color. - The Chinese dragon was heavily used on Imperial architecture.
  15. 15. •Traditional Chinese Gardens The most distinguishing feature of traditional Chinese gardens is their natural mountain-and-water style. Chinese garden architecture includes both grand imperial gardens and delicate private ones.
  16. 16. • Altars and Temples Altars and temples built in ancient China were meant for practice of rites. Three categories: — Imperial temples and altar for worshiping of Heaven, the earth, the sun, the moon and the imperial ancestors — Commemorative temples for dead people of great virtue — Family temples
  17. 17. • Religious Structures Taoist Temples A Chinese Taoist temple is the holy hall where Taoists perform their religious ceremonies. Buddhist Temple Constructions Buddhist Temple Constructions in China include Buddhist temples, monasteries, pagodas, Buddhist halls and grottoes.
  18. 18. • Tombs and Mausoleums People of all social classes had their tombs carefully built. Over the centuries, the craft of tomb construction gradually merged with arts like painting, calligraphy and sculpture. It eventually became its own art form.
  19. 19. FAMOUS ANCIENT CHINESE STRUCTURES
  20. 20. GREAT WALL OF CHINA • Built in 220–206 BC • By first Emperor of China, Qin Shi Huang • Protection and border control purposes • Approx length 21,196 km
  21. 21. FORBIDDEN CITY • Ming Dynasty Imperial Palace • Built from 1406 to 1420 • Largest ancient palatial architecture in the world • Built to showcase the extravagant lifestyles of the emperors
  22. 22. TEMPLE OF HEAVEN • Built from 1406 to 1420 during the reign of the Yongle Emperor • For annual ceremonies of prayer to Heaven for good harvest for good harvest

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