Chinese architecture

With Chinese architecture in China developed, throughout history but over large parts of East Asia, more common style is called.


The structural principles of the style remained remarkably constant over the centuries, changes often detected only decorative details. Regardless of certain regions and use purposes of the buildings there are certain characteristics of Chinese architecture:

In a special way traditional Chinese building to emphasize the horizontal. Characteristic features are the curved, overhanging rafters and the low accentuation of the vertical walls. More distinguished buildings, such as in the palaces of the emperor and the nobility, were often built on massive stone terraces. In contrast to the aspiring rather in the amount western buildings Chinese builders put more emphasis on the visual impression of width and spaciousness of a building. So have about the halls and palaces of the Forbidden City in Beijing as compared with European representational relatively low ceilings, but give the spread plants, farms and Wegfluchten in its entirety an impression of the all-embracing nature of imperial China. An exception to this extent, of course, the - a total of comparatively rare occur - pagodas dar.

Another essential characteristic of all Chinese buildings from the farmhouse to the palace is its emphasis on symmetry, which tends to give buildings an aura of grandeur and sublimity. The opposite conception, however, pursue the gardens, which were usually aligned so asymmetrical as possible and, like Chinese landscape images, nature sought to reproduce in their original condition.

Chance of Chinese buildings made of red or gray bricks were built, however, is the predominant timber. This turns out to be relatively earthquake-proof, but as extremely fire prone. A special feature is the Chinese wood lattice in doors and windows. The rafters of Chinese houses are mostly swinging; about the various gables and rafters forms exist detailed classification systems that are reminiscent of the classical orders of columns of ancient Europe.

Widespread was the reservation of certain colors, numbers or directions for certain buildings or their owners. It reflects the traditional Chinese belief in the immanence, which derive the properties of an object from its very own inner nature and structure are not accounted for roughly a transcendent God or world principle.

The extensive architectural literature of the West, China has little to counter equivalent. The earliest text of this kind, the Kaogongji, also learned hardly reception.

Imperial Architecture

Certain design features were reserved for imperial buildings. These resources include the famous yellow roof tiles, which can still be seen in the buildings of the Forbidden City. The Temple of Heaven, however, used in reference to his name blue bricks. The walls are mostly kept in intense purple, according to Chinese view, the color of the Polar Star. The roofs are usually worn by extensive support beams, a feature shared by both the imperial buildings exclusively with the larger temples. Traditionally imperial buildings were always aligned with the entrance facing south. When decorating often appears the symbol of the dragon, such as on the rafters, the pillars and columns as well as on the doors.

Played a major role also numerology, especially the " imperial " Number 9, the largest of the digits: 9999 rooms, the Imperial Palace at Beijing allegedly - one less than the palaces of heaven. Only intended for the emperor and his family were building nine " Gan " have ( space between two columns). Only the emperor used gates could have five arches - one of which was even reserved the middle to the Emperor. Great importance was in the Forbidden City and the numerous " axes" to that bound not only the individual functional elements of the system together but also for a clear outline of the terrain in the areas of the emperor, his relatives and concubines as the servants attended.

Secular Architecture

The houses of the common people, be it Mandarin, merchants or farmers, generally followed established patterns. In the center of the building of the shrine stood for gods and ancestor worship, which primarily on holidays approached very important. At its sides, the bedroom of the parents were. In the two outer wings, the Chinese "guardian dragons " called, were the rooms of the younger family members as well as kitchen and dining room. Sometimes had to be grown for growth of the family additional pairs of wings. This resulted in U-shaped plants that - were often completed with an imposing front gate - at least in merchant and Mandarin households.

The construction methods, in particular the number of floors, dimensions and colors were prescribed according to the social status of the owner by law.

Religious Architecture

The Buddhist architecture follow the imperial style in general. A large Buddhist monastery is a sequence of ordinary halls and courtyards, their equipment follows certain binding patterns. The first Hall usually hosts the laughing - kugelbäuchigen Buddha Maitreya, the sword reinforced General Weituo the defenders of the doctrine ( dharma ), and the fearsome colossal statues of the four Heavenly Kings. In the other halls are one or more Buddha triads, often accompanied by 18 or 500 Luohan, sometimes depicted with a thousand arms the female Bodhisattva Guanyin.

Lateral offering accommodation of the monks and nuns. Sometimes Buddhist monasteries also have a pagoda, are preserved in the relics of the historical Buddha. Older specimens are usually square, such recent octagonal. A special form of religious architecture are its numerous rock buildings and cave temple complexes, mainly n between the 4th and 9th century AD along the Silk Road originated ( Mogao in Dunhuang, Yungang in Datong, Longmen in Luoyang, etc.).

Chinese technical terms

Chinese names for certain types of buildings include:

Effective history

The Chinese architecture spread from the Tang Dynasty over all of East Asia and influenced above all the construction in Japan, Korea, and Vietnam. A certain significance decline of Chinese architecture has been observed since the encroachment of Western building methods since the early 20th century. In response, an attempt was made sporadically, traditional Chinese elements built in the western model to integrate modern buildings; with these efforts usually only sparsely been successful.