Rules and beliefs

Worldwide, three architectural styles mark major civilizations that include, Islamic buildings, constructions of the West and Chinese constructions. These are the older styles but have also undergone the least amount of change. Indeed, while in the West the styles of Romanesque, Gothic, Renaissance, Baroque, among others are common. Chinese architecture have hardly changed over the centuries. There is an old architectural heritage of many decades linked to the Chinese feudal society and the enclave of the country by the sea and desert.

Generally, Chinese architectural styles and its constructions of wood or bricks and beams supported by wooden columns and topped with tiles. However, what often makes the specificity of Chinese monuments, is the use of the technique of dougong. This technique consists of slipcase pieces of wood to build a building without a single nail, glue or other means to support the structure. These wooden supports are considered essential to the structure of the building. Today, it is possible to admire the monuments using this technique to appreciate the ingenuity of the Chinese.
In China, the shape of the building depends on the message they want to convey. First, was the respect of Heaven (God) and the ancestors, these constructs were ceremonial characters as at the Temple of Heaven in Beijing. Then, came the respect of the Emperor seeking to show the social hierarchy in the Forbidden City in Beijing. Finally, was the respect for parents where buildings were organized to represent family order, the case of courtyard houses where parents are installed in the middle and siblings on the sides.
All constructions found in China must meet one of these three ideas. This shows how Chinese architecture is symbolic. Moreover, it is often a mixture of Confucianism, Buddhism and Taoism, that organizes all the construction. Construction also follows different rules depending on use.
Thus, the architecture for official palaces, administrative and government buildings, temples for the sacrifices and ceremonies and related to the defense of the territory is subject to specific rules dictated by the ruling authorities.
Instead, the architecture of the people is adept to the region and topography. The forms vary according to locality and the natural elements available. There is a harmony with nature and human scale constructions compared to official buildings that are larger. The official architecture represents the Yang and Yin calendar.

 

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