The Beauty of Ancient Chinese Architecture

With a civilization history of over 5000 years, traditional Chinese architecture develops a school of its own, and has become an important component of the world Malibu architects system. What does ancient Chinese architecture look like? What are the key features? The ancient Chinese architecture mainly refers to the structures built before 1911 (however, some latter-days buildings are also designed with a traditional style), including delicate gardens, magnificent rock caves, solemn imperial palaces, time-honored temples and monasteries…

The basic distinguishing characteristic of Chinese architecture is the employing of timber frames and rectangular units of space joined together as a whole. All ancient structures lay emphasis on horizontal and focus on the principle of balance and symmetry. In addition, they were built to face south to get more sunshine and avoid the cold wind. The roofs usually slope down on both sides and have a symbolism involved. Yet the styles and features may vary a little according to different areas of China.

The Chinese imperial architecture

Imperial architecture is composed of the palaces built for ancient emperors, solemn, most luxurious and extremely valuable in the architecture history. Imperial palaces were strictly arranged in balance, while the layout indicated the hierarchy concept and feudal netiquettes. And the roofs were painted into gold embody the royal sovereign. Forbidden City, also named the Palace Museum or the Imperial Palace is the most outstanding representative of imperial architecture, which was completed in 1420 and served as the palace for emperors of the Ming (1368-1644) and the Qing (1644-1911).

Grottoes and rock-cut architecture in China

Chinese Grotto complex are endowed with Buddhist flavor, and thought as a treasure of Buddhist art. Grotto first appeared in India and later was introduced into China, and reached its peak during Northern and Southern Dynasties (420- 589). Grottos are caves curved on the cliffs, usually huge project and with exquisite engravings. Inside, there are murals that tell Buddhist stories and convey the doctrine, as well as Buddhist sculptures of various sizes. The most famous grotto complex include Mogao Grottoes, Longmen Grottoes, Yungang Grottoes and Mt. Maiji Grottoes.

Ancient gardens

Ancient Chinese gardens can be divided into two types, royal gardens in Beijing and private gardens mainly in Suzhou, both of superb architectural art achievement. The essence of constructing a Chinese garden is to well design all the elements including fake mountain, small pool, the path, rocks, plants, indoor decoration… Royal gardens are luxurious and elegant, while Suzhou gardens are smaller but more exquisite with various techniques. The most famous private gardens include Garden of Net Master, Humble Administrator’s Garden and Lingering Garden.

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