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Basic Knowledge Help You Understand Traditional Chinese Architecture
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  • Basic Feature: Rectangular-shaped

The basic feature of Chinese architecture is rectangular-shaped units of space joined together into a whole. Temples in ancient Greece also employed rectangular spaces but the overall effect tended to austerity. The Chinese style by contrast combines rectangular shapes varying in size and position according to importance into an organic whole with each level and component clearly distinguished. As a result traditional Chinese style buildings have an imposing yet dynamic and intriguing exterior.

  • Basic Principles: Balance and Symmetry

The combination of units of space in traditional Chinese architecture abides by the principles of balance and symmetry. The main structure is the axis and the secondary structures are positioned as two wings on either side to form the main rooms and yard. Residences official buildings temples and palaces all follow these same basic principles. Home of the Emperor, the Forbidden City, also known as Palace Museum was constructed in accordance with the laws of geomancy or fengshui. Every element was taken into consideration the most essential being the construction of the palace along a north-south axis. Emphasis is also focused on the construction of a heavy platform and a large roof that floats over this base.

  • Important Factor: Numerology

Numerology plays a significant part in the palaces architecture. The Forbidden City is comprised of 9999 rooms -just short of the mythical 10000 rooms in heaven. Odd numbers are often connected with masculinity and even ones femininity consequently the number nine the “ultimate masculine” number, stands for supreme imperial power. A case in point is Taihe Hall (Hall of Supreme Harmony). It rests on a three-tiered terrace of white marble. It is 11 bays wide five bays deep and 35 meters high covering 2377 square meters. It is the tallest structure in the Forbidden City and largest wooden architecture in China.

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