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Chinese Architecture

The period which starts from the primitive society to Han Dynasty was the formative period of ancient Chinese architecture system. Caves, ground type architectures, stilt style architectures were built in primitive society. Up to Shang Dynasty, rammed loam technology got mature enough and large scale of palaces and tombs were built. In West Zhou Dynasty, some palaces centered cities and halls built on Rammed earth platform appeared. At this time, timber frame became the main structure mode of the architecture. In Warring States period, the scale of cities was getting larger and the high-platform building got more developed. The using of the Brick & Tile reflected the improvement of the construction technology. In Qin and Han Dynasties, as a unique and special timber frame building system, post-and-lintel construction and column-and-tie construction were basically formed. Some unprecedented cities, palaces, tombs and the Great Wall were built. In East Han Dynasty, stone buildings appeared, like stone tomb and stone ancestral halls.

Wei Jin and the Northern and Southern Dynasties were the developing stage of ancient Chinese architecture system. Built on the basement of the capital city of Han Wei Dynasty, Luoyang City of Northern Wei Dynasty was rectangle in shape. The city had formed the north-south axis with palaces in the center and markets on the west. The Buddhist architecture attained prosperity in this period. Many temples, towers, stone grottos and delicate sculpture, mural and natural landscape garden showed the huge improvement of the timberwork and masonry structure technology. Sui and Tang Dynasties was the mature period of ancient Chinese architecture system. The world's first stone arch bridge – Anji Bridge and the largest city at that time– Changan City were built at Sui Dynasty. The remaining buildings and city palace sites had a relatively high artistic and technical level of China. 

Song Dynasty was the transition period of ancient Chinese architecture system. In this Dynasty, because of breaking the separation system of living quarters and market, many shops building were built along the street. The book Ying Zao Fa Shi by Li Jie in Song Dynasty made a great contribution to the Construction Standardization. The scale of the buildings in Song Dynasty was smaller than the buildings in Tang Dynasty. However, the architectural molding was more beautiful and elaborate. Yuan Dynasty was a further development period of ancient Chinese architecture system. The building in this period not only inherited the trandition from Song Dynasty, but also influenced by other nations. The Great Capital of the Yuan Dynasty built the city according to the Han people’s tradition with the characteristics of large scale, integrated planning and complete function. Tibetan Buddhism and Islam buildings were built among the country. The famous architecture in Yuan Dynasty was Yongle Palace in Rui City, Guangsheng Temple in Hongdong county of Shanxi province and Baita Temple in Beijing.

Ming and Qing Dynasties was the peak period of the ancient Chinese architecture system. The great wall was made by masonry, and the palaces were made by quantity of tiles and bricks. The quantity and quality of glazed tile moved beyond past dynasties. Engineering Practice Rules of the Ministry of Works written in Qing Dynasty united the pattern and material standard of the official buildings and simplified construction method. Royal gardens and private gardens achieved great development like the Forbidden City, the Temple of Heaven, the Summer Palace, etc. China suffered from aggression and oppression by imperialist powers in its modern history after the Opium War in 1840. Western style buildings were introduced to China and built in concessions. And European and American style was brought into China by Chinese overseas student. However, the Chinese traditional style which lasted thousands of years still affected the modern architecture deeply. In the beginning of the 20th century, due to the integration and communication between China and western architectural style, the architecture in modern became complex as well as various.

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