A General Introduction of Ancient Chinese Architecture
Architecture has been dubbed the "Concretionary Music" and has become a critical component of human civilizations.
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Ancient Chinese buildings are mainly timberwork structures built by the Han people as well as some excellent structures made by ethnic minorities. These Ancient buildings have been developed and improved amidst the traditional Chinese culture. They gradually evolved into a close and independent architectural system between 2nd century B.C. and mid 19th century. They feature superior aesthetic values, architectural techniques and profound cultural meanings. Ancient Chinese architectural design has distributed its sharp-cut characteristics and style to a vast territory. It has also directly influenced Ancient Japanese, Korean, Vietnamese and some 17th century European buildings.
China has a vast territory and various ethnic minority groups. As result, ancient Chinese people used different materials to build different kinds of structures according to the needs of the people in a particular area. In northern China's Yellow River area, the ancients use to build their homes with timber and yellow earth in order to keep out harsh winds, heavy rains and snow. In the south, bamboo and bulrush were also used to help avoid moisture and improve air ventilation. The bottom part of the house was usually built on support columns. In some mountainous areas houses were made mostly of stone, while in forested areas, homes tended to be well styled.
Ancient Chinese buildings underwent three major design enhancements between the Qin and Han dynasties, the Sui and Tang dynasties, and the Ming and Qing dynasties. During these three periods, several high profile buildings were constructed and improved including palaces, mausoleums, capital cities, defending works and water conservancies. The design and materials of these buildings had a great impact on following generations. The Qinshihuang Emperor Mausoleum and the Great Wall of the Qin dynasty, the Zhaozhouqiao Bridge of the Sui dynasty, as well as the Forbidden City of the Ming and Qing dynasties still display the unique charm of ancient Chinese architecture to date.
Over the centuries, however, some ancient Chinese buildings have been lost due to natural disasters and war. Most of the Ancient structures that remain today were built during or after the 7th century of the Tang dynasty.
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