China and Japan Architectural History ACT 322 Doris Kemp
Topics • China • Cultural/History • Developments in Architecture • Basic Idea and Structure • Temples and Palaces • Inside the City • Roofs • The Forbidden City • The Great Wall • Related Trivia • Japan • Temples • Castles
History of China • For nearly 4000 years China has maintained its culture with only minimal influence from the rest of the world • Its unified government under strong emperors encouraged: • a uniform structure for society • stable architectural traditions • City design • Building practices
Developments in Architecture • Banpo – ca. 2000 BCE • Remains of farming and craft villages were found • Plans included circular and rectangular shapes • Rectangular houses were recessed a half-story into the ground and had a pyramid roof of lightweight wooden members covered in thatch • Earth sheltering helped stabilize interior temperatures • A central hearth was included • The next 1,000 years brought little change --- larger structures of timber framing, earthen plastering and thatch
Developments con’t • Shang Dynasty – 1766 BCE • Technology included skill in bronze casting and pictograph writing preserved on the shoulder blades (bones) of sheep • Many dynasties followed (Zhou, Han,Tang, Song, Yuan, Ming, and Qing –major ones) • These governing bodies largely controlled and drove building construction
Basic Idea and Structure • Chinese structures are based on the principle of balance and symmetry • The main structure is the axis • Secondary structures are positioned as 2 wings on either side to form the main room and yard • Interior space distribution is reflective of Chinese social & ethnical values (hierarchy of family members)
Building Materials • Wood has historically always been the primary material used • Readily available and easy to use as construction material • Most often used in post and beam construction • Jian – about 10 x 15 feet • Modular unit defined as the basic measure in construction • The more complex structures contained odd numbers of jian
Temples and Palaces • Buddhist temples – very few remaining because many were neglected or torn down to allow for urban development • Toyang – location of a nearly 400 ft. temple erected in the Yung Dynasty at the beginning of the 6th century.
Pagoda • Also known as stupa • Mainly used to house sacred objects • May take the form of a storied tower, or an upturned bowl (rarely seen) • Made of wood in the 2nd & 3rd century • 10th century [Sung dynasty] – shape changed to a tetragonal (4 -sided polygon) • Tang [next dynasty] – towers shaped into an octagon
Inside the City • Each Chinese city of the past had its own personality • A common feature is that they were surrounded by a high wall • The houses of the wealthy were made of wood and contained painted or gloss tiles • The houses of the poor, merchants, and peasants were drafty, one-room structures made of mud bricks and roots of reeds
Roofs • Not only protected from the elements but also represented the religious beliefs of the culture • Temple roofs curved --Buddhist believed this helped ward off evil spirits • Colorful glazed ceramic tiles (red, green, yellow) covered the roof rafters • Roof ridges typically carried figurines and/or mythical creatures • Major concern– all the massive weight added – solution was to add another colonnade to support the weight under the outer edges
Forbidden City --- Roof Example Figures on roof tops
The Forbidden City • Beijing – location • A palace with a moat surrounding it • Built during early Qing dynasty • 1260 A.D. Qubilai Qan chose it as his personal seat • 15th century – established as the main capital by the Bing Emperors
The Forbidden City con’t • There exists symmetry and logical placement of all buildings –contribute to its greatness • Many structures are very ornate with their elaborate works of art in the form of massive marble lions, elephants, horses and officials. • These marble figures are strategically placed along walkways (“Spirit Way”) and other planned spots.
The Great Wall Mainly built to protect the Chinese Empire from invaders (Mongolians) Facts about wall: Stretches over 1,500 miles Took 2000 years to complete Can be seen from the moon Made of masonry, rocks, and packed earth More than 300,000 soldiers, slaves, and convicts worked on the wall construction
The Great Wall • 3 Major Components of Wall: • Passes – mainly located at intersections; served as access points for merchants and was used as an exit for troops to attack invaders • Signal Towers – (beacons) used to send military communication warning of invasion • Walls – built of available materials (masonry, rocks, packed earth, bricks, wood); height of wall varied depending on the land on which it was located (average ht. 23-26 ft.)
Trivia Related to Chinese Architecture • The number “9” and imperial buildings • Odd numbers were regarded as masculine & even as feminine --- “Nine” is the largest single digit number as interpreted to mean “ultimate masculine” the (supreme sovereignty of the emperor). • This number (or multiples) is often found in palace designs or in structural components (#studs, #gates, 9 courtyards, 9 dragons on screen walls, New Year dinner for the imperial house consisted of 99 dishes)
Trivia con’t • Dragon & Phoenix • Principal designs used on buildings, clothing, and articles of daily use in the imperial palace • Can be traced back to some prehistoric tribes in China – served as their symbols and guardian gods • Dragon evolved in appearance to include: deer antlers, horse manes, and eagle claws • Phoenix – golden pheasant head, parrot beak, mandarin duck body, peacock feathers, & crane legs
Trivia con’t • Pavilions • Common sight in the country • Built of wood, stone, or bamboo • Shapes vary – square, triangle, hexagon, octagon, five-petal flower, and fan • All have columns for support --- no walls • Served as resting places
Famous Pavilions • Baoyunge [Pavilion of Precious Clouds] • Located in Beijing’s Summer Palace • Entire structure built of cast bronze • Known as the “Gold Pavilion” • 7.5 meters tall & weighs 207 tons • Kuoruting [Pavilion of Expanse] • Located in Beijing’s Summer Palace • Largest pavilion in China –130 sq. meters • Roof – converges in a crown on top, rests on three rings of columns (24-round & 16 square shaped)
Japan • Located off the coast of Korea & China • Consists of 4 main islands & a thousand smaller ones scattered over 800 miles • Like China – Japan had a long reign of stable government and minimal influence from the outside world until the 19th century • China influenced their architecture mainly through Buddhism
Yoshinogari (Kyushu, Japan ) • The archaeological park at Yoshinogari, in northern Kyushu, is constructed on the site of an original Yayoi settlement (300 BC - 300 AD). The settlement was bounded by an inner and an outer moat; it contained more than 350 houses and over 2500 graves. • Yayoi culture introduced new types of pottery, social organization, the cultivation of rice, and the use of ritual bronze implements to Kyushu. From there, it spread to the rest of Japan, displacing the earlier Jomon (10,000 BC - 300 BC) culture. It is possible that Queen Himiko, a shamaness/queen mentioned in an early Chinese chronicle, may have ruled a settlement like Yoshinogari around 250 AD.
Shinto (the way of the gods)- native religion Reveres natural forces essential to agriculture through rituals and celebrations at shrines 6th century (538) – religion was influenced by Buddhism – brought to Japan by Korean architects Monoyama period (1573-1603) – increased awareness of culture through merchants – an example of their influence was the tea ceremony which led to development of sukiya-zukuri (style of residential architecture exclusively for tea ceremony purposes) –tatami mats covering floors Religious Influence
Post & Beam Post and beam and flexible joinery provided a viable building construction in a land where earthquakes and typhoons were not an uncommon occurrence. In most traditional farmhouses or townhomes you find the daikokubashira, or main pillar, on a foundation stone somewhere in the middle of the structure, or you may find three pillars in a line. All these pillars bear the majority of the building load. With the load taken care of, it frees up other pillars in the house to act as furnishing pillars, i.e. to be used for attachment of lighter walls and other interior furnishings.
Sukiya-zukuri Note the examples of TATAMI mats
Temples From Japan Byodo-in (Phoenix Hall) Kyoto, Japan
Temples con’t End view of Byodo-in
Byodo-in (Phoenix Hall) • Located near Uji, the Phoenix Hall (1053) is named for its resemblance to the mythical bird, its "wings" spread out in flight. The building is what remains of the villa-temple of Fujiwara no Yorimichi, reflected in a stunning pond and gardens which represent Amida's Western Paradise. Other villa-temples include the Golden Pavilion and Silver Pavilion, Horyuji, and Nanzenji. • The villa was formerly closed for repairs, but reopened in 2000, as refurbishing continues.
Horyuji – Nara Temple • Main hall and pagoda date back to the Asuka period (670- 714) • 4 structures located at Horyuji are the “OLDEST WOODEN buildings on earth” • Intact for over 13 centuries – survived fire, typhoon, war, and earthquakes
Horyuji – Pagoda Section of 5- story pagoda
Horyuji Facts Horyuji was built in 607, in the village of Ikaruga between Asuka and Nara, as a retreat for Prince Regent Shotoku Taishi in his retirement. While regent, Shotoku established Buddhism as the state religion of Japan. Upon his death, the temple became the center of his memorial cult. Almost all the buildings and sculptures in this amazing complex date between 700 AD and 1000 AD, and are classified as National Treasures by the Japanese government.
Horyuji is divided into an East Precinct and a West Precinct, with the courtyard of each precinct aligned on a north-south axis. Shown in this photo is the southern approach to the West Precinct. Its Chu-mon (Middle Gate) is straight ahead, with the pagoda visible to the left.
Asuka-Dera Asuka-Dera is the oldest temple in Japan, founded by Soga no Umako in 588. Umako, head of the Soga clan, had championed the cause of Buddhism since its introduction from Korea several years previously. After defeating his rivals at court, Umako established Buddhism in Japan, and set his niece on the throne as Empress Suiko. This began a pattern of political rule by the most powerful clan, the emperor being reduced to a figurehead, that persisted throughout Japanese history.
Castles From Japan Bitchu-Matsuyama Castle in Japan
Castles of Japan Kumamoto Castle Kyushu, Japan Kato Kiyomasa, a powerful ally of Toyotomi Hideyoshi, built Kumamoto-jo (1607) as a refuge for Hideyoshi's son, Hideyori. It is considered one of Japan's greatest castles. Its donjon, destroyed in the Satsuma Rebellion (1877), is a modern reconstruction.
References • http://library.thinkquest.org/10098/china1.htm • http://www.ccds.charlotte.nc.us/History/China/05/handford/index.html • Sullivan, Mary; http://www.bluffton.edu/~sullivanm/ • http://www.brynmawr.edu/Acads/Cities/wld/wdpt1.html • http://www.TravelChinaGuide.com • http://www.chinaetravel.com/china/architec.html • www.edgallardo.com/china.htm • http://www.chinavista.com/travel/yuheyuan/home.html
References • http://www.asianinfo.org • http://www.yoshinoantiques.com/Interior-article.html • http://www.orientalarchitecture.com/nara/horyujiindex.htm • http://www.art-and-archaeology.com/japan/byodoin1.html • Trachtenburg/Hyman; Architecture: From Prehistory to Postmodernity, Prentice Hall, 2002 • Wodehouse/Moffett; Buildings Across Time: An Introduction to World Architecture, McGraw-Hill, 2004