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Greco-Roman vs. Han Chinese Extant Architecture

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  Quote Gun Powder Ma Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Topic: Greco-Roman vs. Han Chinese Extant Architecture
    Posted: 11-Oct-2006 at 11:55
Originally posted by Omnipotence

A building made out of stone or marble will be ridiculous in a region with frequent earthquakes, a building made out of wood and lumber will be extremely inadequate in a region with frequent fires, a building of that aims to the sky will be extremely unsuitable in regions with frequent high winds, while a short building would be extremely... wet in a region with many flash floods.


Are these excuses?

I would like to see a statistics from the UN which shows that China is more threatened by earthquakes, fires, storms and floods than the rest of Asia or the Mediterranean.

And then I would like to see evidence that ancient Chinese built deliberately and consistently with these considerations in mind.

Until then please provide pics, not excuses.


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  Quote Preobrazhenskoe Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 11-Oct-2006 at 12:04
Originally posted by Gun Powder Ma

You have not even begun to explain why and what traditional Chinese aesthetics inhibited the adoption of fundamental architectural techniques like arches, domes and vaults?
 
Part of your statement is correct, about vaults and domes, but arches? Are you serious? If you paid attention to the bridge on the last page (and yes, bridges are considered architecture, lol), then you'd notice the many arches that make up the 7 meter tall, 60 meter span of the Anji (Zhaozhou) Bridge. That's showing complex knowledge of engineering in segmented arches in the early 7th century. Either Li Chun was an absolute prodigy genius architect for his time, or he was working with a precedent on arches of some sort that came from an inherent age. Hell, even the 14th century gatehouses of Nanjing I posted on the earlier page clearly show stone arched gateways and paths. I've also seen Medieval Song Dynasty era gatehouses using arches as well (I posted a picture of it in CHF). As for its use and application on a wide-scale, to all models of architecture, obviously the Chinese didn't implement arches on such a widespread use as Western and Near Eastern societies, but that doesn't mean they weren't present and implemented.
 
Eric


Edited by Preobrazhenskoe - 11-Oct-2006 at 12:11
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  Quote Hrothgar Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 11-Oct-2006 at 12:25
cool


Edited by Hrothgar - 11-Oct-2006 at 12:26
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  Quote Hrothgar Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 11-Oct-2006 at 12:32
here's a pic that preo posted in another thread:



stone architecture.

I guess the Chinese got over the scruples of masonry being considered 'lowly' on the societal scale of things and decided to throw caution into the wind as well.
by building one of these.
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  Quote Gun Powder Ma Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 11-Oct-2006 at 12:40
Preo,

I am refering to the timeline of the thread which is about from 600 BC to 600 AD. Although jumping back and forth in time is inevitable as with any subject, we should concentrate on that time frame. If the architect of that bridge drew from precursors, then be so kind as to provide pictorial evidence for them. And note one sparrow does not make a summer. We are talking here about invention and application of constructional and structural methods.
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  Quote Omnipotence Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 11-Oct-2006 at 13:40

Are these excuses?

I would like to see a statistics from the UN which shows that China is more threatened by earthquakes, fires, storms and floods than the rest of Asia or the Mediterranean.

And then I would like to see evidence that ancient Chinese built deliberately and consistently with these considerations in mind.

It's called fact. It's not about comparing which is better, as you are trying to force down my throat, but mere fact that bigger is not better. It's not about China having more earthquakes, it's about wood being more resilient to earthquakes and stone being more resilient to time, etc.... Stop looking at my posts as if it's a superiority contest. If you want to prove the somebody  is superior then it is your job to look for sources, b/c that is not my interest.



Until then please provide pics, not excuses.
 
As I have already pointed out, Han buildings are completely gone except their foundations. You should know this, because I have already stated this repeatedly, and to force other people to post things that don't exist is simply not cool. Thus there are only the foundations, as can be seen here.
 
 
I have already stressed this fact before, so please don't reiterate them the next time.
 
 
 
^pagoda at famen, a reconstruction of the real thing(Han to Tang). But it's a reconstruction. As I've said, no Han structures exist today, I don't get the point.
 
 
^something from the Sui dynasty, NOT the Han dynasty. And even during that time remaining structures were really rare.


Edited by Omnipotence - 11-Oct-2006 at 13:53
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  Quote honeybee Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 11-Oct-2006 at 13:49
Originally posted by Gun Powder Ma



That's why this thread is mainly concerned with architecture as engineering and building construction. The silk scroll which is very beautiful shows by the way again that traditional Chinese houses were of the one story type.

Whether the buildings of Kaifeng or Chang'an were "spectacularly world-class" we just do not know for sure in the marked absence of sufficient building fabric. Yes, there are other former world cities from which today there is hardly a trace left (Baghdad for one), but we should not take a priori considerations too far.

Ancient Cairo, Constantinople and Rome must be considered once true world cities because any visitor can see this at a glance even today. But in Kaifeng, Chang'an and Luoyang we do not see at all much traces of their former glory, that's why we should be cautious to call them such in the first place. Absence of evidence is not evidence of absence, but certainly a strong argument pointing in that direction when it comes so forcefully in this case.
 
 
lol, obviously, peasant houses are mainly of one story type. Why don't you compare these to the straw huts of European peasants?
We actually don't need building fabric to construct Chang An and KaiFeng's layout, we got paintings and ancient texts that detailly describes their layout, as well as models of housings. We even got grain wages to determine their rough living standards. Infrastructure does not mean buildings in a city it is defined as "The basic facilities, services, and installations needed for the functioning of the community." In that case Chang An is the most orderly planned city in the world at the time.
 
Also, you were wrong when you say you can't see any former glory in cities like Chang An and Han Zhou, there are plenty of buildings left? The Da Yan Ta of Chang An, the Zhao Zhou Chiao, and much more.
 
 
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  Quote Omnipotence Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 11-Oct-2006 at 13:56
lol, obviously, peasant houses are mainly of one story type.
 
Sometimes they actually prefer living higher up. This usually happens when people start throwing all their crap down towards the bottom. Thus the game "King of the Hill".
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  Quote Preobrazhenskoe Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 11-Oct-2006 at 14:08

Originally posted by Hrothgar

here's a pic that preo posted in another thread:



stone architecture.

I guess the Chinese got over the scruples of masonry being considered 'lowly' on the societal scale of things and decided to throw caution into the wind as well.
by building one of these.
 
What??? Throw caution to the wind? Dude, there's thousands of pagodas throughout China, a large portion of them being built from stone and brick, and a large portion of them standing since the 7th century onwards (there were hundreds of wooden pagodas of the earlier Northern and Southern Dynasties period, but they are no longer existent). Throw caution to the wind? You make it sound as if this one Spirit Pagoda at Famen Temple is some sort of rarity.
 
Silly.
 
@Gun Powder Ma
 
Since you wanted to see Chinese arches and vaults before the 7th century AD, here's an example from Han Dynasty underground tombs. This is an Eastern Han tomb vault located southwest of Zhengzhou. It is called the Dahuting Tomb. Notice the modern-touristy glass-casing protecting the delicate, ancient painted murals on the walls leading up to the arched roof.
 
 
Here's another arched tomb vault of the Three Kingdoms Period (220-265 AD) in Zhejiang Province, Dongqiao of Ningbo City. Notice the clear work of arched walls and the small arched entrance at the end of the hall in this photo to the left. Also, observe the one below.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Here's another pic from the tomb of Empress Wu of the late 7th century Tang Dynasty.
 

 
Eric


Edited by Preobrazhenskoe - 11-Oct-2006 at 17:19
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  Quote flyingzone Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 11-Oct-2006 at 14:18
Originally posted by Gun Powder Ma

So why did the ancient Chinese did not adopt such basic innovations? It would have been most certainly an enrichment to their own architecture, wouldn't it? But right now, you have been just shifting the case from 'ancient Chinese construction was too backward to adopt these techniques' to 'ancient Chinese mentality was too conservative or stagnant to adopt these techniques'...
 
"Backward", "stagnant" (and the word "excuses" that you used in another post) are all very loaded and negative terms that I think we should avoid especially when we are making comparisons based on subjective criteria. In doing so, it makes you appear unscholarly and subjective and can potentially and unnecessarily infuriate people. I expect better behaviour from you, Gun Powder Ma.
 
To get back to your point, I have actually, in another thread in the East Asia Forum, raised the question of whether Confucianism might have indeed been an "impeding force" in the "development" of Chinese music. Some musicologists have actually argued that the Confucianist ideal of "wholeness" might have led to the ascension of the pentatonic scale (with no semitones) as the basis of Chinese music at the "expense" of other scales that might have coexisted with the pentatonic one before Confucianism became the dominant ideological force in China.
 


Edited by flyingzone - 11-Oct-2006 at 14:29
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  Quote flyingzone Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 11-Oct-2006 at 14:41
Originally posted by Gun Powder Ma


I thought it goes without saying that the subsequent history of architecture had shown that each of these basic structural and constructional methods has an immense aesthetical potential on which whole civilisations (Roman, Christian, Islamic) have drawn inspiration for millenia.

 
Maybe there is immense aesthetical potential for a particular culture or cultures, but there is no universal aesthetic standard for all the cultures in the world. What appeals to one may not appeal to another. This is actually the point that I have been trying to make repeatedly here.
 
Beware of ethnocentrism, Gun.


Edited by flyingzone - 11-Oct-2006 at 14:41
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  Quote Preobrazhenskoe Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 12-Oct-2006 at 04:24
Besides the arched vaults of the Eastern Han, Three Kingdoms, and Tang I presented above, I just made an interesting find, one that exemplifies just how ignorant even I, the China history buff, am of Chinese history. Gun Powder Ma, you may find this wiki article to be of crucial interest to your claim about vaults and domes.
 
 
 

According to the structure, calligraphy and content of the inscriptions on tomb bricks and to the tomb finds, the tomb is commonly believed to have been be built during the Eastern Han Dynasty (AD 25 - 220) although the Southern Dynasties period was also suggested. It was probably built for a Chinese officer attached to the local garrison.

The tomb is constructed of bricks (average size 40x20x5cm) and consists of four chambers set in the form of a cross. The domed vault at the center was constructed by laying bricks in a spiral, while the other chambers are barrel vaulted. Some bricks are stamped or carved with inscriptions or patterns on the exposed sides. It is believed that the rear chamber is the coffin chamber, that side chambers were used for storage, while ritual ceremonies were performed in the front chamber under the domed roof.

The tomb's cross-shaped structure and the burial objects found inside show great similarities as compared to other Han tombs found in South China, which prove that early Chinese civilisation has spread to Hong Kong 2,000 years ago. The inscription Panyu on tomb bricks further confirms the dating, since, according to historical records, Panyu was the name of the county to which the present territory of Hong Kong belonged during the Han Dynasty. Also, the style of the calligraphy used in the inscriptions was an angular version of lishu (clerical script) which was generally used in inscriptions on bronze wares and stones during the Han Dynasty

Lei Cheng Uk Han Tomb

.

 
 
 
 
 
 
Another equally good site here at http://www.lcsd.gov.hk/CE/Museum/History/en/lcuht_exhibition1.php, notice the tiny pics of the arched vault and dome.
 
 
 
 
Another good sight can be found here, with large pics showing the dome and vault brick-arch architecture of the Eastern Han, only it is in PDF format and I could not paste the pics here. Go have a look for yourself instead.
 
 
Here's another PDF file with great pics of the Eastern Han dome and vault. It also describes the layout of the tomb itself, with four long arched brick corridors reaching the central dome.
 
 
Here's another PDF file with more pics.
 
 
HAN TOMB FOUND IN ZENGCHENG
 
 

A tomb of the Eastern Han Dynasty was unearthed in Guangzhou's Zengcheng , a city near Guangzhou, South China's Guangdong province.

The tomb was built with bricks and the chamber contains several rooms and corridors. Its coni-form dome in the middle room is unique among tombs belonging to the Eastern Han Dynasty.

The tomb has been looted. Because no epitaph was found inside, archeologists are not able to identify the tomb's owner. According to the scale of the tomb, the owner is speculated to be a county official.

 
Also, Emperor Wu's (ruled 156-87 BC) tomb called Mao Ling lies some 45 km to the west of Xi'an city. The dome-shaped tomb rises 130 meters tall despite the more than 2000 years of erosion by wind and rain. Around the emperor's tomb, there are more than 20 attendant tombs.
 
 
Emperor Wu's tomb
 
I guess by the Song Dynasty (960-1279 AD), tombs built in this manner of pyramidal structure were converted to stone, not rammed earth, as seen below by Shao Hao's tomb in Qufu, Shandong Province.
 
 
With more arches in pre-Ming architecture, here's an example of the Tang Dynasty (618-907 AD) brick pagoda tower known as Kumarajiva Pagoda. Notice the arched-windows that very much resemble (on a smaller scale) the arches found in in the ancient Eastern Han Dynasty tombs.
 
 
While on the subject of pagodas, I found this cool cross-section illustration of the wooden-made Northern Song Dynasty Foguang Si Pagoda (completed in 1056 AD), just to show the intricate and overlapping timber work that goes in making a pagoda tower.
 
 
Compared to a pic of the actual pagoda...
 
 
Eric 


Edited by Preobrazhenskoe - 12-Oct-2006 at 06:36
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  Quote Kids Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 12-Oct-2006 at 14:11
very nice pictures indeed...
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  Quote Omnipotence Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 12-Oct-2006 at 14:19
Very nice pictures Preo. Japanese pagodas usually reach five stories due to that each story symbolizes a basic element of the universe(fire, water, spirit, wind, and earth). I guess that Chinese pagodas do not have such a concept, which is wierd since you'd think Japan got that idea from China(since Japan got Buddhism from China).
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  Quote Preobrazhenskoe Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 12-Oct-2006 at 15:38
Originally posted by Omnipotence

(since Japan got Buddhism from China).
 
Shocked What? I thought Buddhism was transferred to Japan via the Baekje Kingdom in southern Korea. In a way the Japanese obtained Buddhism from China, since Buddhism from China was transmitted to Korea in the 4th century AD. And then you could stretch it even farther, saying that Emperor Ming of the Eastern Han Dynasty obtained Buddhism from Yuezhi Buddhist monks from the newly-established Kushan Empire in northern India.
 
Anyways, thanks guys, I don't mind posting pics at all. I can't believe I totally forgot about the Han tombs! In terms of architecture, that is. However, the question remains, did the Chinese apply the arched vaults and arched domes of their brick-laded tombs to wooden-timber based architecture above ground? We see arched stone structures in China that have survived since roughly 600 AD, but if we were to know anything about the wooden architecture of the Eastern Han, Western Jin, Northern/Southern Dynasties periods, where could we turn to in order to find out? This remains unsolved, at least to my knowledge...
 
Eric


Edited by Preobrazhenskoe - 12-Oct-2006 at 21:25
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  Quote Omnipotence Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 12-Oct-2006 at 19:11
What? I thought Buddhism was transferred to Japan via the Baekje Kingdom in southern Korea.
Yep, sorry about that. But the point is, if Buddhism went India-China-Korea-Japan, you'd think the concept of five story pagodas went India-China-Korea-Japan, but it seems Japan invented this own concept, since most Chinese pagodas do not have 5 floors.
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  Quote BigL Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 12-Oct-2006 at 23:14
I think were all forgetting here the influence Feng shui has on chinese architecture
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  Quote Preobrazhenskoe Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 13-Oct-2006 at 00:51

Even though the Anji (Zhaozhou) Bridge of the Sui Dynasty is the oldest surviving stone bridge in China (completed in 605 AD), I see evidence to suggest there were stone and brick structures of earlier periods besides the arch vault and arch dome structures of their underground tombs. Take for instance, this Eastern Han Dynasty (25-220 AD) stone rubbing.

 
Carros e cavalos
 
Notice the brick-constructed bridge in the center where the Han procession of troops and chariots are riding over.
 
Food for thought,
Eric
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  Quote Qin Dynasty Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 13-Oct-2006 at 09:28
 A nice topic, though the guy who started this thread might not really be interesting in architectures, but concentrate on downplaying any aspects that the Chinese have achieved.
 
 
The traditional Chinese buildings were mainly made of wood, that's why there are very few well-preserved till today. The reason why wood would be so widely used is a debatable topic, the dominent point is out of the philosopy and culture.
 
Medal, wood, water, stone and earth were the five elements that ancient Chinese believed should be the very basic to form the world. The attributes of wood and earth were yan while stone was yin ( forgive me not explain the yin&yan theory here, its so complex, i wont be bothered with it now) . Generally, yan refers to those which have positive attributes while yin is negative. That's why woods and bricks were used to build houses while stones were used to build tombs and mausoleums.
 
 
Back to the topic, the comparison. The Greco-Roman definite has its weight. But if the conclusion that they are superior to Han China's which  based on these pics is nothing but nonsense. Thpse Greco-Roman buildings are maginficent and awesome. They re made of stones, enduring through the ages. I never doubt they are one of the greatest feats in human history.
 
But we are not comparing who are grander and more magnificent, right? It's architecture, man. It's not like which one is higher, bigger that simple though that might requires more techniques. The ordinery Chinese architectures may not higher due to its materials, but they were equal intricate and complex to those Roman's if not more.
 
Just go to check the Great Wall, the Buddiha statues, the Great Cannal and numerous emperors mausoleums you would find the Chinese techniques to use stones dated back to Han period were also great.  
 
BTW, why cant i post pics here?
 
Error
Only members with sufficient permission can access this page.
i have posted many times ago , but this time not???
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  Quote Kids Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 13-Oct-2006 at 14:27

something wrong with the system, i guess

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