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Some Important Styles of Chinese Wooden Structure Architectures

Updated: 2014-12-01 14:08:10

( Chinaculture.org )

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There are many techniques in the plastic art of Chinese wooden structure architecture, which formed roofs of delicacy and variation.

During the Wei, Jing, Northern and Southern dynasties (220-581), China was divided and plunged into wars, which on the other hand stimulated the first large-scale integration of nationalities. The instability of society provided no security for laboring people. They could find comfort only from Buddha. That's why the Buddhism flourished, and temples, pagodas and grottoes were built in large scale by the archon. Numerous Buddhist art works were produced substantially, which promoted the liberation of literature and art. In general, it was a period of great architectural development. In terms of architectural decoration, basef on the techniques of preceding dynasties, they absorbed some vivid sculptural styles from Greek, and the designs, figures, flowers, grasses, birds, and animals set the fashion by breaking away from the Han (206BC-220AD) style, which enriched the status of Chinese architecture.

At that period the architectural art and technique made great progress. Square wooden buildings of pavilion-style were very popular. As toDougong(system of tiers of brackets inserted between the top of a pillar and a crossbeam: each bracket formed a bow-shaped arc calledGongand was cushioned with a block of wood calledDou),Renzi Gonghad improved from the stiff straight type to elegant bow shape. In frescos of the East Jin Dynasty (317-420) people find the new style of turnup roof edges. The images of buildings in the North Wei Dynasty (386-534) appeared in Dunhuang frescos show the storied high buildings, a bit naive roof curves andChiwei(ceramic decoration shaped somewhat like an owl's tail, fixed at the roof ridge of an old-fashioned Chinese house), which manifest architectural style of those periods. Then as wooden architecture developed, other new types of roof with distict Chinese character emerged, such as flying eaves, gable and hip roof, overhanging gable roof, flush gable roof, pyramidal roof, round ridge roof, and so on.

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