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Chinese Traditional Architectural Craftsmanship for Timber-framed Structures

Updated: 2014-12-10 13:25:43

( Chinaculture.org )

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In 2009, the Chinese traditional architectural craftsmanship for timber-framed structures was inscribed on the Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity by the UNESCO.


Standing as distinctive symbols of Chinese architectural culture, timber-framed structures are found throughout the country. The wooden components such as the columns, beams, purlins, lintel and bracket sets are connected by tenon joints in a flexible, earthquake-resistant way. The surprisingly strong frames can be installed quickly at the building site by assembling components manufactured in advanced. In addition to this structural carpentry, the architectural craft also encompasses decorative woodworking, tile roofing, stonework, decorative painting and other arts passed down from masters to apprentices through verbal and practical instruction. Each phase of the construction procedure demonstrates its unique and systematic methods and skills. Employed today mainly in the construction of structures in the traditional style and in restoring ancient timber-framed buildings, Chinese traditional architectural craftsmanship for timber-framed structures embodies a heritage of wisdom and craftsmanship and reflects an inherited understanding of nature and interpersonal relationships in traditional Chinese society. For the carpenters and artisans who preserve this architectural style, and for the people who have lived in and among the spaces defined by it for generations, it has become a central visual component of Chinese identity and an important representative of Asian architecture.

Criteria for inscription on the Representative List

R1: Chinese traditional architectural craftsmanship for timber-framed structures has a long history of being transmitted from generation to generation by a large community of practitioners throughout China, who recognize it as their cultural identity;

R2: Inscription of the element on the Representative List would contribute to enhancing the continuation of the architectural craftsmanship, increasing the visibility of intangible cultural heritage and promoting cultural diversity and human creativity as well as intercultural dialogue;

R3: The governmental and non-governmental sectors have carried out several safeguarding measures such as recording and publishing, and future safeguarding measures including promotion, research and support to craftspeople are proposed;

R4: The element was nominated through consultation and cooperation with the bearers of the craftsmanship, bodies concerned with its safeguarding and research institutions, and submitted with consent letters of the bearers and institutes concerned;

R5: The diverse components of the element are inscribed on the National List of Intangible Cultural Heritage administered by the Department of Intangible Cultural Heritage of the Ministry of Culture.



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