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A tulou outer building encloses a smaller circular building, which encloses an ancestral hall and courtyard in the center. A dugout dwelling enclosing an underground courtyard. Buildings with doors facing the front of the property are considered more important than those facing the sides. Buildings facing away from the front of the property are the least important. South-facing buildings in the rear and more private location of the property with higher exposure to sunlight are held in higher esteem and reserved for elder members of the family or ancestral plaques.
Buildings facing east and west are generally for junior members or branches of the family, while buildings near the front are typically for servants and hired help. Buildings that were too high and large were considered unsightly, and therefore generally avoided. This often meant that pagodas towered above all other buildings in the skyline of a Chinese city. Chinese architecture from early times used concepts from Chinese cosmology such as feng shui geomancy and Taoism to organize construction and layout from common residences to imperial and religious structures.
The association is often done through rebuses. Orienting the structure with its back to elevated landscape and ensuring that there is water in the front. Considerations are also made such that the generally windowless back of the structure faces the north, where the wind is coldest in the winter. Ponds, pools, wells, and other water sources are usually built into the structure.
Although the Western tradition gradually developed a body of architectural literature, little was written on the subject in China, and the earliest text, the Kaogongji , was never disputed. However, ideas about cosmic harmony and the order of the city were usually interpreted at their most basic level, so a reproduction of the "ideal" city never existed.
Beijing as reconstructed throughout the 15th and 16th century remains one of the best examples of traditional Chinese town planning. Architectural types[ edit ] There are various types of Chinese architecture.
Some of these relate to the associated use of the structures, such as whether they were built for royals, commoners, or the religious. Commoners[ edit ] Due to primarily wooden construction and poor maintenance, far fewer examples of commoner's homes survive to this day compared to those of nobles.
According to Matthew Korman, the average commoner's home did not change much, even centuries after the establishment of the universal style, such as earlyth-century homes, were very similar to late and mid imperial homes in layout and construction.
On its two sides were bedrooms for the elders; the two wings of the building known as "guardian dragons" by the Chinese were for the junior members of the family, as well as the living room, the dining room, and the kitchen, although sometimes the living room could be very close to the center.
This resulted in a U-shaped building, with a courtyard suitable for farm work. All buildings were legally regulated, and the law held that the number of stories, the length of the building and the colours used depended on the owner's class.
Some commoners living in areas plagued by bandits built communal fortresses called Tulou for protection. Often favoured by the Hakka in Fujian and Jiangxi, the design of Tulou also shows the Chinese ancient philosophy of harmony between people and environment. People used local materials to build the walls with rammed earth.
There is no window to the outside on the lower two floors for defense, but it's open on the inside with a common courtyard and lets people get together easily. One example is the use of yellow roof tiles, yellow having been the Imperial color; yellow roof tiles still adorn most of the buildings within the Forbidden City.
The Temple of Heaven , however, uses blue roof tiles to symbolize the sky. The roofs are almost invariably supported by brackets "dougong" , a feature shared only with the largest of religious buildings.
The wooden columns of the buildings, as well as the surfaces of the walls, tend to be red in color. Black is also a famous color often used in pagodas. It was believed that the gods are inspired by the black color to descend to the earth. The Chinese 5-clawed dragon, adopted by the first Ming emperor for his personal use, was used as decoration on the beams, pillars, and on the doors on Imperial architecture.
Curiously, the dragon was never used on roofs of imperial buildings. The ancient Chinese favored the color red. The buildings faced south because the north had a cold wind. A vaulted tomb chamber in Luoyang , built during the Eastern Han Dynasty AD 25— A tomb chamber of Luoyang , built during the Eastern Han Dynasty AD 25— with incised wall decorations The Great Red Gate at the Ming tombs near Beijing, built in the 15th century The yellow roof tiles and red wall in the Forbidden City Palace Museum grounds in Beijing , built during the Yongle era — of the Ming dynasty Beijing became the capital of China after the Mongol invasion of the 13th century, completing the easterly migration of the Chinese capital begun since the Jin dynasty.
The Ming uprising in reasserted Chinese authority and fixed Beijing as the seat of imperial power for the next five centuries.
The Emperor and the Empress lived in palaces on the central axis of the Forbidden City , the Crown Prince at the eastern side, and the concubines at the back therefore the numerous imperial concubines were often referred to as "The Back Palace Three Thousand".
However, during the mid- Qing dynasty , the Emperor's residence was moved to the western side of the complex. It is misleading to speak of an axis in the Western sense of a visual perspective ordering facades, rather the Chinese axis is a line of privilege, usually built upon, regulating access—there are no vistas, but a series of gates and pavilions.
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