Chinese Architecture. This Essay shortly describes the ancient Chinese architecture with the main point on the Hall of Supreme Harmony.

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The Chinese architecture is less studied than the architecture of almost any other great civilization on the world. Also in the Western countries a common comment about the Chinese architecture is that it looks all the same, with the standard picture of the Forbidden City on mind. This Essay will be about some points of the ancient Chinese architecture, which here can’t be described in every detail, because the classical Chinese architecture has a long and creative history. Different types of architecture will be described shortly and the main point lies on the Hall of Supreme Harmony in the Forbidden City in Beijing and some of its architectural features.



The earliest buildings in China are dated 7000 years and since then the architecture went through some developments. The architecture was shaped by different factors.

Of the 56 ethnic groups which exist in China, the Han are the most numerous. 94% of the people in China are considered as Han Chinese. All these groups live in different areas in this huge land and therefore they have different local building materials.

Also the religions, like Confucianism, Taoism and Buddhism, had an influence on the temple and altar architecture. Beside these two factors, the outside of China had a big influence as well. China exchanged for example building techniques with other countries.

Types of Ancient Chinese Architecture

All over China different types of architecture can be found.

The Palace Architecture represents the quintessence of the architectural techniques and the esthetical aspirations of the epoch.

Forbidden City in Beijing and the imperial Palace Shenyang, both built during the Ming and Qing dynasty.

The Altar and Temple Architecture was built to worship heaven and earth, sun and moon, gods and spirits, ancestors and celebrities. This is a principal part of the spiritual life of ancient Chinese people. The different buildings had different functions: the altars were built to worship earth and heaven, temples to offer sacrifices to deities. To commemorate ancestors halls and shrines were built. Buildings like that are for example the Tiantan in South Beijing or the Taimiao in Beijing lying to east and in front of the Forbidden City.

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Generations of Emperors paid special attention to the construction of their tombs and mausoleums, regarding them as palaces in which they would spend eternity. The most famous of the Tomb Architecture is the Terracotta Army guarding the Mausoleum of Emperor Qinshihuang in Xianyang, Shaanxi.

 As already written in the introduction, the religions had a big influence on the building of temples, altars and so on. Buddhism is the most widespread religion and therefore Buddhism temples and towers can be found all over China.

On selected spaces it was built a miniature imitation of the nature, where body and mind could ...

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