Chinese Architecture | Ancient Chinese Culture

Posts Tagged Chinese Architecture


Tulou, also known as the earthen houses in English, is a kind of traditional communal residence of the mountainous regions of south-eastern China. It is a representative of a unique style of Chinese architecture. also regarded as the Ancient Castle in the East. Its history can trace back to the 12th century.

As its name suggests, most tulou are of the style of earthen construction. Originally, these buildings were built for defense purposes. Therefore, the structure of a tulou always resembles a small fortified city. It is rectangular or circular in configuration, with a large number of halls, storehouses, wells and bedrooms inside. Read the rest of this entry »


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Chinese Corridor

Chinese Corridor, also called Lang in Chinese, is a traditional Chinese architectural style. It refers to the covered aisle with low railings and long benches. Traditional corridor in China usually consists of Hui Lang (the winding Corridor) and You Lang (the Corridor of connecting pavilions).

The history of Chinese corridor can date back to the period of Western Han Dynasty (202BC~9AD), when it was first mentioned in relevant historical records.

As a beautiful sight in China, corridors are built for multiple purposes. They may provide places for rest, protect the people from the sun and rain, etc. As the part of Chinese architecture, it becomes the important means of partitioning spatial patterns.

The railings and benches of traditional corridors usually come with beautiful geometric patterns. They are often decorated with assorted lights windows, leaking windows, etc.

Based on the sides of corridors, Chinese corridors can be classified into different categories including double sides Corridor, single side Corridor, etc.

Of all the existed corridors, the most charming one is Summer Palace Corridor, which was built during the period of Qing Dynasty (1636~1911) and is regarded as the longest corridor in the world.

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Brick Carving


The brick carving is a very important part in ancient Chinese architecture. It is widely used for the decorative purposes on gateways, doors, eaves, ridges, roofs, etc.

The carvings on bricks cover a wide range of subjects, including human figures, flowers, tigers, dragons, lions, elephants, etc. Among all of them, the most common seen are human figures from popular legends, dramas and folklore.


The brick carving requires exquisite materials and superb craftsmanship. It is done on a kind of special gray brick, also called fangzhuan in the Ming Dynasty and jinzhuan in the Qing dynasty. The brick is so brittle that can be easily ruined by a slip of the carving tool.

Nowadays, we can still appreciate this art form in the provinces of Jiangsu, Anhui, Shanxi, Guangdong, etc. The carvings of Anhui is among the most reprehensive ones.


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Chinese Pagoda

Chinese pagoda is strongly influenced by the Buddhism and evolved from the stupa from the Indian subcontinent.

As the Buddhist missionaries, pilgrims, rulers, and ordinary devoted to seek out, distribute, and extol Buddhist relics, the original purpose of the pagoda was to house relics and sacred writings.

The earliest base-structure types for pagodas were square-base and circular-base. By the 10th century the Chinese began to build octagonal-base pagoda towers. The structure can be divided into three parts: the top, the body and the base.

Most pagodas contain relics of the Buddha or at least a statue of the Enlightened. Inside pagodas, there may be a dome-like room or can be climbed by stairs to take care for the decorations or the jewels that are fixed atop of the lotus flower bud.

Yingxian Wooden Pagoda , built in 1056 .( the oldest wooden Buddhist pagoda in existence)

The Xumi Pagoda, built in 636 AD during the Tang Dynasty.


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Chinese Ge


The Chinese Ge also refers to a building of two or more storeys. Different from Chinese Lou, Ge has a door and windows only on the front side with the other three sides being solid walls. What’s more, Ge is usually enclosed by wooden balustrades or decorated with boards all around.

In ancient China, Ge was used for the storage of important articles and documents. While, in parks or some scenic places, it is built for enjoying the distant scenery.

In some great monasteries, Ge also refers to the tower that shelter the colossal statues. Well-known religious Ge including Guanyinge of Dulesi Temple in Jixian County of Hebei Province, Foxiangge in Beijing’s Summer Palace, Zhenwuge in Ronxian of Guangdong Province, etc.

GuanyingeGuanyinge of Dulesi Temple