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Chinese Imperial Architecture
Chinese Imperial Architecture-Forbidden City
Forbidden City
 
China Information - Chinese Ancient Architecture
Imperial Architecture
Imperial architecture

Imperial architecture will feature imperial mausoleums and imperial palaces, which are always splendid and magnificent.
Imperial mausoleum architecture accounts for a major part in ancient Chinese architecture since they usually stand for the highest architectural
techniques of the time. Emperors would often force thousands of the nations best architects to build these structures. They would withdraw
millions, even billions from the exchequer to fund their tombs. These tombs were always magnificently deluxe and consisted of finest structures
of the period. These mausoleums were usually built against hills or mountains and facing plains. Most imperial mausoleums have broad ways
called Shenlu (the Sacred Way) at the entrance. Along both sides of the Shenlu, there are stone sculptures of men and animals which guard the
tombs. Other imperial structures were also built beside the tomb. Under huge hills of clay, splendid and superior structures were constructed
with fine facilities such as drainage systems.
During the long Chinese history, emperors of different dynasties kept building palaces. Since palaces are where emperors live and practice their
reign, palaces of different dynasties integrates essences of Chinese architecture. The famous palace complex, Efanggong built by and for Qin Shi
Huang Emperor. Can you imagine that its Front Palace, built more than 2,000 years ago, covered 80,000 square meters and could hold 10,000
people? The Weiyanggong of the Western Han Dynasty had more than 40 palaces within a periphery of 11 kilometers. The Forbidden City, also
called the Imperial Palace, which was set up under the reign of the Ming dynasty and still stands intact, covers an area of 720,000 square meters
and consists of more than 9900 palaces and other structures. It is the grandest and biggest palace in the world.

The Number "Nine" and Imperial architecture
Nine carried a special meaning in ancient China when it was deemed that odd numbers represent Yang while even numbers Yin. Since nine is
the largest odd number under ten, it was regarded the extremely lucky number. So, emperors liked to monopolize it to symbolize their superiority.
Designs related with nine appeared almost on every imperial structure such as palace. For example, on gates of the Forbidden City, there are 81
gold-plating bronze studs which were arranged in nine columns and nine rows. Ancient palaces usually were designed to be nine-section
architectural complex. Based on the same reason, number or size concerning imperial architecture often equals or multiples nine.

Dragon and Phoenix
Dragon and phoenix, called Long and Feng in Chinese respectively, are totems of Chinese people. They were used to represent emperors and
their consorts and were the main decorative patterns to be seen on various imperial structures. Palaces, columns, pathways and screen walls
were all inscribed or carved or painted with their images.



 
 


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