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Chinese Religious Architecture
China Religious Architecture
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China Information - Chinese Ancient Architecture
Religious Architecture

Buddhist Architecture

Chinese Buddhist architecture consists of temple, pagoda and grotto. Localization starts right after Buddhist architecture was introduced into
China with Buddhism during the Han dynasty, interpreting Chinese architectural aesthetics and culture.
Chinese Buddhist architecture follows symmetric style strictly. Usually main buildings will be set on the central axis, facing the south. Annexe
structures will be on the west and east flanks. Temple gate, Heavenly King Hall, the Main Hall and Sutra Library successively stands on the axis.
Dorm, kitchen, dinning hall, storehouse and antechamber usually cluster on the right side while left side remains for the visitors.
Pagoda is also the main integrating part of the Buddhist architecture, with varied styles and strong local flavours. Pagoda followed Buddhism into
China around the first century, and developed into pavilion-like pagoda on which one can view scenery after immediate combination with
traditional Chinese architecture.
Another Buddhist architecture is grotto complex which is caves hewn on cliff walls, usually huge projects and with exquisite engravings. It came
from India with Buddhism too and boomed during the Northern and Southern dynasty. The famous Mogao Caves, Yungang Grottoes and
Longmen Grottoes were all carved then.

Taoist Architecture
Taoist architecture includes various structures according to different functions, categorized as palace for oblation and sacrifice, altar for praying
and offering, cubby for religious service, residence for Taoist abbes and garden for visitors.
In the former style, traditional architectural layout, which is symmetric, will be applied. Main halls will be set up on the central axis, while other
religious structures on the two sides. Usually, on the northwest corner of the complex, Lucky Land to Meet God will be located. Annexes like dining
hall and accommodation will locate at the back or the flank of the complex.
The second is the Bagua style in which all structures surround the Danlu (stove to make pills of immortality) in the center according to Bagua's
position request. The center axis from the south to the north is very long and structures flank the axis. The style reflects Taoist philosophy that the
human cosmos follows the natural cosmos to integrate energy, qi and spirit.
Most Taoist architectures resort to nature topography to build towers, pavilions, lobbies and other garden structural units, decorated with murals,
sculptures and steles to entertain people, fully interpreting Taoist philosophy of nature.
Taoist architectural decoration reflects Taoist pursuit of luck and fulfillment, long lifespan, and eclosion into the fairyland. Taoist architectural
motifs are all meaningful. Celestial bodies mean brightness shining everywhere while landscape and rocks immortality. Folding fan, fish,
narcissus, bat and deer are used to imply beneficence, wealth, celestial being, fortune and official position, while pine and cypress stand for
affection, tortoise for longevity, crane for man of honor. There are many other symbols very traditional and Taoist decorations root deep in Chinese
folk residential houses

Chinese Temple
It is difficult to estimate how many temples there are throughout China. The word temple in English means: a building dedicated to religious
ceremonies or worship. So, it included all religious buildings which consisted of Buddhism, Taoism, Confucianism, Islam and other religions
into Chinese Temples to write this article.
Buddhism, Taoism and Confucianism are three main religions in China. Although they have never acquired such important roles to be
considered to dominate the political system in China's history as Christianity or Islam has done to some western countries. However, they do
have deep influence on the development of China's politics, philosophy, art and social cultures. Chinese temples, range
in size from back-alley Taoist hut to magnificent Tibetan Buddhist Drepung Monastery, the largest and richest monastery, which covers an area of
over 200 thousand square meters.


 
 


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