Hotels in China
Popular Places
Best of China
Special Interests
Food in China
Travel Tips
General Info
Weather Check
Currency Converter
Time Zone Converter
Language Translator
Stock Index
About Us
Contact Us
Join us
Reservation Terms
Site Map

Best of China
Architecture l Literature l The Arts | Sex Museum

From a generic village home to grand imperial palaces and temples, Chinese architecture has one underlying principle - a north-south oriented walled compound with the main entrance to the south called the siheyuan.

Courtyards were built with traditional concepts of the five elements that were believed to constitute the universe and the eight diagrams of divination in mind. The gate is placed at the southeast corner, which is the ‘wind’ corner, while the main building is placed to the north, which is associated with the ‘water’ element, an element that opposes fire. As always the underlying concepts of Yin and Yang, harmony and balance, and the feng shui principles of geomancy dominates all architectural activity hence the preference for concentric or symmetrical construction.

An interesting feature of Chinese architecture, particularly buildings of imperial nature, is the significance of the number nine. The ancient Chinese considered odd numbers masculine. As nine is the largest single digit number, it is considered categorically masculine. An excellent example of the architectural principles stated thus far can be seen in the city of Beijing itself.

The entire city of Beijing was designed with the north-south axis centered on the Imperial Palace, neatly dividing the city in half. Important structures and features were planned as mirror images of one another. The Ritan (Altar of the Sun) has a counterpart in Yuetan (Altar of the Moon). Xidan and Dongdan, the eastern and western commercial quarters that are still the capital’s main shopping streets, are also good examples of these principles. More specifically, the four towers at the corners of the palace compound in the Forbidden City have 9 beams and 18 columns each while the three famous screen walls each have nine dragons. An almost extreme example of this passion for nine is the Huanqintan (Circular Mound Altar) in the Temple of Heaven, which was a site for Ming and Qing emperors to worship Heaven. The altar is constructed in three tiers. The upper terrace is made up of nine concentric rings with the innermost ring consisting of nine fan-shaped slabs and each outer ring consisting of slabs in an increasing multiple of nine.

Top of Page



Home l Places of Interest l Outdoor Travel l Food in Asia l General Info l Entertainment
Shopping Asia l Special Attractions


Australia l Bali l Brunei l China l Hong Kong l Japan l Korea l Macau l Malaysia l Myanmar l New Zealand
Philippines l Singapore l Taiwan l Thailand

Copyright © by Hotnet Sdn.Bhd. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED
Copyright and Disclaimer l Privacy Policy