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Ancient building knowledge

Several important modeling approach of timber structure

AddDate:2015/3/14

Modeling approaches of Chinese timber construction include jvzhe (fold line on roof truss), angle tilt, Cejiao (make corner post tilt), Shengqi (raise the eave column), etc. Various roof forms have appeared after applying these fantastic, exquisite, and changeable shapes.

In the period of Wei, Jin, Southern and Northern Dynasties (200AD-600AD), which is also China’s era of the great schism, there appears the first ethnic fusion. Feudal rulers of Han nationality and minorities fight against each other for their own interests, resulting in endless wars and social unrest. In such situation, there’s no security at all for the laboring people who have no other choice but to look for comfort from Buddhism. Therefore, this religion prevails rapidly in the society. The ruling class begins to build numerous temples, pagodas, grottos and other constructions, which have made a great contribution to the economy of the temple. The large quantity of Buddhist art work has facilitated the literature and art to gain unprecedented liberation. In a word, this is the period when construction technology and art gain great development. The architecture decoration, on the basis of inheriting former generation, has absorbed the various vivid “Greece Buddhist” carving, decoration, flower and grass, birds and beasts and figure performance in the aspect of craft, making great innovation to Han’s style and enriching the image of Chinese architecture.


The construction art and technology of this period, on the previous basis, have gained further development. Storied-building in timber structure is quite common at that time and most of them are in square shape. In the aspect of bracket set, people usually put an arch on the architrave, and there’s entasis at the end of the arch. The elegant and crooked herringbone arch, which has changed previous stiffness and straightness, is paved on the top of the column. Then in the respect of roof, there occurs new style in the Eastern Jin Dynasty. When observing its fresco, you will find that the room corner has tilted, and there’s also fold line of the roof truss, all of which have made the huge roof looks much lighter and lively. For instance, in Dunhuang frescoes, constructions in Northern Wei Dynasty (368-534) are usually the high buildings whose childish roof curve and decoration part have embodied the construction style at that time.


Later, with the development of timber construction, there occur other modeling approaches such as Cejiao, Shengqi, etc. They match stone construction component, forming Chinese unique roof forms such as protruding eave, flying eave, gable and hip roof, overhanging gable roof, flush gable roof, dual slope roof, pavilion roof and various decorations on the roof vertical ridges (such as Chui Beast, Qiang Beast, Wenzuo, Bei Beast, Hejiao Wen, etc. ).