Traditional Architecture in China. Almut E. I. Bettels, Yuxiang Li.

Traditional Architecture in China

Bern: Benteli Verlag, 2002. Hardcover. 9.2 x 15", 240 pp., 192 illustrations in duo-tone and 26 full color, text in English and German, cloth, d.j., Item #83
ISBN: 0Hardcover

This volume looks in fascinating detail at the buildings that have evolved over the centuries in China. The publication provides remarkable insights into the way in which building responds to regional conditions, but not just in geographical terms: it also addresses the philosophical and spiritual factors that lie behind the positioning, design and decoration of the buildings. The ideas of fengshui are stripped of the trivial patina they have accrued in Western magazine culture and are shown to stem from deep conviction and powerful tradition.

Dragons, lions, and mythological creatures fulfill decorative functions, but the author also shows why they are placed as they are and how they can be read to reveal details of the lives and status of people who designed and lived in these buildings. The publication also looks at construction techniques, relating them to the different regions and the various needs of the local populations, as well as to the skills and materials available at any particular time. The photographs, taken as part of a survey of historical Chinese architecture conducted to raise awareness of the cultural heritage and for conservation purposes, are in joy in their own right, but also elegantly reinforce the information given in the text.

Price: $65.00