Imperial and Cosmic Order in Ming China I. Elements of the built environment in China: China as a long-lived culture; an architecture of continuity rather than rebirth 1. Structure : The gridded timber frame as the defining Chinese architectural technology. Chinese buildings divided into three horizontal elements: elevated base, post-and-lintel frame, and ‘floating’ roof. The jian (bay) as a structural and spatial planning system. Timbers used as structural members standardized in 8 grades based on the fen module, as classified in the Yingzao fashi (Building Standards ), published 1103. A building’s function and size determined the jian size and correct fen required for timber elements, resulting in the proper sizing of structural members. The dougong bracket as a ‘cushion’ between posts and roof, and as a decorative system. The relationship between vernacular and ‘high-style’ architecture: the master craftsman (rather than architect, as in the West) as the creative genius behind elaborations of the
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