Architecture of Fear: Zaojing in Traditional Chinese Buildings

As a specially constructed coffered ceiling, zaojing was widely adapted in the great halls in imperial China. According to the sumptuary laws from the imperial period, zaojing is only allowed to be used in the imperial palaces and religious places. Zao literally means algae, referring to aquatic plants, while jing literally means water well. Often decorated with hydrophyte plants and painted in bluish and greenish colors, zaojing exhibits a water theme of sea or river to metaphorically protect the wooden structure from the fire. This research selects the zaojing in the great hall of Baoguo Temple (built in 1013) as a case study and surveys the literature regarding zaojing from the Han dynasty to the Song dynasty, trying to identify the origin of zaojing that was derived from the constellation in charge of water. This reflects a cosmos belief that heavenly order would blessing social life. Considering the modern architecture preservation, it is also driven by fear that is assuaged by employing courting-edge technology to prevent historic structure from collapsing. However the pre-modern effort in dealing with the fear was moral-aesthetic. It reveals that the authenticity of great Chinese architecture lies in its capability to establish a delicate equilibrium between heaven, earth and human beings.

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Author Information
Jing Xie, University of Nottingham Ningbo China, China

Paper Information Conference: CITY2018
Stream: Geography and Landscape/Urban Planning, Architecture and Design

Added on Tuesday, August 28th, 2018
The full paper is not available for this title

Posted by amp21