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Thread: The most monumental architecture of Imperial China is actually Sino-Tibetan - Putuo Zongcheng Temple

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    Default The most monumental architecture of Imperial China is actually Sino-Tibetan - Putuo Zongcheng Temple

    Throughout Chinese history, enormous royal palaces were built for the emperors, their families, concubines, and entourage that survive today only as the rammed-earth base that supported elaborate timber halls (the oldest surviving wooden building in China is an 8th-century Buddhist temple hall of the Tang Dynasty). Rammed earth sections of the Great Wall, complete with ruined towers dotting the northern landscape to this day, date back to the Han Dynasty (202 BC - 220 AD). Likewise, the oldest surviving stone structures date back to the Han Dynasty (i.e. the monumental pillar gates outside tombs and shrines that mimic timber architectural styles, even having stone-carved representations of ceramic tiles). Archways, vaulted roofs, and domes built with bricks were restricted to tomb architecture during the Han period. Although monumental wooden Buddhist pagodas preceded them (as is known by written accounts), permanent stone and brick pagoda towers were first built during the Southern and Northern Dynasties, beginning with the Songyue Pagoda built in 523 AD by the Northern Wei in what is now Henan province.

    Buddhist pagoda towers and imperial palaces - like Beijing's Forbidden City dating to the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644) - are usually thought of as the grandest and most monumental forms of Chinese architecture aside from stone arch bridges like Anji Bridge or the Great Wall of China. There is also monumental statuary; the largest stone-carved Buddha in the world is still the Leshan Giant Buddha found in modern Sichuan province, constructed from 713 to 803 AD during the Tang Dynasty and soaring to a height of 71 meters (233 ft). However, in my humble opinion, the greatest architectural feat achieved by Imperial China was a unique fusion of Chinese and Tibetan architectural styles during China's last imperial dynasty, the Qing (1644-1912).

    I give you the Putuo Zongcheng Temple of what is now modern Chengde, Hebei province, constructed from 1760 to 1771 during the Qianlong Emperor's reign. It was modeled after the Potala Palace of Tibet (historical home of the Dalai Lama), although it contains many distinct Chinese architectural features such as an ascending succession of gatehouses that mirror the layout of Chinese imperial palaces. The final main structure looks very much like the Potala Palace, although it is crowned with Chinese-style Buddhist halls and pavilions.



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    The Qianlong Emperor had a number of Buddhist temples throughout China built in this particular Sino-Tibetan style, although I've never come across one that is so massive as this. It has to be the most impressive Chinese temple complex I've ever seen, and simply rivals the grandeur of even the Forbidden City. Perhaps it speaks to the Manchu rulers' close relationship with the Tibetan lamas and their brand of Buddhism, which was already accepted wholesale by the nomadic Mongol tribes that surrounded Qing China.

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    Default Re: The most monumental architecture of Imperial China is actually Sino-Tibetan - Putuo Zongcheng Temple

    Another good example of the fusion of classical Chinese and Tibetan architectural styles is the Puning Temple, another Buddhist temple complex of Chengde built earlier in Qianlong's reign, construction completed in 1755. It is modeled directly after the ancient Samye Monastery of Tibet. Inside the main hall stands the tallest wooden-carved statue of a Bodhisattva.




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    Default Re: The most monumental architecture of Imperial China is actually Sino-Tibetan - Putuo Zongcheng Temple

    We have a similar temple, actually they call it a stupa I believe, in Niagara Falls. I went in there and it's really neat. I had no idea that this was made with Tibetan influence and Tibetan styles though.

    "Famous general without peer in any age, most superior in valor and inspired by the Way of Heaven; since the provinces are now subject to your will it is certain that you will increasingly mount in victory." - Ōgimachi-tennō

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    Default Re: The most monumental architecture of Imperial China is actually Sino-Tibetan - Putuo Zongcheng Temple




    This is the place!

    "Famous general without peer in any age, most superior in valor and inspired by the Way of Heaven; since the provinces are now subject to your will it is certain that you will increasingly mount in victory." - Ōgimachi-tennō

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    Default Re: The most monumental architecture of Imperial China is actually Sino-Tibetan - Putuo Zongcheng Temple

    Hah! Would you look at that; they do look very much alike in their layered cake fashion. I'd say the major differences are the sides of each. Notice how the Puning Temple's hall has those white trapezoid-shaped windows against a solid red wall? That's the part of the structure that's most heavily Tibetan influenced.

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    Default Re: The most monumental architecture of Imperial China is actually Sino-Tibetan - Putuo Zongcheng Temple

    Quote Originally Posted by Lord Oda Nobunaga View Post
    We have a similar temple, actually they call it a stupa I believe, in Niagara Falls. I went in there and it's really neat. I had no idea that this was made with Tibetan influence and Tibetan styles though.
    ?

    Stupa is primarily Dome-Shaped, and originated in India.

    Y'know what, PRC should support more Tibetan-inspired architecture...to prove that Tibet was, and and now, part of China. Some kind of statement of multiculturalism to undermine some of Free Tibetan arguments...

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    Default The most monumental architecture of Imperial China is actually Sino-Tibetan -...

    Beautiful pics. Is it just me or is there some Persian influence in Oda's first pic?

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    Default Re: The most monumental architecture of Imperial China is actually Sino-Tibetan - Putuo Zongcheng Temple

    Quote Originally Posted by weirdoascensor View Post
    ?

    Stupa is primarily Dome-Shaped, and originated in India.

    Y'know what, PRC should support more Tibetan-inspired architecture...to prove that Tibet was, and and now, part of China. Some kind of statement of multiculturalism to undermine some of Free Tibetan arguments...
    It honestly wouldn't surprise me if the PRC already made that argument.

    The Tibetans were at times a fierce enemy of the Tang Dynasty, but more or less held cordial trade and tribute relations with the later Song Dynasty. The Mongol Yuan Dynasty controlled Tibet and sponsored Tibetan Buddhism. Following that, it's unclear just how much influence the Ming Dynasty had over Tibet, considering how at various times they sponsored Tibetan lamas and bestowed official titles onto them but other times ignored them or didn't bother to interfere in Tibetan affairs at all. On the other hand, the Manchu Qing Dynasty eventually ruled over Tibet without question. You could say the strong historical ties between China and Tibet really began with the Qing, as evidenced here with the promotion of Sino-Tibetan architecture in the heart of China.

    I'm waiting for the day the PRC's government establishes a rival Dalai Lama at the Potala Palace in Tibet, sort of a modern antipope to the current Dalai Lama while being beholden to China.

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    Default Re: The most monumental architecture of Imperial China is actually Sino-Tibetan - Putuo Zongcheng Temple

    No idea about the stupa thing man, it just looked similar to me so I posted it.

    "Famous general without peer in any age, most superior in valor and inspired by the Way of Heaven; since the provinces are now subject to your will it is certain that you will increasingly mount in victory." - Ōgimachi-tennō

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    Default Re: The most monumental architecture of Imperial China is actually Sino-Tibetan - Putuo Zongcheng Temple

    Quote Originally Posted by Roma_Victrix View Post
    I'm waiting for the day the PRC's government establishes a rival Dalai Lama at the Potala Palace in Tibet, sort of a modern antipope to the current Dalai Lama while being beholden to China.
    This will happen in the eve of Tenzin Gyatso's death: The Chinese and Indian Dalai Lama...Well, he seems like someone who will have a long life...

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    Default Re: The most monumental architecture of Imperial China is actually Sino-Tibetan - Putuo Zongcheng Temple

    Quote Originally Posted by weirdoascensor View Post
    This will happen in the eve of Tenzin Gyatso's death: The Chinese and Indian Dalai Lama...Well, he seems like someone who will have a long life...
    Well, already you can see the Chinese state's interference in this religious affair, by ignoring the Dalai Lama's pick for the Panchen Lama of Tibetan Buddhism - Gedhun Choekyi Nyima - in favor of their own candidate - Gyaincain Norbu. A fascinating development, really, but very much in line with the PRC's policies of interjecting itself into other religious affairs like the appointment of Catholic bishops in China by the Chinese Communist Party instead of by the Holy See in the Vatican.

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    Default Re: The most monumental architecture of Imperial China is actually Sino-Tibetan - Putuo Zongcheng Temple

    Chengde is basically the epicenter for this fusion of Tibetan and Chinese styles of architecture. Shortly after the Putuo Zongcheng Temple was completed, in 1780 the smaller but no less majestic looking Xumi Fushou Temple was opened to celebrate the 70th birthday of the Qianlong Emperor and the stately visit of the 6th Panchen Lama of Tibetan Buddhism. Unlike the Putuo Zongcheng Temple complex, this one features a typical Chinese pagoda tower.


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    Default Re: The most monumental architecture of Imperial China is actually Sino-Tibetan - Putuo Zongcheng Temple

    Here's another temple of the mid-Qing era with a rather unique looking architectural design. It's the Five Pagoda Temple (Hohhot) of Inner Mongolia, constructed from 1727 to 1732. The facade of the temple is littered with carvings of the Buddha, one thousand five hundred and sixty three to be exact.



    The five pagodas crowing the top remind me of a group of miniature pagodas I've seen dated to the much earlier Tang Dynasty. The Tang also produced its fair share of tall pagoda towers that still stand today.

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    Default Re: The most monumental architecture of Imperial China is actually Sino-Tibetan - Putuo Zongcheng Temple

    Qianlong Emperor is a Manchurian barbarian, and his style clearly cannot be said as Chinese since he is not Chinese.
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    Default Re: The most monumental architecture of Imperial China is actually Sino-Tibetan - Putuo Zongcheng Temple

    Quote Originally Posted by hellheaven1987 View Post
    Qianlong Emperor is a Manchurian barbarian, and his style clearly cannot be said as Chinese since he is not Chinese.
    Those are some strong words there, hellheaven1987.

    So basically you're saying that, if China were ruled by Han people instead of Manchus during the Qing period, they wouldn't bother to fuse Tibetan and Chinese architectural styles together? Even the previous Ming rulers were advocates and sponsors of Tibetan Buddhism at certain points during their dynasty. The Qing emperors also welcomed European-style architecture in China when they had the Old Summer Palace of Beijing built and expanded.

    I've heard this sentiment echoed from a lot of Han Chinese nationalists, who look back at the Qing Dynasty with derision and scorn (especially for forcing Han men to wear the Manchu shaved-and-braided "queue" hairstyle instead of the classical flowing/bun hair). However, you don't see those same nationalists calling for China to give up Manchuria. In that same token, you don't see them advocating for Tibet's independence. China has wisely and shrewdly acknowledged official ethnic groups that historically "belong" to China aside from the majority ethnic Han people.

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    Default Re: The most monumental architecture of Imperial China is actually Sino-Tibetan - Putuo Zongcheng Temple

    Chineseness evolves, driven by prevailing political necessities.

    I don't study Chinese architecture, but I believe that there is a preference for stylization and decoration, rather than leaving a large area blank.
    Eats, shoots, and leaves.

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    Default Re: The most monumental architecture of Imperial China is actually Sino-Tibetan - Putuo Zongcheng Temple

    Quote Originally Posted by Roma_Victrix View Post
    I've heard this sentiment echoed from a lot of Han Chinese nationalists, who look back at the Qing Dynasty with derision and scorn (especially for forcing Han men to wear the Manchu shaved-and-braided "queue" hairstyle instead of the classical flowing/bun hair). However, you don't see those same nationalists calling for China to give up Manchuria. In that same token, you don't see them advocating for Tibet's independence. China has wisely and shrewdly acknowledged official ethnic groups that historically "belong" to China aside from the majority ethnic Han people.
    Of course they don't, just same as why Americans do not try to tell Native Americans "hey let me return your old land to you"; in the world of capitalism what people care is result, regardless what shameless and disgusting methods to reach that result. It was on this logic that Chinese Revolutionists adopted the idea that "barbarians" were part of Chinese culture and hence the new Republic was justified to rule their land, despite all those talk of "purging Manchurian barbarian and chase them back to Manchuria" goal during Chinese Revolution.

    That is why, China is not much different than US, and both are not much different than any empire in the past; it is a shame that people of antiquity acutally were much more interesting and exciting regarding their political innovation than anyone after Jesus Christ borned, make you wondering what happen to humanity.
    Last edited by hellheaven1987; January 27, 2014 at 07:03 AM.
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    Hellheaven, sometimes you remind me of King Canute trying to hold back the tide, except without the winning parable.
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