’s Effect On Chinese Architect- Essay, Research Paper
Throughout history, Chinese architects have incorporated the Taoist concept of feng shui into the structures they are building. Taoism, which was formed in China’s classical period, is based on the philosophies and teachings of Lao-tzu. An integral part of Taoism is feng shui, which is translated as “wind and water.” The concept of creating harmony between man and nature is a concept that has been around for thousands of years, and it has gained popularity. By following the rules of feng shui, one is able to maintain a high level of positive energy. This energy, which can promote health, prosperity and happiness, is known as ‘chi’. Though feng shui comes in many forms, the concept of it still expresses the same message of togetherness between man and nature. In the construction of the Great Wall of China, The Temple of Prayer for Good Harvests and typical Chinese homes, feng shui had an important place in China.
Feng shui shows it’s face in “The Hall of Prayer for Good Harvests”, which is more commonly but inaccurately called the “Temple of Heaven”. This temple, second in importance to the Forbidden City, is the most amazing and extraordinary monument in Beijing. The temple’s intricate interior structure is made entirely of wood. In relation to feng shui, the wood provides a natural and environmental atmosphere. In the temple stand four great columns, each distinguishing a season, which enhances the feeling of being surrounded by nature. The temple is fully enhanced with feng shui, pertaining to nature.
Located at the top of “The Hall of Prayer for Good Harvest’s” simply cylinder-shaped structure’s interior is the Imperial Heavenly Vault, rising on a marble terrace and sealed by a single roof consisting of blue tiles. According to the theories of feng shui, blue
represents knowledge, which is an honorable trait desired by many. However, in this case, the blue color has almost a universal association with the sky and heavens. It is there so the visitors of this great temple will have the sensation that the heavens are looking down upon them.
To the north and northwest of Beijing, a huge, serrated wall cuts its way to the east and west along the undulating mountains. This wall, known as The Great Wall of China, was originally two separate walls. It began to be constructed in the 7th century BC to separate China from her nearby neighbors, the Mongolian tribes. It was then later joined to form one wall in 221 BC, under the instruction of Qin Shi Huang. As a great monument of Chinese history, The Great Wall of China was influenced by the basics of feng shui. People can walk upon this large, artistically beautiful structure and enjoy the serenity and peacefulness surrounding them in all aspects. The Great Wall stands 25 feet high on average, and is nearly 4,000 miles long, made entirely of stone blocks. These stone blocks make the wall a completely natural piece of architecture, as well as art.
In the center of the philosophy and practice of feng shui, is the belief that the land is very much alive and filled with energy. According to the contours and shapes of the mountains and water, the best energy locations complete with positive feng shui, can be found. The Great Wall of China displays a great grace to the surrounding hillsides. The wall shows great beauty and connection with the earth it lies upon. The energy level of feng shui is incredibly great, due to its connection with its surrounding nature. The shape of an object, in this case a
wall, also affects its energy level. Round shapes are considered to have good fortune, while sharper shapes are considered unlucky. As The Great Wall of China winds around the endless hills of the Mongolian border, it leaves a smooth, round twisting pattern. Due to its strong relation with nature, The Great Wall of China becomes one of the greatest examples of China’s desire to achieve great harmony between man and the natural earth.
In recent years in China, feng shui principles have been applied to enhance urban and interior spaces. No major building project, in cities like Hong Kong or Taipei, would be undertaken without some thought of the feng shui of the site and building. One of the first steps in building a home with a good energy source, is finding a good location. When a structure is surrounded by smooth, round shapes, the energy brought is beneficial. Thus, a structure across from irregularly shaped structure, such as a craggy mountain, will have a negative energy flow, where bad luck is more likely to occur. A site that is said to be protected is one where the ground in front of it is lower than that of behind it. Therefore, if one’s home has a lower ground level in the front, the inhabitants of that home will have better ‘chi’. Though location and shapes are a vital aspect in constructing a home under the influence of feng shui, color is just as important.
In the practice of feng shui, the philosophy of color is an important consideration when painting the interior of a home. Color has a great impact on each individual’s c’hi. Each type of room in a house has a certain beneficial color; a color that will bring good fortune and will be compatible with the room’s natural element. These elements are fire, water, earth, wood and metal. According to the Five-Element Destructive Cycle, elements are supposed to destroy each other, continuously completing a cycle. In a home, each room needs to have a color that represents the “appropriate” element needed to complete the cycle. In a kitchen, white is the most beneficial color. Besides being the color of purity, the color white-the color of metal-is compatible with the kitchen’s basic element, fire. The element of fire overcomes metal. Therefore, a kitchen should not be painted black, since black is the water element color and will destroy fire. As for the exterior of a home, the same Five-Element Destruction Cycle needs to be considered. If a one owns a home with a red brick driveway-the color of fire- the walls should be painted beige to represent the earth element .
The proportions of a home affect its feng shui as well. A house with unaligned doors and narrow halls will probably have bad feng shui. Even when one is completing work at his desk, the impact of feng shui is still there. The desk must face a window in order for the inhabitant to have a good fortune. When a household follows these rules and aspects of feng shui, their home will have a high-energy force and their lives will be joyous and meaningful. These ideas of feng shui have created hope and security for the Chinese individual.
Over the past thousands of years, Chinese architecture has revolved around feng shui. By creating and decorating a home to fit the ways of feng shui, a person is reassured at least a mediocre life. While the feng shui theories were created in ancient Chinese philosophy, the principals of c’hi are universal. Because of it’s success in China, the theories of feng shui have been shared with the outside world and will hopefully be incorporated as a major part in our lives one day, as it is in China’s. The system from China’s distant past can be an effective tool for design and decoration in the modern world.