Chinese Architecture and Metaphor

Chinese Architecture and Metaphor: Song Culture in the Yingzao Fashi Building Manual

Jiren Feng
https://www.jstor.org/stable/j.ctt6wqh5p
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    Chinese Architecture and Metaphor
    Book Description:

    Investigating the historical tradition of Chinese architectural writing from antiquity to the twelfth century,Architecture and Metaphorreveals significant and fascinating social and cultural phenomena in the most important primary text for the study of the Chinese building tradition. Unlike previous scholarship, which has reviewed this imperially commissioned architectural manual largely as a technical work, this volume considers the Yingzao Fashi's unique literary value and explores the rich cultural implications in and behind its technical content.Utilizing a philological approach, the author pays particular attention to the traditional and contemporary architectural terminology presented in theYingzao Fashi. In examining the semantic meaning of the architectural terms used in the manual, he uncovers a systematic architectural metaphor wherein bracketing elements are likened to flowers, flowering branches, and foliage: Thus pillars with bracketing above are compared to blossoming trees. More importantly, this intriguing imagery was shared by different social groups, in particular craftsmen and literati, and craftsmen themselves employed literary knowledge in naming architectural elements. Relating these phenomena to the unprecedented flourishing of literature, the literati's greater admiration of technical knowledge, and the higher intellectual capacity of craftsmen during the Song,Architecture and Metaphordemonstrates how the learned and "unlearned" cultures entangled in the construction of architectural knowledge in premodern China. It convincingly shows that technical language served as a faithful carrier of contemporary popular culture and aesthetic concepts.Architecture and Metaphordemonstrates a high level of engagement with a broad spectrum of sophisticated Chinese sources. It will become a classic work for all students and scholars of East Asian architecture.

    eISBN: 978-0-8248-6116-2
    Subjects: Architecture and Architectural History

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-vi)
  3. List of Illustrations
    (pp. vii-x)
  4. Acknowledgments
    (pp. xi-xiv)
  5. Introduction
    (pp. 1-13)

    When the Tang (618–907) scholar Li Hua 李華 (715–766) composed his poetic essay dedicated to the Enfolding-Vitality Hall (Hanyuandian 含元殿, built in 663), the most magnificent building in the imperial palace compound in Chang’an 長安 (modern Xi’an), he lent a special meaning to the construction of architecture. The hall was where the court handled state affairs and held grand ceremonies. While eulogizing the virtues and deeds of Emperor Gaozong (高宗 628–683, r. 649–683), the patron of the hall, Li Hua emphasized the importance of the “grand scope and magnitude” (宏模廓度) and “majestic structure” (壯麗棟宇)² for the...

  6. 1 The Historical Tradition of Writing on Architecture: From Antiquity to the Mid-Tenth Century
    (pp. 14-59)

    This is how Li Jie begins his preface to theYZFS, which served to present the work to the imperial court. He cites two of the most esteemed Confucian classics, which were attributed to kings and nobles of the Zhou (mid-eleventh century—256 B.C.E.), one of the most powerful dynasties in Chinese history. One of these writings was theYi易 (Changes), later known as theZhouyi周易 (Zhou’s [book of] changes) and theYijing易經 (Classic of changes). The second was theLi禮 (Rites), which refers to theZhouguan周官 (Government posts of the Zhou), later known...

  7. 2 From the Mujing to the Yingzao Fashi: The Rise of Building Manuals and the Construction of Architectural Knowledge
    (pp. 60-99)

    Writing a constructive, comprehensive architectural manual and setting a dynasty’s building standards, Li Jie was fully aware of the challenge of sufficient architectural knowledge. He stressed that possessing adequate knowledge of architecture was critical for accomplishing such a task. Indeed, although official rules for construction pertinent to social classification had been promulgated in Tang times, technical architectural knowledge had never been summarized in writing before the tenth century.

    Traditionally, practical building knowledge was transmitted from teacher to disciple orally, often secretly, and this secrecy partly created a diversity of technical methods in use by different groups of craftsmen and in...

  8. 3 The Yingzao Fashi: The Making of Widespread Legitimated Building Knowledge
    (pp. 100-137)

    For his compilation of theYZFS, Li Jie took advantage of two kinds of resources, classics, histories, and other texts on architectural traditions, and oral accounts from architectural professionals working under his supervision. This tells us how such a masterpiece of architectural writings could be produced by Li Jie. In addition to his post in the Directorate of Construction (Jiangzuojian 將作監), Li was a painter, calligrapher, scholar, and writer of many works on subjects including geography, history, philology, horses, and gabling.² Relying both on his scholarly attainments and on his professional expertise in construction and experience in supervising imperial building...

  9. 4 The Yingzao Fashi Architectural Terminology (I) — Bracketing Likened to Flowers, Branches, and Foliage: Architectural Metaphors and Conceptualization in Tenth to Twelfth Century China
    (pp. 138-180)

    The state building standards that Li Jie claims as legitimate in theYZFSinclude comprehensive construction methods and numerous architectural terms. No matter how “technical” these contents may be perceived, they must have contained culture-bound elements given the fact that most of these technical methods and terminology had their roots in the actual practices of Song craftsmanship. Specific professional and intellectual settings, social customs related to the building profession, and popular architectural conceptualizations must have been involved in the creation and transmission of these methods and terms. These social and cultural factors must have been retained in the technical methods...

  10. 5 The Yingzao Fashi Architectural Terminology (II): The Interplay of Literature, Arts, and Craftsmanship
    (pp. 181-212)

    It is important to note that the architectural metaphorical system for bracketing in theYZFS—likening it to flowers and flowering trees—was well documented in contemporary literary texts and that the architectural conceptualization associated with it was shared by craftsmen and literati in China from the tenth to twelfth centuries. Our concern here is how craftsmen and scholars reached such an identical perception of particular architectural structures. Was there an interaction between professionals and the literati in the domain of architecture? Did these two social groups share architectural knowledge or vocabulary as well? Did they cooperate in the making...

  11. Conclusion
    (pp. 213-214)

    The powerful metaphorical system formed by the bracketing terminology in theYZFS—bracket sets likened to clusters of flowers and bracket elements likened to flowers, petals, branches, and leaves—and the marks that literature and the arts left on both bracketing terms and other architectural names indicate just a few of the many aspects of how Song architectural methods and technical features recorded in theYZFSwere connected with contemporary literature and culture. These aspects reflect the engagement of learned and “unlearned” culture in Song times, suggesting an interplay of the two social groups—learned society and architectural professionals—in...

  12. Appendix 1. Previous Scholarship on the YZFS
    (pp. 215-219)
  13. Appendix 2. ARCHITECTURAL TYPES GLOSSED IN THE ERYA AND IN THE SHIMING
    (pp. 220-221)
  14. Appendix 3. STRUCTURAL ELEMENTS GLOSSED IN THE ERYA AND IN THE SHIMING
    (pp. 222-222)
  15. Appendix 4. ENTRIES ON ARCHITECTURE IN THE TAIPING YULAN
    (pp. 223-224)
  16. Appendix 5. QUOTATIONS OF CLASSICAL TEXTS FOR GONG IN THE ERYA SHU, THE YZFS, AND THE TAIPING YULAN
    (pp. 225-226)
  17. Appendix 6. ARCHITECTURAL TERMS IN THE TERMINOLOGY SECTION OF THE YZFS AS COMPARED WITH THE TAIPING YULAN AND THE YIWEN LEIJU
    (pp. 227-229)
  18. Appendix 7. CLASSICS AND HISTORICAL SOURCES CITED IN THE YZFS
    (pp. 230-238)
  19. Notes
    (pp. 239-278)
  20. Bibliography
    (pp. 279-296)
  21. Index
    (pp. 297-304)
  22. About the Author
    (pp. 305-306)
  23. Back Matter
    (pp. 307-307)