Chinese Spatial Strategies: Imperial Beijing

Chinese Spatial Strategies: Imperial Beijing


By (author) Jianfei Zhu

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  • Publisher: RoutledgeCurzon
  • Format: Hardback | 296 pages
  • Dimensions: 156mm x 234mm x 19mm | 612g
  • Publication date: 1 January 2004
  • Publication City/Country: London
  • ISBN 10: 0415318831
  • ISBN 13: 9780415318839
  • Illustrations note: 40 line figures, 14 tables

Product description

How do the Chinese design a space? What are the similarities and differences between spaces designed for palaces and cities? How were the extension of the Great Wall, the reopening of the Grand Canal and the building of Beijing interrelated? By closely examining the buildings of Imperial Beijing (1420-1911) this book seeks to answer these questions by exploring whether there is a generic approach to spatial disposition in the Chinese tradition. Chinese Spatial Strategies considers spatial design on many levels and in different aspects, including the geo-political design of a map of Asia; the layout of the city as a representation of imperial ideology; the city as a social realm of interrelations between the central authority and local urban society; the Forbidden City as an apparatus of power; a comparison between European visual compositions and the aesthetic composition of Beijing. Drawing upon recent work in social theory, the author provides a spatial and political anlysis of the Forbidden City and a realistic, analytical and critical account of Imperial Beijing. This book challenges the convention of formal descriptions of Chinese cities and will appeal to all those with an interest in Chinese buildings and architecture.

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Table of contents

List of figures Acknowledgements Introduction: Beijing as a Critical Problem In Search of a Chinese Space Outline of the Research and the Argument A Note on Method 1. A Geo-Political Project 2. City Plan as Ideology A Classical Tradition Neo-Confucianism 3. Social Space of the City A City of Cities Space of the State Space of Society Concluding Notes 1: Architecture of the City and the Land 4. A Sea of Walls: The Purple Forbidden Palace 5. The Palace: Framing a Political Landscape The Inner Court as a Corporeal Space The Outer Court as an Institutional Space A Composition of Forces 6. The Palace: a Battlefield Flows of Reports and Directives Defence Recurring Crises 7. Constructs of Authority Legalism and The Art of War Vis-a-vis the Panopticon: Two Ages of Reason Concluding Notes 2: Architecture as a Machine of the State 8. A Religious Discourse Composing and Building the Discourse Performing an Ideology 9. Formal Compositions: Visual and Existential Beijing as a Scroll Vis-a-vis 'Cartesian Perspectivalism': Two Ways of Seeing Concluding Notes 3: Architecture of Horizon Appendix: dynasties, reigns and emperors Notes Bibliography Index