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Title: The classical architectures of ancient Greece and traditional China : a comparative study of the Parthenon and the Taihe Dian
Author: Chen, Ke-Shi
Awarding Body: University of Edinburgh
Current Institution: University of Edinburgh
Date of Award: 1994
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A comparison is made of two types of classical architecture, Classical Western Architecture (CWA) and Classical Chinese Architecture (CCA). Two major buildings, the Parthenon (built 447 - 432 BC) on the Acropolis at Athens and the Taihe Dian in the Forbidden City (built 1407 - 1421) at Beijing are used as examplars. The study reveals many similarities in the development and treatment of the two types of classical architecture, in spite of the very different cultural worlds from which they emerged. After examining the major characteristics of the two examples, the enquiry concentrates on the question of the origins and meanings of architectural treatment in both CWA and CCA, through a detailed study of the Parthenon and the Taihe Dian. It is argued that the treatment of space, form and decoration in both buildings has its origins in cosmic symbolism; that the notion of a Centre is expressed by their high and central location, axial symmetry, and centripetal theme; that the notion of a Sacred Space is expressed by an enclosed and ordered space; that qualities attributed to the dedicatee (Athena in the Parthenon and the Chinese emperor in the Taihe Dian) are expressed by the exterior form of the buildings; and that the inclinations, curvatures and proportions in the treatment of the exterior form have to do with the expression of the certain qualities represented by the dedicatee, as do their refinements. Finally that myths, legends, sacrifies and ceremonial processions illustrated by the static decoration, architectural sculptures, reliefs, paintings and ornaments are examined. Through comparisons between the two examples, an exploration is made of why and how such remarkable spaces, forms and decorations were created in both CWA and CCA.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available