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Chinese Architecture: A Pictorial History (Dover Architecture) Paperback – March 24, 2005

ISBN-13: 978-0486439990 ISBN-10: 0486439992

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Product Details

  • Series: Dover Architecture
  • Paperback: 232 pages
  • Publisher: Dover Publications (March 24, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0486439992
  • ISBN-13: 978-0486439990
  • Product Dimensions: 9.9 x 10.7 x 0.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.6 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,132,769 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

4.2 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

28 of 30 people found the following review helpful By Michael R. Gallagher on October 17, 2007
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
A large amount of scholarship, care and skill were put into writing this book. The detailed drawings reveal the structure of Chinese architecture (religious and monumental architecture, not commercial or domestic). The drawings are worth the price of the book, while the writing gets a bit boring. But, and this would entail changing the author's book drastically, it needs updating or overhauling--since the book was written 60-70 years ago (with a modern day foreward). It needs to go from Wade-Giles into the pinyin romanization of Chinese characters, and also needs a map or two highlighting where the structures are in China. A better book would be one that keeps his drawings, but uses his writing as source materials and then rewrites it to put things into a better context and flow.
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32 of 35 people found the following review helpful By Yvonne Y. Cao on April 6, 2005
Format: Paperback
Liang Sicheng is among one of the most outstanding Chinese scholars that I admire and respect deeply. As a young man,the beauty of Chinese architecture inspired him to be the first person who studied traditional Chinese architecture scientifically with western methods.After Liang graduated from U.Penn., he moved to Harvard and registered under Graduate School of Art& Science, where he chose the subject "Chinses Architecture". Because there had almost no references in the area, he promised his professor that he will back to China to collect first hand data, and than back to US to finish his study.

The rest of his story is unbelievably dramatic.( You can find more details in <<Liang and Lin>> by Wilma Fairbank)

I am very glad for the reprint of this cheaper edition, this is the book that every historian of Chinese architecture should have.Highly recommended to Chinese historians as well as architecture lover.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on December 7, 2010
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This book has amazing details - if all you want is temples, monuments and some bridges. There isn't a single depiction of living quarters in this book - not even for the Imperial Palace. The closest thing was a picture of a funerary clay house model used to make comments on roof brackets.

Don't get me wrong, this book is still amazing! It has a ton of information, and is a very detailed read. It just wasn't what I was looking for. I'd been hoping for some historical housing, or a more detailed look at the Forbidden City. If the table of contents for this book had been available for me to look at, I probably would not have gotten this book right now. I'm going to keep it for the amazing details, just a little disappointed that it wasn't what I was expecting. To me, to say a book is about the historical architecture of a people, it should contain more than just grandiose monuments but also have more general use architecture.

So to sum up - it's a great book if you're looking for structural details such as pillar placement, proportions, and the elaborate roofing system used in historic China. But there isn't much on the interiors of buildings, unless you plan to house Buddhist statuary.
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