Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item: https://scholarbank.nus.edu.sg/handle/10635/223684
Title: MING-QING BEIJING: A CITY OF WALLED ENCLOSURES
Authors: NEO AI BENG
Keywords: Architecture
Master (Architecture)
2003/2004 AkiD MArch
Li Shiqiao
Dissertation (Architecture)
Issue Date: 20-Sep-2017
Citation: NEO AI BENG (2017-09-20). MING-QING BEIJING: A CITY OF WALLED ENCLOSURES. ScholarBank@NUS Repository.
Abstract: The traditional Chinese cityscape was dominated by layers of walled enclosures. The walls and the spaces enclosed by them made up a fundamental concept in the Chinese spatial sense which was reflected in the city planning traditions and organization of the living spaces of the traditional Chinese. This was best reflected in the planning of the city of Beijing, the capital city during the Ming and Qing dynasties. The planning of the imperial Chinese city form and layout could be traced back to a set of abstract principles from the ancient text of Kaogong ji. This model of an ideal city, derived from ancient cosmology, came closest in the plan of Yuan dynasty Dadu, which was the precedent of the Beijing city of Ming and Qing dynasties. While traditional studies on Chinese urban history generally focused on the city as a cosmological symbol of ancient origins, the discussion of social thought influenced by Confucian ideology was equally important. Confucianism has been the dominant thought system which has affected all aspects of Chinese life for more than two thousand years. The Confucian doctrine of li, which stressed ritual proprieties, was an important concept in the understanding of the values of the traditional Chinese and the way they planned their living spaces within the siheyuan (courtyard house). Li was also the main instrument behind the running of the imperial government as the court rituals were emphasized as an essential procedure in order to obtain harmony in the sacred land. Ritual also ties in with the Confucian ideology of power as the Chinese emperor was given conditional rather than absolute power as he ruled the land with the Heaven’s Mandate. Hence the spaces enclosed by the walls were attached with meanings influenced by these planning principles and belief systems. This resulted in a series of walled enclosures arranged in a hierarchical order which reflected the values of the traditional Chinese in a society so deeply entrenched by Confucian ideals.
URI: https://scholarbank.nus.edu.sg/handle/10635/223684
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