By Weidu Ma (auth.)
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Extra info for Classical Chinese Doors & Windows
The Structural Regulations, which was published by the Board of Works of the Qing dynasty in the 12th year of the Yongzheng reign (1734), reflects the principle of the hierarchy i technology when it sets out official specifications for constructions. Due to the rigid hierarchical system in construction, buildings, whether official buildings or private residences, enhanced their decoration to the maximum level permitted. Imperial constructions were magnificent and sumptuous, and everything from patterns to colours showed a majestic air; while the private residences of common people were plain yet exquisite, with vivid and refined carvings in doors and windows, which expressed a confidence and pleasure in life.
During Han times, paper was not used to cover windows. Although papermaking was invented in the Western Han (206BC-25AD), it was not until hundreds of years later that paper was installed in windows. Historic Records of Later Han (Houhanshu ), Biography of Liang Ji describes: "All the windows are covered with qi and green suo" Qi is a kind of fabric that can ward off wind and allow light to enter. Great progress was made in architecture when windows with vertical rods came into existence. First of all, it made it possible to enlarge a window.
In fact, carpenters of minor carpentry in ancient times were divided into two categories: those engaging in decoration and those specializing in furniture making. Like construction, furniture making is a three-dimensional practice. Before designing, the first thing a craftsman should consider is the function: a bed is for sleeping; a chair or stool is for sitting; a table or desk is for supporting; and a cabinet or wardrobe is for storage. Furniture falls into clear categories with distinct functions.