Get 20M+ Full-Text Papers For Less Than $1.50/day. Start a 14-Day Trial for You and Your Team.

Learn More →

Gateways to Power and Paradise: Twin Towers in Early Chinese Architecture

Gateways to Power and Paradise: Twin Towers in Early Chinese Architecture Twin gate towers (que) were a characteristic feature of urban and palatial architecture in Chinese cities from the Warring States period onward. Although they initially served the practical military purpose of strengthening the defensive characteristics of gates in the city walls, they rapidly acquired symbolic significance through their association with political power. This article examines the development of twin towers from the Warring States period to the Eastern Han dynasty, showing how their ability to define political or sacred space was adapted to a variety of different social, political, and religious contexts, from city walls and palaces to imperial shrines and tombs. After the First Qin Emperor and Emperor Wu of the Han erected twin towers at the palaces they built in their pursuit of immortality, twin towers also became signifiers of the celestial realm. Finally, in the Eastern Han dynasty, the newly prominent merchant and local gentry classes who rose to assume political and administrative roles in the government adopted the architectural vocabulary of twin towers by constructing smaller-scale stone mimics at their own family tombs, appropriating the imperial prestige of this form to flaunt their social and financial success and construct their own identities as local elites. By examining this long historical development, I show how a functional element of urban architecture could acquire new symbolic meanings as different social and political actors adapted it to serve a wide variety of ends. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Archives of Asian Art Duke University Press

Gateways to Power and Paradise: Twin Towers in Early Chinese Architecture

Archives of Asian Art , Volume 68 (1) – Apr 1, 2018

Loading next page...
 
/lp/duke-university-press/gateways-to-power-and-paradise-twin-towers-in-early-chinese-DhEhTb27Yb
Copyright
Copyright © 2018 Asia Society
ISSN
0066-6637
eISSN
1944-6497
DOI
https://doi.org/10.1215/00666637-4342411
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

Twin gate towers (que) were a characteristic feature of urban and palatial architecture in Chinese cities from the Warring States period onward. Although they initially served the practical military purpose of strengthening the defensive characteristics of gates in the city walls, they rapidly acquired symbolic significance through their association with political power. This article examines the development of twin towers from the Warring States period to the Eastern Han dynasty, showing how their ability to define political or sacred space was adapted to a variety of different social, political, and religious contexts, from city walls and palaces to imperial shrines and tombs. After the First Qin Emperor and Emperor Wu of the Han erected twin towers at the palaces they built in their pursuit of immortality, twin towers also became signifiers of the celestial realm. Finally, in the Eastern Han dynasty, the newly prominent merchant and local gentry classes who rose to assume political and administrative roles in the government adopted the architectural vocabulary of twin towers by constructing smaller-scale stone mimics at their own family tombs, appropriating the imperial prestige of this form to flaunt their social and financial success and construct their own identities as local elites. By examining this long historical development, I show how a functional element of urban architecture could acquire new symbolic meanings as different social and political actors adapted it to serve a wide variety of ends.

Journal

Archives of Asian ArtDuke University Press

Published: Apr 1, 2018

There are no references for this article.

You’re reading a free preview. Subscribe to read the entire article.


DeepDyve is your
personal research library

It’s your single place to instantly
discover and read the research
that matters to you.

Enjoy affordable access to
over 18 million articles from more than
15,000 peer-reviewed journals.

All for just $49/month

Explore the DeepDyve Library

Search

Query the DeepDyve database, plus search all of PubMed and Google Scholar seamlessly

Organize

Save any article or search result from DeepDyve, PubMed, and Google Scholar... all in one place.

Access

Get unlimited, online access to over 18 million full-text articles from more than 15,000 scientific journals.

Your journals are on DeepDyve

Read from thousands of the leading scholarly journals from SpringerNature, Wiley-Blackwell, Oxford University Press and more.

All the latest content is available, no embargo periods.

See the journals in your area

DeepDyve

Freelancer

DeepDyve

Pro

Price

FREE

$49/month
$499/year

Save searches from
Google Scholar,
PubMed

Create folders to
organize your research

Export folders, citations

Read DeepDyve articles

Abstract access only

Unlimited access to over
18 million full-text articles

Print

20 pages / month