Art of the Ancient World, C. 5000 B.c.e.–400 C.E.

Art of Ancient China

What did ancient Chinese architecture look like?

While no ancient Chinese buildings remain standing today, houses and palaces from the Han Dynasty (206 B.C.E.–220 C.E.) survive in ceramic models. They were made for Han tombs and give scholars an idea of what the architecture of the time would have looked like. Han buildings were made of wood and were notable for their curved roofs and jutting eaves. The weight of Han buildings were supported by a system of vertical and horizontal beams, which meant that the walls did not need to bear any of the structure’s weight. Colorfully painted screens, usually red and black, were used to separate rooms. The rest of the wood structure was either painted or lacquered, which helped to protect it from the elements.


This is a web preview of the "The Handy Art History Answer Book" app. Many features only work on your mobile device. If you like what you see, we hope you will consider buying. Get the App