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Chinese Antique Architectural Fragments PDF Print E-mail

John Rogers: Hi my name is John from Today we're going to talk about architectural fragments. Well how do you get architectural fragments from China? What has caused all these fragments to be available on the market? Well what it is is China's Modernization Program which has constructed many, many new buildings in China's major cities and have done so by destroying the older houses that occupied the land. From these come many different kinds of fragments.

And we're going to talk about some of them today. The first type of fragment that I want to talk about is what I call the pierced carving fragment. And I'll take this down from the wall so that you can see that you literally can see through this. And this because of its fragility is one of the most unusual kind to find in a relatively good condition. The second type of carving that I want to talk about is one where it is obvious from looking at the physical carving where it kind of came from, how it was constructed. It's not from looking at the front.

From the front it's just a nice carved scene with wood in the background. But when you take it off the wall, and look at it from behind, you can see that this came out of two conjoined logs that were part of I presume a wall or ceiling or something like that. You can see on the ends really that it's just raw wood. The third type of carving that I want to talk about is exemplified here. Originally attached to an architectural support for a house, none the less the carving itself extends beyond what would've been the architectural support. It may not be as obvious from looking at the front but when you look at the back, you can see how it was cut off from an architectural support here, it was supported by a timber frame here.

But clearly the wings and the tail of this animal were in fact coming out or separate from the actual architectural support that it was attached to. Carvings of course were highly symbolic, often highly symbolic and added elements of protection or blessing to a house. This pair of the stellar trio is very interesting to me in terms of how it was extracted from the house. If you turn to the back when this was removed from the house it actually had an extension or a length here of plain wood that it sort of sat in.

And then this was a curved portion of the wall pole or ceiling pole to which this was originally attached. The next thing I want to talk about are wall pole signs. Now these signs were actually hung on the interior poles supporting the house. So in kind of a literal sense they're not fragments. But they're so much part of the Chinese architecture that I wanted to talk a little bit about them and show you what they were. This is a pair which commemorates a man and a woman in old age. But if you look at the back you can see how they were curved in order to go around the pole.

And these signs are highly decorative even when hanging on a flat wall. This concludes this video on Chinese architectural fragments. I hope you found it interesting. I also hope that you'll please visit our Web site at Sign up for our newsletter so you can be alerted to changes in our Web and additional videos. Thanks so much for watching.