East Asia is a modern geographic designation. Today East Asia comprises China, Korea, Japan, Vietnam, Mongolia, and Tibet. Parts of all of them except Japan have at one time been part of China. China, Korea, Japan, and Vietnam use Chinese characters in their classical languages. Buddhist architecture stands in all six countries. Still, books and articles about East Asian architecture are few. The majority of published material concerns only one East Asian country. Several features characterize architecture across East Asia from the earliest evidence through the 19th century. The majority of buildings are supported by timber frames. The timber pieces are modular, so the measurements of certain components can be used to derive the measurements of others. Buildings usually are part of groups that form around or inside courtyards. Sometimes the courtyards are enclosed by covered arcades; other times they are enclosed by walls. The principles of enclosure and walling extend to cities. A front gate is part of almost any East Asian building group. Although it is rare for a building in East Asia to stand in isolation, every building group has one main structure. Most architecture in East Asia is built by craftsmen. Few names of architects survive, however. The patrons of East Asia’s most significant buildings were rulers and aristocrats.
The earliest general overviews of East Asian architecture were compiled in Japan in the second through fifth decades of the 20th century, the period leading up to and during the Second World War. Two of the most prolific compilers were Sekino Tadashi (b. 1868–d. 1935) and Itō Chūta (b. 1867–d. 1954), both of whom led research teams in territory known as Manchuria that is today the northeastern Chinese provinces of Liaoning, Jilin, and Heilongjiang, North Korea, and eastern Inner Mongolia. The old books often are extremely important, for they sometimes contain information about buildings lost during the wars of the 1930s and 1940s or later strife. Moreover, the research is sound, offering initial photographs and information about many buildings, including some that no longer survive or have been restored. Some surviving buildings described in early works have been significantly restored in recent decades. The major surveys of East Asian architectural history of the 1910s and 1920s are in Japanese. Itō 1936–1937, Sekino 1929–1930 are examples. Because of changing borders during the decades of warfare, a work such as Sekino 1929–1930, with Korea in the title, includes buildings that today are in northeastern China.
Itō Chūta. Tōyō geijutsu shiryō. Tokyo: Nihon Bijutusha, 1909.
This volume (East Asian art materials), includes information about all the arts, including architecture. Rare.
Itō Chūta. Tōyō kenchiku no kenkyū. Tokyo: Ryūginsha, 1936–1937.
This work (Research on East Asian architecture) is perhaps the most representative compilation of research by a Japanese team working in continental East Asia during the years of the Japanese Occupation of Manchuria. It is also typical of works of the period, for which the writing and publication took place more than a decade after the research.
Sekino Tadashi. Kokuri koseki chosa. Tokyo: 1929–1930.
This volume (Archaeological research on ancient Kokuri) exemplifies research conducted by Japanese teams in Northeast Asia during Occupation.
Users without a subscription are not able to see the full content on this page. Please subscribe or login.
- Adolf Loos
- Albert Kahn
- Ancient Architecture and Urbanism in Western Europe (pre-R...
- Ancient Iran
- Architecture and the Urban Life of Cairo
- Architecture of Beijing
- Architecture of Berlin
- Architecture of China - City Planning
- Architecture of China-Late (Ming-Qing Dynasties)
- Architecture of China-Middle (Han - Yuan Dynasties)
- Architecture of East Asia
- Architecture of Hong Kong
- Architecture of Japan - Middle (Kofun-Nara)
- Architecture of Japan—General/Premodern/Modern and Contemp...
- Architecture of Monasteries
- Architecture of Pisa
- Architecture of Shanghai
- Architecture of Sicily and Magna Graecia
- Architecture of South Asia
- Architecture of Train Stations
- Art Nouveau
- Arts and Crafts Movement
- Assyria and Babylonia
- Bronze-Age Cycladic/Minoan Architecture
- Buddhist Architecture in Imperial China
- Building Materials of Chinese Architecture
- C. F. A. Voysey
- Chicago School
- Colonial and Modern Architecture in India
- Ecole des Beaux-Arts
- Edward Durell Stone
- Eiffel Tower
- Eugène-Emmanuel Viollet-le-Duc
- Frank Lloyd Wright
- Furness, Frank
- Garden City
- Gothic Revival/Gothick
- Greek Building Technology and Methods
- Henry Hobson Richardson
- John Soane
- Karl Friedrich Schinkel
- Kenzo Tange
- Marion Mahony Griffin
- McKim, Mead & White
- Medieval Castles of Britain and Ireland from the 11th to t...
- Mimar Sinan (“Architect Sinan”)
- Modern Architecture in Latin America
- New York City
- Notre-Dame Cathedral of Reims
- Ornament in Europe: From Antiquity to the Twentieth Centur...
- Ostia, Origins through Empire
- Pompeii, Origins through Destruction
- Roman Republican Architecture
- Rome, Origins Through Empire
- Rudolph M. Schindler
- Soviet Architecture
- Suburbinization and Suburbs
- Sullivan, Louis
- Technology and Methods - Rome/Roman World
- United States Capitol and Campus
- Vernacular Architecture
- Walter Gropius
- William L. Price
- Wood Frame Construction