Chinese Bridges: Living Architecture from China's Past

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Overview

Bridges, the least known and understood of China's many wonders, are one of its most striking and resilient feats of architectural prowess. Chinese Bridges brings together a thorough look at the marvels of Chinese bridge design from one of the world's leading experts on Chinese culture and historical geography, Ronald G. Knapp.

While many consider bridges to be merely utilitarian civil engineering, the bridges of China move beyond that stereotype, as many are undeniably ...

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Overview

Bridges, the least known and understood of China's many wonders, are one of its most striking and resilient feats of architectural prowess. Chinese Bridges brings together a thorough look at the marvels of Chinese bridge design from one of the world's leading experts on Chinese culture and historical geography, Ronald G. Knapp.

While many consider bridges to be merely utilitarian civil engineering, the bridges of China move beyond that stereotype, as many are undeniably dramatic, even majestic and daring. Chinese Bridges illustrates in detail 20 well-preserved ancient bridges, along with descriptions and essays on the distinctive architectural elements shared by the various designs. For the first time in an English-language book, Chinese Bridges records scores of newly discovered bridges across China's vast landscape, illustrated with over 400 color photographs, as well as woodblock prints, historic images, paintings and line drawings.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"This exquisitely illustrated volume gives more insight into the cultural and philosophical systems under girding all forms of Chinese architecture than any book in recent years."—ArchNewsNow.com

"Splendid...[Chinese Bridges] is necessary reading for all who are interested in Chinese architecture, history and culture."—CHOICE

"This book [Chinese Houses], illustrated with many beautiful photographs, could serve as the best guide for preserving China's cultural heritage."—Orientations

"Scholarly, detailed, beautifully illustrated."—Library Journal

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780804843768
  • Publisher: Tuttle Publishing
  • Publication date: 8/6/2013
  • Edition description: Paperback with Flaps
  • Pages: 272
  • Sales rank: 964,092
  • Product dimensions: 9.00 (w) x 11.70 (h) x 1.10 (d)

Meet the Author

Ronald G. Knapp has been carrying out research on cultural and historical geography in China's countryside since 1965. Currently SUNY Distinguished Professor Emeritus at the State University of New York, New Paltz, he is the author or contributing editor of more than a dozen books, including the award-winning Chinese Houses: The Architectural Heritage of a Nation.

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Customer Reviews

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Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted October 7, 2013

    One of the first memories I have of being a young study abroad s

    One of the first memories I have of being a young study abroad student at Nanjing University is driving over the famed Nanjing Yangzi River Bridge on the drive from the airport into the center of the city. A Chinese professor accompanying us pointed out the historical significance of this bridge being built after the Sino-Russian split entirely using Chinese expertise and opened at the height of the Cultural Revolution. In fact, as Prof. Knapp excellent book, Chinese Bridges: Living Architecture from China’s Past, attests, the Chinese have been expert bridge builders for millennia. This very rich study covers a wide range of issues including the different types of bridge building techniques that Chinese have employed throughout history, the functional uses and decorative motifs of bridges found throughout China, and the cultural history of bridge building and the role bridges play in Chinese cultural life. The final section gives a generous sampling of regional and cultural variations of bridges found in different regions of China. The book is amply illustrated by not only A. Chester Ong’s beautiful photographs but also paintings and other illustrations recording the importance of bridges throughout Chinese history (i.e. the very famous 12th c. Qingming Festival Along the River scroll.) If I have one wish for the book is that it included some samples of more recent bridges (i.e., the Nanjing Yangzi River Bridge or the Jiashao Bridge) and their relationship to China’s cultural legacy of bridge building, but perhaps that subject is for a whole other study.

    Prof. Knapp has been publishing an comprehensive series of books detailing the unique and important cultural contribution Chinese architecture has made to world cultural, and this book wonderfully complements his previous studies on Chinese houses and interior design. This is a beautiful book that anyone can easily wander through without feeling like you need to be an expert on bridge engineering or the anthropology of China in order to appreciate what Prof. Knapp is exploring. This is that rare type of book that simultaneously looks good on a coffee table and is actually fun gleaning facts from (check out Prof. Knapp’s other “All Things Chinese” for a similar type of book!)

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