Building Across Borders: Regional Style in China's Monumental Timber Architecture, 900-1200
4 West Burton Place
Chicago, Illinois 60610
Building Across Borders: Regional Style in China's Monumental Timber Architecture, 900–1200 is a book-length examination of local architectural traditions evident in the extant wooden buildings of China dating from the 10th–12th centuries in territories held successively by the 5 Dynasties and 10 Kingdoms, and the Song, Liao, and Jin dynasties. This study uses GPS (Global Positioning System) to map timber-frame structures, the dominant form of architecture in pre-modern China; to define regions of shared architectural styles; and to show that the differences in style were not defined by political boundaries, and thus were not the result of an official architecture imposed on local areas. Changes in style were instead the product of a complex interaction between distinctive building traditions that retained their regional identities after political conquest.
This project developed from research for Tracy Miller's first book, The Divine Nature of Power: Chinese Ritual Architecture at the Sacred Site of Jinci (2007). Preparation included training in Mandarin, classical Chinese, Japanese, graduate coursework in architectural history at Beijing's Qinghua University (in Mandarin), and doctoral coursework at the University of Pennsylvania. Miller spent the 1997–98 academic year in Hebei and Shanxi provinces photo-documenting buildings for her first book. She returned to China in 1999, 2001, 2004, and 2008; two articles documenting the findings of this fieldwork are forthcoming. While she was a research fellow at Academia Sinica, Taiwan (1998–00), she met scholars working on historical mapping at their Geographic Information System Lab, with whom she worked again in 2004. As an associate professor at Vanderbilt University, her 2008–09 academic-year sabbatical was spent doing fieldwork in Hebei and Liaoning provinces, traveling to Academia Sinica's GIS Lab, and writing.
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