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Unfolding the Principle of Color Decoration in Yingzao Fashi, a 12th Century’s Chinese Imperial Building Standard

A talk by Luke Li, Tsinghua University, Beijing

Monday, May 20, 2013
4:00 PM - 5:30 PM
Bunche Hall 11377

The Building Standard, Yingzao fashi of 12th-century, is one of the oldest surviving manual on buildings. It was considered a key document on Chinese architecture. This document has been studied by many eminent Chinese architectural historians, but generally from the point of view of construction, whereas the aspect on colored decoration has usually been overlooked. Nonetheless, without a deep understanding of the decoration, we cannot really grasp the whole picture of Song Dynasty buildings, let alone its aesthetics, even though some of them have survived.
In her talk, Professor Li will share some findings from her recently published book, “Chinese Colored Decoration in Yingzao fashi 營造法式.” She will unfold the formerly neglected aspects of this classic document and discuss the following questions:

- What is Yingzao fashi and how to read it?

- What does Yingzao Fashi tell us about colored decoration?


Luke Li is trained in architecture. She received her Bachelor's degree in Architecture in 2001 and her doctorate degree in Architectural History and Theory in 2007 at Tsinghua University, Beijing. In 2007 she joined the faculty at Tsinghua University to teach The History of World Modern Architecture and the Yale/Tsinghua Joint Design Studio in Beijing.Her field of specialization is Design Method and Urbanization in Ancient China, with a particular focus on the 12th-century Chinese architectural classic, Yingzao fashi 營造法式(The Building Standard), and colored decoration in traditional Chinese architecture. Her publications include Studies on the Rules for Color Painted Works in Yingzao fashi (2003; nomination, the 4th China's Outstanding Publications) and The map of Beijing Historical Architecture(2009, winner, the 3rd China Building Book Prize).

Professor Li is also an architectural designer and a translator of classical architectural documents.

Sponsor(s): Center for Chinese Studies

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