Of all the things we know about China, it is one of the most religious countries in the world in ancient days and then communism happened, religious architecture is a mixture of architectures like commoners and imperials, china had two major religions back in ancient times which are Buddhism and Taoism, while the Buddhist opted for imperial architecture and Taoist the commoners, both the religious architecture followed similar patterns for construction but different architecture styles, both the religion exchanged their architecture styles at times.

chinese religious architecture

The Buddhists followed their traditional pattern such as a front hall for the four heavenly kings which we can consider as a protection or as a devotional belief, followed by a large hall that acts as the main part of the architecture of the monastery where the Buddha statue placed and to pray, the rooms for monks and nuns placed side by side to the main hall or great hall.

This pattern is strictly followed in Chinese architecture while building a Buddhist monastery and it should never be changed according to their tradition.

chinese religious architecture

Mogao caves in Dunhuang, china is one of the greatest religious architecture in China’s Architectural history, the Buddhist cave with more than a thousand Buddha statues is one fine thing to showcase the art of ancient Chinese Architecture and the artists, it is believed that the cave is constructed for more than a 1000 years including 492 temples with 25km long, the cave architecture still stands as the greatest art exploration in Chinese architecture.

Taoists, on the other hand, followed and preferred a simple architectural style pattern, with the main entrance placed at the side and the main hall at the front with the main deity followed by the sub deities, the structure of Taoist temples built with belief in superstition. 

The Temple of Heaven which is considered the greatest Taoist temple ever built is a marvelous creation and example of Taoist architecture and China’s traditional architectural style, the temple is constructed with some interesting facts like the hall of prayer for harvest has massive wooden columns which symbolize the four-season along with 12 months and 12 daily hours, this shows the extraordinary engineering work of china.

Mosques and churches also played important roles in ancient China and Chinese architecture, the Niuijie mosque in Beijing is a massive proof of the Islamic religious architecture in China, the Niuijie mosque is also considered a hybrid Chinese architecture with a mixture of Arabic, the mosque looks Chinese from the outside and Arabic in the inside shows the bond between Chinese and the Arabians, The architecture looks grand in color from red fences and green with golden-red pillars to showcase the Chinese architectural flavor.

Like Arabic architecture influenced Chinese architecture at times western architecture also influenced China and St. Xuijiahui Cathedral is one major proof that still stands today, by the early 19th century Roman architecture influenced China and this is the result, the Xuijiahui church is the largest roman catholic church in history located in Shanghai.


DHRUBAJYOTI ROY, the visionary behind Builtarchi.com, who holds a passion for transforming ideas into tangible and awe-inspiring structures. His multifaceted persona encompasses a love for cars & by profession an Architect.


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