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Cosmological interpretation of architecture: cases from Ancient China and Mesoamerica

The civilizations of ancient China and Mesoamerica, although not historically related and obviously different in many specific aspects (such as language and writing), show many interesting commonalities and similar tendencies in their cultural manifestations.

C. Chen
28 September 2021
The publication in Open Access

The aim of this thesis is to examine the validity of contemporary cosmological interpretations of architecture and related visual art in both regions.In comparing the cosmological characteristics and the performance in the architecture of ancient China and Mesoamerica this thesis has a multidisciplinary focus (considering architecture, archeology, astronomy, history and anthropology).

Through comparison, it is found that the two have many similarities in their cosmological theory: they have similar azimuth characteristics (associated with colors, directional gods, seasons, life and death, etc.), their buildings are rich in space orientation; they both have Three Realms (Heaven, Earth, Underworld) and a similar life and death concept, especially they all worship their ancestors; furthermore, they use a similar Calendar Round in their respective calendars. In the performance of architecture, they use their own methods to integrate the concept of cosmology into architectural creation, which makes their architecture establish connections among the cosmos, gods, and time.

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