The Beauty of Symmetry: China’s Buildings

The beauty of symmetry and balance is found in most traditional Chinese buildings. Especially for pavilions like this one with carved beams, the symmetry of the structure is emphasized. This is not only for aesthetic reasons, but also for comfort and safety, as a symmetrical structure is more balanced and safer. In a broader sense, Chinese philosophy and secular ethics are very much focused on the balance of yin and yang. One yin and one yang is called the “Tao”. “The Tao is the most general description of Chinese philosophy. Taoism is the most authoritative and systematic exposition of the Tao. The masterpiece in this regard is the widely circulated Tao Te Ching.

The Beauty of Symmetry: China's Buildings

127.5mm; ISO-250;  f/11;  1/125.

This cultural tradition is also reflected in the construction of secular ethics. For example, the traditional Chinese description of the marriage relationship states that the male is the yang and the female is the yin, and the male is the master of the outside and the female of the inside. In layman’s terms, men are masculine and women are feminine. Men dominate the external affairs of the family, and women take care of the internal affairs of the family, each of them has its own role to play, and together they maintain the harmonious operation of the family. Of course, we cannot apply this theory to our real life. If the husband is not strong and timid, then the wife who is strong will have to take the lead. So there are no absolutes in everything.

So you can see that the influence of this cultural tradition in China is very broad and far-reaching. Chopsticks come in pairs, posting couplets should also be symmetrical, not to mention that the structure and appearance of buildings should also focus on symmetry.

Back to the composition of the picture. In order to better express the symmetrical beauty of the building, I intentionally turned the camera towards the roof and deliberately omitted the lower half. At the same time, this is also to let the blue sky into the lens and the building to form a visual contrast.

Shooting date: December 30, 2020

Location: Nanjing Fuzi Temple Scenic Area, China

 

 

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