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A view on the means of fire prevention of ancient Chinese buildings – from religious belief to practice

W.Y. Grace Cheng (Department of Building and Construction, City University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong, People's Republic of China)
S.M. Lo (Department of Building and Construction, City University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong, People's Republic of China)
Z. Fang (School of Civil Engineering, Wuhan University, People's Republic of China)
C.X. Cheng (School of Civil Engineering, Wuhan University, People's Republic of China)

Structural Survey

ISSN: 0263-080X

Article publication date: 1 September 2004

Abstract

Buildings erected in ancient China were often of wood and thatch and were particularly flammable. The ancient world developed a number of ways to minimize the damage caused by fire. An analysis of the architecture of ancient construction and urban planning, has revealed over a hundred fire prevention features. These items could be categorized into three groups, namely: symbolic features, building construction and urban planning. In the earlier literature of ancient China in which people had limited knowledge of fire, symbolic features based on their religious belief were emphasized. With the increase in construction experience, more tangible means of fire prevention were included in building design and urban planning. This paper briefly explores the changes of fire prevention means from early ancient period to Qing Dynasty. The reduction of damage caused by unwanted fire revealed the effectiveness of the evolution of fire prevention from symbolic features to urban planning.

Keywords

Citation

Grace Cheng, W.Y., Lo, S.M., Fang, Z. and Cheng, C.X. (2004), "A view on the means of fire prevention of ancient Chinese buildings – from religious belief to practice", Structural Survey, Vol. 22 No. 4, pp. 201-209. https://doi.org/10.1108/02630800410563741

Publisher

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Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2004, Emerald Group Publishing Limited