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By 1976, the year of Mao’s death, China’s remaining Christian churches were in terrible disrepair; those that had survived the Red Guard attacks and seizures of the “Destroy the Four Olds Movement” were being reused as state warehouses, schools, factories, or restaurants. Getty Images. type of architecture that incorporates classic architectural elements of a ‘mother country’ in buildings or structures in territories overseas 580–662) said of church architecture, “it reestablishes what had been in paradise and what will be in the Kingdom of God.”31. 18 Interview with Fr. . Church Architecture in China: Early Influences and Architects. 1842), and is celebrated as one of Shanghai’s most-visited and photographed historic buildings.10 Dowdall’s design responded to the aspirations of the French Jesuits in Shanghai, who wanted the church—named after the founder of their order, Saint Ignatius of Loyola (1491–1556)—to exemplify a Gothic order of hierarchies. The history of Christianity in China changed radically after 1949, and so did the history of church architecture. 2 Qu Yuan, “Zhao hun,” The Songs of the South: An Anthology of Ancient Chinese Poems by Qu Yuan and Other Poets, trans. China in Church Architecture: The Question of a “Local” Style. 9 See W. Devine, The Four Churches of Peking (Tianjin: The Tientsin Press, 1930), 184–185, and Joseph A. Sandhaas, S.V.D., Catholic Peking (Beijing: The Catholic University Press, 1937), 14–17. Cathedral of the Sacred Heart at Dali, Yunnan. This was disastrous for Catholic Christians, who viewed this as an act of disobedience to the Pope; Mao and his fellow cadres, on their part, insisted that Catholics, like Protestants, conform to the Three-Self Patriotic Movement. Hagia Sophia, the most famous and most spectacular example of Byzantine architecture, was built between 532 and 537 to… A gift to the Benedictines, St. Michael’s Mount was occupied by the same religious order as the French island. Balustrades installed on the entrance steps were carved in a Chinese style from local white marble. In 1924, Constantini assembled China’s first nation-wide synod of Catholic bishops to discuss Maximum Illud, which met (similar to council gatherings) in the Gothic Revival nave of Saint Ignatius Church in Shanghai.14 During the synod, Constantini determined to commission a Chinese-style church at Sheshan, but Alphonse De Moerloose, as noted above, designed the basilica in an admixture of Gothic Revival and Romanesque styles; the church was decidedly Western. St. Michaels Mount Island and Castle at low tide | © Oliver … Buddhist pagoda in Huyen Khong cave on Marble Mountain, St. Michaels Mount Island and Castle at low tide, Prambanan temple near Yogyakarta on Java island Indonesia. Basilica of Saint’Apollinare Nuovo – Ravenna, Emilia-Romagna, Italy. Architecture - Architecture - Religious architecture: The history of architecture is concerned more with religious buildings than with any other type, because in most past cultures the universal and exalted appeal of religion made the church or temple the most expressive, the most permanent, and the most influential building in any community. For example, after the Red Guards seized the old Franciscan church in the Catholic village of Liuhecun in 1966 and filled the nave with Maoist slogans on long, white banners, the entire structure was demolished. Many cultures devoted considerable resources to their sacred architecture and places of worship. In August 1966, Tianjin’s “Destroy the Four Olds Movement,” a state-supported campaign to wipe out “Old Customs, Old Culture, Old Habits, and Old Ideas,” was inaugurated in the city’s commercial district, near Saint Joseph Cathedral. One of China’s dramatic examples of post-Mao Chinese-style church design is located on a tall hill next to the Shanxi Catholic village of Dongergou, approximately thirty kilometers south of Taiyuan. Perhaps the most famous example of a Catholic church built in an entirely Chinese style is the Cathedral of the Sacred Heart in Yunnan Province, at Dali, designed by a French missionary and built by experienced local contractors who understood Chinese architectural forms. Islamic Art and Architecture (Thames &Hudson, 1998). Hagia Sophia is an example of Byzantine architecture and was the largest cathedral in the world for nearly 1,000 years, formerly a Greek Orthodox cathedral, briefly a Roman Catholic cathedral, then a mosque, and now it is a museum. Ethnic influence is readily identifiable in the 13 onion domes atop ST.THEODOSIUS RUSSIAN ORTHODOX CATHEDRAL. China’s sense of architectural space has always affirmed the connection between our environment and our senses. Catholic Church of Guchengying, Shanxi. Our Lady of Seven Sorrows Catholic Church (pilgrimage site) at Dongergou Village, Shanxi. Among Moerloose’s most famous commissions in China is his church in Xuanhua, located in Hebei, 170 kilometers from Beijing. Anthony E. Clark and Amanda C. Roth Clark. Just 600 meters from the Normandy coastline, this Benedictine abbey stands with a magnetic and mysterious beauty at the highest point of the small rock formation. Unusual in its inclusion of characters from The Matrix, Hello Kitty, and Angry Birds, this entirely white Thai temple re-imagines the meeting of art and religious building. With the ‘Avenue of the Dead’ running through its center, surrounded with many impressive structures, including two great pyramids, one for the Sun, one for the Moon, and famous as being sites of both human and animal sacrifice, Teotihuacan, in Mexico, was one of the largest pre-Columbian cities in the Americas. The founders and builders of this ancient city remain disputed, but it is thought to have been established around 100 BCE and reached its most prolific point around 450 CE. Photo: History of Christianity in China Archive, Spokane, Washington. A similarly atmospheric site, accessible only across the man-made granite causeway when the tide is out or low, St. Michael’s Mount is a place of isolation and curiosity. In preparation for this article, the authors visited several churches in Shanxi Province, where the Catholic population has grown steadily since the 1980s and church re-construction has punctuated the vast plains of the province with soaring spires and towers. These words also speak to the purpose and meaning of sacred architecture. Istanbul's spectacular Blue Mosque, the towering spires of Notre Dame, the Temple at Luxor, Native American sweat lodges, and many other examples of sacred architecture are represented, with accompanying text that places each structure in its proper theological context. The future of sacred architecture in China was then entirely in the hands of the Chinese, either the state or the Christians who used these churches for worship. John Pedley, Sanctuaries and the Sacred in the Ancient Greek World (Cambridge University Press, 2005). Profane (as a noun) Literally before (i.e., outside) the temple, hence not sacred, common, also impious; not pertaining to or devoted to what is sacred or biblical, especially in history or literature; not initiated into Believers were criticized publically and church properties were assembled and burned in front of the cathedral. As Blessed John Henry Cardinal Newman (1801–1890) once wrote, Christians will lay out their resources not only to feed the hungry or clothe the naked, but also “to build and decorate the visible House of God.”26. Supposedly described by Oscar Wilde as the most purely dreadful building he ever saw, this Mormon church and feat of engineering was designed by Henry Grow, utilizing his experience in bridge construction. The final effect is a synthesis of a Western church building, accented at the entrance with Chinese pavilions that cover two grand memorial steles. ‘The White Temple’ in English, construction began in 1997, and it is still a work in progress. Photo: Anthony & Amanda Clark Collection, Spokane, Washington. Sacred Architecture during Mao: An Era of Church Destruction. At present the Portiuncula Church at Bansishan hosts annual pilgrimages each August, with approximately twelve thousand Catholic pilgrims visiting the church for Mass and Confessions per day; new guesthouses are being built to accommodate the rising number of visitors. fig. For Pugin’s influence on Ruskin, see Elizabeth Gilmore Holt, ed., From the Classicists to the Impressionists: Art and Architecture of the Nineteenth Century (New York: Anchor, 1966), 117–18. Notably, following the Maoist era of church seizure and destruction, the Chinese faithful were without the presence of embedded Western missionaries to influence their church planning, so they turned instead to the aesthetic desires of their congregations. Constructed: 561 CE Emperor: … Copyright © 2021 Sacred Architecture Journal. In 1966, Red Guards razed the original church, and it remained a ruin until 1992, when Father Augustine Li Jianhua, S.V.D., received permission from the bishop to rebuild the church in a Chinese style.23 Father Li’s vision to replace the previous Gothic Revival chapel with a grand Chinese-style church is striking. 6 (Charleston, SC: Nabu Press, 2010), 20. 13 Celso Constantini, “The Need of Developing a Sino-Christian Architecture for Our Catholic Missions,” Bulletin of the Catholic University of Peking, no. The new structure had to accommodate three thousand people in attendance at each of the three Sunday Masses, it had to somehow reflect the Catholic connection to the Pope in Rome, and it had to satisfy the local expectation of what a “Catholic church should look like.” The outcome of these requirements is what Denis McNamara calls a massive “Eclectic Revival” church with an unusually long nave; the façade is Gothic Revival while the sanctuary is crowned with an enormous Baroque dome modeled after the dome of Saint Peter’s Basilica in Vatican City.19. With the exquisite blue running through the interior, in the tiles and the stained glass, the Sultan Ahmed Mosque honors aspects of the design of its neighbor while moving forward in scale. One with a particularly religious feeling is the Huyen Khong Grotto, where there is no light except for that cast through the holes in the ceiling of the cave. Beijing’s famous East Church, built in a dramatic Romanesque style, was similarly attacked and converted into the Wangfujing Primary School, where children studied Maoist thought under classically inspired Corinthian capitals. 23 Much of the information outlined here regarding the reconstruction of the Our Lady of Seven Sorrows church at Dongergou is from an interview with Fr. As Yan Jiaqi and Gao Gao describe the first moments of the movement, “drums, gongs, and firecrackers sounded from morning to night,” and the signs of streets, shops, and schools were all changed to “revolutionary names.”16 When the Red Guard crowds in Tianjin turned their attention toward Saint Joseph’s, the movement had grown into a massive incident. Find and save ideas about sacred architecture on Pinterest. The Dongergou baldacchino consists of three ascending, circular roofs, tiled in imperial yellow. Photo: Anthony & Amanda Clark Collection, Spokane, Washington. Shravasti, Uttar Pradesh. That the word became flesh calls to our attention in a radical way that the word—thought—must always become flesh. Another example of a post-Maoist church reconstruction in Shanxi is the pilgrimage Portiuncula Church at Bansishan, north of the provincial capital city of Taiyuan, demolished in 1966 by the Red Guards. From a Thai Buddhist temple with Hello Kitty engravings to a Finnish church carved out of granite, here are thirteen of the most amazing religious buildings around the world. Winston S. Churchill (Boston: Little, Brown and Company, 1944), 317. 24 For a brief architectural description of Beijing’s imperial Altar of Heaven and Forbidden City, see Fu Xinian et al., Chinese Architecture (New Haven: Yale University Press, 2002), 221–25, 262–68. The Hall of the Martyrs, completed in 2010, features indigenous architectural design, a notable exception to the post-Maoist decision to build Catholic architecture in a Western style. Overwhelmingly, however, Shanxi’s recent trend in sacred architecture is to emulate Western-style church construction, and to reproduce as closely as possible the hallowed examples of Catholic design in the West. 5 For a study of Alphonse De Moerloose, see Thomas Coomans and Wei Luo, “Exporting Flemish Gothic Architecture to China: Meaning and Context of the Churches of Shebiya and Xunhua Built by Missionary-Architect Alphonse De Moerloose in 1903–1906,” Relicta, Archeologie, Monumenten- en Landschapsonderzoek in Vlaanderen, vol. The Gothic Revival, Romanesque, and Baroque styles that had been preferred by Western missionaries were the styles now favored by the Chinese who were rebuilding their sacred architecture out of the ashes. China’s Christian architecture is not all modeled after the West; some church designers have consciously accommodated more indigenous tastes. 01: The Hall of Bulls at Lascaux, 16,000-14,000 B.C.E. There is little surprise that it is one of Helsinki’s most visited buildings. For example, the Belgian Scheut missionary Alphonse De Moerloose studied architecture at Saint Luke’s School in Ghent, where his architecture courses favored the ideals of Augustus Pugin (1812–1852), whose promotion of the Gothic Revival movement influenced John Ruskin (1819–1900). One of the most ambitious recent commissions in China is the red brick replica of the celebrated Sacré-Coeur Basilica on Montmartre, Paris, built in a Roman-Byzantine style.25 While the French original, completed in 1914, was built using white travertine quarried in Château-Landon, the Chinese reproduction was constructed with red brick, making it a towering landmark on a vast, flat plain. Cathedral of the Sacred Heart at Guangzhou by Léon Vautrin. Red Guards tore down its two spires, smashed all the stained glass windows, demolished the stunning high altar, and destroyed all the sacred art and furnishings. Such architecturally based structural thought includes understanding of social and political relationships. (1837–1905), had introduced traditional Western styles of Christian architecture to Chinese Catholics, the local preference for these styles was quickly entrenched. In one essay, Celso Constantini complained that “it is a mistake to import [to China] European styles such as Romanesque and Gothic,” but these styles were already so popular with both local Chinese and Western missionaries that Constantini, despite his disagreements, presented Moerloose with the celebrated Pro Ecclesia et Pontifice (For Church and Pope) cross award in 1928.15 The debates among European missionaries regarding whether China’s sacred architecture should be Gothic Revival, Romanesque, or “Sino-Christian” disappeared after the founding of the People’s Republic of China in 1949, when all Western missionaries were expelled from China in the turbulent 1950s. It is impossible for us to build beautiful churches today. Example of early Islamic sacred architecture : the Great Mosque of Kairouan, founded in 670, dates in its present state from the 9th century; it is the architectural ancestor of all the mosques in the western Islamic world and represents one of the best preserved and … Liuhecun Catholic Church at Liuhecun Village, Shanxi. ‘The White Palace’ functions as the living quarters of the Dalai Lama, while ‘The Red Palace’ is dedicated to prayer and the religious teaching of Tibetan Buddhism. It was built out of a pre-existing granite structure, making it ambiguous in its appearance from the outside. With its 27 marble-sheathed “leaves” shining white above verdant landscaping, the Lotus Temple is one of the most prominent and celebrated examples of architectural biomimicry on Earth. With a church and castle at the peak of the rocky island, St. Michael’s Mount in England shares many similarities with its French counterpart, Mont Saint-Michel. (Boulder, CO: Westview Press, 1989), 111–12. J. F. Scanlan (New York: Charles Scribner’s Sons, 1930), 25. From the late nineteenth century, this Western-style Franciscan church had been the annual gathering place for thousands of Catholic pilgrims. It remains his most famous work in China today. Another example of the divine builder comes from the Vedic texts that originated as far back as the second millennium BC. 5 Moerloose’s church commissions in China favored a Gothic style for its organic appropriateness with Catholic … Three types of structures are associated with the religious architecture of early Buddhism: monasteries (viharas), places to venerate relics (stupas), and shrines or prayer halls (chaityas, also called chaitya grihas), which later came to be called temples in some places. A triumph of the Khmer Empire, representing qualities beyond the religious in its creative and structural ingenuity, it is clear why it is thought to be a miniature replica of the universe. All Chinese Christians were expected to be self-promoting, self-governing, and self-supporting. The island has been under various controls, from the Vikings to Benedictine monks, and this complex past is palpable. Photo: Anthony & Amanda Clark Collection, Spokane, Washington. This is a bit like saying that it is impossible … 19 See Denis R. McNamara, How to Read Churches (New York: Rizzoli, 2011), 48. With the exception of this one example, all church buildings discussed here were envisioned and designed in China, then constructed by local laborers. 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