Yin Yang Fish and Cross

  Open any book on architecture, and the word “culture” is bound to appear, sometimes very frequently. This shows that architecture and culture are closely related. The architectural style of a country or a nation must be associated with the culture of this country or nation. Architecture as an art, its connotation is rich and profound. Although the styles are very different, people of all ethnic groups in the world have left us countless examples of classic architecture. This article only selects the famous buildings of the medieval Christian era in Europe, the Notre Dame de Paris in France and the Temple of Heaven in Beijing, China for analysis.
  Yin-Yang Fish and Cross
  If a symbol is used to represent Chinese culture, Yin-Yang Fish (or Tai Chi Diagram) will undoubtedly be the best choice. Because the quintessence of Chinese culture that is widely recognized is Confucian culture and Taoist culture, and the fusion of Buddhism and Chinese culture after it was introduced to China, resulting in Chinese-style Zen Buddhism, which has become one of the main components of Chinese culture. Then, can the yin and yang fish be used as a common graphic symbol representing the main ideas of Confucianism, Taoism and Buddhism? The answer is yes. Confucians say this is their Yixue, Taoists say it is Laozi’s thought, and the yin and yang fish are made up of two fish connected end to end, which is similar to the “reincarnation” advocated by Buddhism. As a graphic symbol of Chinese culture, the yin-yang fish has a profound influence in the history of Chinese civilization for five thousand years. It even penetrates into the personality of every Chinese, and is manifested in aspects such as daily life behaviors. It is also seen in ancient Chinese architecture. obvious manifestation.
  Likewise, to understand Western culture, one cannot avoid Christianity. The so-called dark “Middle Ages” in the West is an important period in which Christianity ruled Western society, and its influence on Western society still exists today. The emergence of Christianity even changed the appearance of ancient Western architectural decoration for a time, and finally left an immortal “Gothic” style to the world, and an obvious symbol of Christianity is the cross. The cross was originally a tool of execution for the Romans. People were nailed to the cross and executed cruelly. Later, Christ was also nailed to the cross by the Romans, and the cross became a symbol of Christianity. Let’s put aside the religious connotation of the cross for the time being, because talking about religion is not the main purpose of this article, but the influence of the expansive image of the cross on the spiritual characteristics of Western culture is obvious. , but also in the rebellious spirit manifested in the period of Western modernism. The yin-yang fish and the cross, as the respective graphic symbols of Chinese and Western cultures, have a profound impact on the life, behavior and thinking of Chinese and Western people, which directly leads to the different architectural styles.
  The difference between Chinese and Western cultures is as obvious as the difference between the yin-yang fish and the cross. Such cultural differences directly lead to differences in life behavior and thinking. Let’s take a look at the graphic features of the yin-yang fish. The outside of the yin-yang fish is a closed circle, and the periphery of the circle is equal and quiet, so there is no expansion in any direction outside. kind of exclusion. But inside the yin-yang fish are two interactive fish whose heads and tails are connected, moving and rotating graphically. Generally speaking, the graphics of Yin-Yang fish are closed and restrained. The cross is just the opposite. With the intersection of two straight lines as the center, it forms four rays pointing in four different directions. These rays are expansive, and at the same time, they are constantly extending and moving outward. Correspondingly, most Chinese people are more introverted, but their hearts are full of enthusiasm. Westerners are generally more extroverted, and their inner enthusiasm and passion can be seen on the outside; Chinese people use chopsticks to eat, and chopsticks require inward force when picking vegetables. The knives and forks used by Westerners when eating, always have to use force to cut or pick up food; ancient Chinese greeted others with salutation, except for a few dynasties such as the Qing Dynasty. The ancients called it “hand in hand”. Westerners greet each other by directly walking over to hug and kiss each other. The common etiquette of reaching out to shake hands with others in modern society also originates from Western society. As the main representative of Chinese painting, landscape painting, its artistic conception is tranquil and secluded. In order to pursue the purpose, Western oil painting, especially in the modern Fauvism and other genres, shows a kind of wildness and expansion, which can be seen from the paintings of painters such as Picasso, Matisse, Munch, and de Kooning. verified in. We can cite many such examples of life, and these examples actually reflect the differences in thinking between Chinese and Western races. This cultural difference is reflected in architecture, typical examples being the Notre Dame Cathedral in France and the Temple of Heaven in Beijing, China.
  Extreme holiness and grand solemnity
  What is architecture? Medieval popes gloomily said that architecture is the church in which we pray and redeem ourselves. The extravagant Romans were wiped out by the Germanic people who flourished in northern Europe because of the economic collapse and depression caused by excessive enjoyment. The original production was abandoned and backward due to the decline of slavery, and the trampling of the barbarians brought catastrophic destruction. All over Europe, the population is decimated, disease is rampant, savage ignorance is rampant. In the face of severe suffering, more Europeans chose religion and chose to rely on faith to realize the salvation of their souls. They are not like the ancient Chinese people who had Gangchang and famous religions to rule the society and appease people. They can only resort to religion. What fascinated the Europeans at this time was the salvation of Christianity and the infinite pursuit of a bright and blissful world, so Gothic architecture appeared.
  Notre Dame de Paris in France is the first typical Gothic building, witnessing the transition of European architecture from Romanesque to Gothic, Gothic to the so-called “Greco-Romanesque” during the Renaissance. First look – the appearance of Notre Dame de Paris: three side-by-side pointed arches, a huge rose window is embedded above the main entrance; there is a 100-meter-high spire in the upper part of the central hall. All the pillars are tall and slender, and are connected with the pointed arches and domes on the upper part; its lofty shape, together with the towering bell tower and minaret at the top, makes people feel a majestic rising to the blue sky. The rows of columns, the heavy arches, the layers of beams and the abrupt and exaggerated Gothic spires symbolize the strict hierarchy of Catholic society; those pointed arches that go straight into the sky represent the European medieval people’s fanatical admiration for the kingdom of heaven and the love of God. infinite worship. The interior of Notre Dame is also shocking. Outside the magnificent main hall, there are side halls on both sides, and there are cross transepts in the horizontal. This shows the breadth of Christianity, as a universally exclusive religion, that controls the minds of the general public. , depth, intensity, and the desire of good men and women to rush aboard God’s Noah’s Ark for the salvation of their souls. Its top is a huge dome, surrounded by huge pillars, and countless vertical lines attract people to look up to. The dome of dozens of meters high is faintly flickering in the dim light, making people’s original pious religious beliefs. Introducing extremes, leading their already wonderful fantasies to infinite madness, as if heaven was above, and they were in dialogue with God. The delicate and complex ornaments in the courtyard – gorgeous stained glass, finely crafted altars, songstands, screens, vivid statues, intricate flowers, leaf-shaped decorations, etc., all make us feel the aesthetics of the Middle Ages naturally. tendency. Although the Gothic style of Notre-Dame was mixed with some so-called classical touches in the later Renaissance, Notre-Dame, like other Gothic examples, allows us to see an era hidden in architecture. Spirit. In addition, from the comprehensive style of Notre Dame de Paris, we can also find a rule: art does not die, but only transforms from one form to another. The national culture is the fundamental internal gene of this transformation, and the spirit of the times is the direct driving force for such changes.
  Contrary to the extreme religious society of the Middle Ages in Europe, religious fanaticism rarely appeared in ancient China. It is such a national tradition that treats various religions equally and goes with the flow, which enables us to avoid the extreme superstition of medieval Europeans and the social backwardness and artistic decline caused by it. Our ancestors have not been swept away by the mysterious religious power and ruled by it, but have properly used the power of religious belief to comfort the unbalanced heart or susten unfulfilled wishes in order to obtain a kind of spiritual peace. And the ancient rulers also made good use of this to stabilize the hearts of the people and consolidate their rule. Chinese people also worship the gods like Westerners do worship, but their peaceful and peaceful state of mind is far from the extreme enthusiasm of the West. This can be seen from the architectural style of the Temple of Heaven in Beijing.
  The Temple of Heaven was built in the eighteenth year of Yongle in Ming Dynasty (1420), and was the place where the emperor worshipped the sky and prayed for the valley. The Temple of Heaven is nearly square, with two right angles on the south side and a circular arc on the north side.

It reflects the ancient Chinese understanding of heaven and earth, “the sky is round and the place is round”. The Temple of Heaven is surrounded by two altar walls, the center is called the “inner altar”, and the area between the two altar walls is called the “outer altar”. The scale and the number of components of the Temple of Heaven are concentrated and the number “nine” is used repeatedly to symbolize “heaven” and emphasize the connection with “heaven”. The Hall of Prayer for Good Harvest is located in the center of the composition in the north of the building axis. It is majestic and has a delicate structure. The circle and blue symbolize the sky. The pillars and bays in the hall also symbolize the four seasons of the year, the twenty-four solar terms, the twelve months and the one day. Twelve hours, stars, etc. The inner space of the hall rises and gathers in the center, and the outer eaves of the platform shrink and rise in layers, which not only creates a strong upward movement, but also makes people feel dignified and stable, making people walk into the altar like stepping on auspicious clouds and ascending to the heaven. . The building is under the backdrop of the ancient cypress forest, and it feels more solemn and solemn. The vegetation under the forest is natural. It is an ecological environment of “harmony between man and nature” created by the ancients. It has a unique garden style and is an important example of the garden setting off the altar space environment. The planning and design of the Temple of Heaven, the construction techniques and the construction of the environment all focus on creating an ideal atmosphere for dialogue between people and “Heaven”, which strongly shows the ancient people’s reverence for “Heaven”, as well as “the Son of Heaven”. The world” is unified and harmonious.
  From this we can see that, compared with Notre Dame de Paris, the Temple of Heaven is more grand and solemn of harmony between heaven and man, neutrality and peace. The architectural design of the Temple of Heaven profoundly reflects the core of the ancient Chinese cosmology—the unity of heaven and man, and with its exquisite design, strange style, and deep meaning, it reflects the ancient emperor as the “Son of Heaven”, who is between heaven and man. The unique role of communication shows from the side that the system characteristics of the supremacy of kingship and the unification of the world in ancient China are different from the supremacy of religious power in ancient Western times.
  Throughout the history of ancient architecture in the world, religious buildings often have extraordinary technological achievements and extraordinary artistic value. This is mainly due to the power of faith. Devotion and sublime feelings have created many great works. Religious architecture relies on the firm belief and selfless dedication of believers, and gathers the wisdom and labor of all people to create sublime works that are almost beyond the reach of human beings. An immortal monument. Through the above analysis, we can see that the overall character characteristics of Chinese culture are relatively introverted and closed, just like the graphic characteristics of yin and yang fish, which will inevitably lead to stagnation in design thinking. Traditional things are insurmountable peaks in the eyes of most Chinese people, and can only be partially inherited in a positive way. The expansion of the cross represents a spirit of aggression and exploration, as well as a spirit of “denial” and “rebellion”. A series of denials and rebellions have created the colorful appearance of Western modern architecture. One after another style is continuous, which constitutes a sharp contrast with the single architectural form of our country for thousands of years. This is undoubtedly worthy of our reflection. with reference.
  Of course, whether the infinite expansion of Western society and the infinite possession of the earth’s limited space and resources is conducive to the development of human society is also something that deserves our reflection.