Han Dynasty Architecture - Ancient China
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Han Dynasty Architecture

Eastern Han watchtower
Eastern Han watchtower (an ancient Chinese
model, now in the Metropolitan Museum of Art)

January 2017 - By the time of the Han Dynasty, about 200 BC, architects were building all kinds of different buildings including watchtowers, palaces, temples, and store-houses. Architects started to experiment with more complicated roofs, using gables and overhanging eaves. They also started to experiment with building in baked brick during the Han Dynasty - just about the same time as Roman architects were beginning to build in brick at the other end of Eurasia.

In the 200s BC, people in China learned about Buddhism, the new religion from India, and so they started to build Buddhist temples for the first time. These early Han Dynasty Buddhist temples look like Indian temples or stupas from the same time. They are wooden towers.

Learn by doing: build a watch-tower, a palace, or a temple out of Lego bricks
More about the Han Dynasty
Han Dynasty art
Three Kingdoms architecture

Bibliography and further reading about ancient Chinese architecture:

Han Dynasty History
Han Dynasty Art
Three Kingdoms Architecture
More about Chinese Architecture
Ancient China


For Presidents' Day, check out our articles about Washington in the Revolutionary War and Lincoln in the Civil War. Find out about the Constitution, the Bill of Rights and the other Amendments, and how Washington promised to include freedom of religion.
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Karen Carr is Associate Professor Emerita, Department of History, Portland State University. She holds a doctorate in Classical Art and Archaeology from the University of Michigan. Follow her on Instagram or Twitter.
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