A Look at the Architectural Cultural Exchange Between East and West During the Yuan and Ming Dynasties from the Brick-Vaulted Bathroom Outside Nanjing’s Zhonghua Gate – A Secondary Publication
This article belongs toSecondary Publication Section, and is translated by Douglas Ellsworth from an article published in Journal of Architecture History《建筑史学刊. Citation of primary version: Ying Bai, Tao Chen, 2021, The Domed Bathhouse Near Zhonghua Gate of Nanjing and the Architectural Exchange between East and West Asia in the 13th and 14th Centuries. Journal of Architecture History, 2(1):145-157. http://dx.doi.org/http://dx.doi.org/10.12329/20969368.2021.01013
There is a brick-vault roofed bathroom building, commonly known as the Cistern Hall (Wengtang), opposite the Grand Baoen Temple Heritage and Scenic Area near the Zhonghua Gate in Nanjing. This article analyzes its shape and characteristics by means of a 3D scan that surveys and maps out 2019 data on the site. On this basis, this article suggests that the bathroom may have been built as an annex to the Grand Baoen Temple in the early Ming dynasty. This kind of bathroom design originated in West Asia, entered China during the Yuan dynasty (1271-1368) and became popular in the Jiangnan region during the Ming (1368-1644) and Qing (1644-1911) dynasties. In a lively exchange of architectural ideas, it bore witness to rich, in-depth architectural cultural exchanges between China, Central Asia, and West Asia in the Yuan and Ming dynasties.
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