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Archit & Design
Storeyed Pavilion (Ge)

The Chinese Ge is similar to the Lou in that both are of two or more storey buildings. The difference between them is that the Ge has a door and windows only on the front side with the other three sides being solid walls. Moreover, Ge is usually enclosed by wooden balustrades or decorated with boards all around.

Such storeyed pavilions were used in ancient times for the storage of important articles and documents. Wenyuange for instance, in the Forbidden City of Beijing was in effect the imperial library. Kuiwenge in the Confucius Temple of Qufu, Shandong Province was devoted to the safekeeping of the books and works of painting and calligraphy bestowed by the courts of various dynasties. Visitors to the city of Ningbo, Zhejiang Province, can still see Tianyige, which houses the greatest private collection of books handed down from the past. Monasteries of a large size normally have their own libraries built in the style of a ge and called cangjingge to keep their collections of Buddhist scriptures. Some of the ge, notably those erected in parks, like other pavilions or towers (ting, tai and lou), were used for enjoying the sights.

The name ge is also used to describe the towers which shelter the colossal statues one finds in some great monasteries. A prominent example is the Guanyinge of Dulesi Temple in Jixian County of Hebei Province. Twenty-three metres high and housing the huge idol of the Goddess of Mercy (Guanyin), it is the oldest exitsing multiple-storeyed structure of its kind in China. Built in the Liao Dynasty (916 - 1125 A. D. ), it has withstood twenty-eight earthquakes including three of a devastating nature. When all the houses in the area collapsed, it was the only one that survived the disaster. This goes to show how well its wooden frame was structured. Other well-known religious buildings housing Buddhist statues, big or small, include Foxiangge in Beijing"s Summer Palace, Dashengge in Chengde"s Puningsi Temple and Zhenwuge in Ronxian of Guangdong Province. All of them, tall, graceful and dignified, can be listed as representative works of classical Chinese architecture.

Chenghuang Ge

Penglai Ge

Tengwang Ge

Zhenwu Ge

 

 
   
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