A common sight in the country, the Chinese pavilion (ting, which means also a kiosk) is built normally either of wood or stone or bamboo with any of several shapes - square, triangle, hexagon, octagon, a five-petal flower, a fan and more. But all pavilions have columns for support without walls. In parks or some scenic places, pavilions are built on slopes to command the panorama or are built by the lakeside to create intriguing images by water.
Pavilions also serve diverse purposes. The wayside pavilion is called Liangting (cooling kiosk) to provide weary wayfarers with a place for rest. The "stele pavilion" gives a roof to a stone tablet to protect the engraved record of an important event. Pavilions also stand by bridges or over water-wells. In the latter case, dormer windows are built to allow the sun to cast its rays into the well as it has been the belief that water untouched by the sun would cause disease. Occasionally you will find two pavilions standing side by side like twins. In modern times, kiosks have been erected in urban areas as postal stalls, newsstands or photographers" sheds for snapshot services.
Rare among pavilions are those built of bronze. The most celebrated of these is Baoyunge Pavilion of Precious Clouds in Beijing"s Summer Palace. The entire structure including its roof and columns is cast in bronze. Metallic blue in colour, it is 7. 5 metres tall and weighs 207 tons. Elegant and dignified, it is popularly known as the "Gold Pavilion. "
The largest pavilion in China is also in the Summer Palace. The ancient building, named Kuoruting (the Pavilion of Expanse), has a floor space of 130 square metres. Its roof, converging in a crown on top and resting on three rings of columns (24 round ones and 16 square ones), is octagonal in form and has two eaves. With all its woodwork colourfully painted, the pavilion looks at once poised and majestic, well in harmony with the surrounding open landscape.