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City Maps and Palace Designs

According to the Chin dynasty encyclopedic work Ku-chin-chu (An Examination of Historical Antiquities), "the term city means containing, because a city holds the capital of a state." It also advises "to build a city to protect the king and build a city wall to guard the citizens." These quotes succinctly illustrate the basic functions of a city in historical times. The first cities appeared in China during the late Neolithic period. Their emergence indicates that the development of Chinese civilization had progressed into a more advanced phase at the time. The birth of a city may be divided into three stages: the selection of a location, the migration of the populace, and the building of the city. The traditional rules governing city building are frequently addressed in historical literature.

Palace architecture was also an important issue in historical times, and the emergence of palace had conveyed important cultural connotations, because it demonstrated the centralization of power and the institution of social hierarchy. The palaces of each dynasty all exhibited different features. During the Ming and Ch'ing dynasties, for example, the palace architecture was quite spectacular, representing the supreme power of the emperor and the mysteriousness of the imperial households.

Chung-hsiu t'ai-chün ke-chien-chu t'u-shuo: t'ai-wan chün-ch'eng-t'u
(Diagrams Showing the Reconstruction of Various Structures in the Prefecture of Taiwan:
Map of the Prefecture of Taiwan)

Ch'ien-lung reign (1736-1795), Ch'ing dynasty, Ink and color on paper, 33×41.5 cmChung-hsiu t'ai-chün ke-chien-chu t'u-shuo: t'ai-wan chün-ch'eng-t'u (New window)

Wu-men chih cheng-yang-men hsiu-pu-t'u
(Map of Repairs for the Cheng-yang and Wu-men Gates)

Ch'ing dynasty, Ink and color on paper, 69×263 cmWu-men chih cheng-yang-men hsiu-pu-t'u (New window)

Kwang-tung-sheng-shu ko-chou-fu-hsien ti-yü t'u-shuo
(Map of the Counties in Kwangtung Province)

Ch'ing dynasty, Ink and color on paper, 48×133 cmKwang-tung-sheng-shu ko-chou-fu-hsien ti-yü t'u-shuo (New window)