Tag Archives: roofs

Forbidden City Roof lines

Looking over the Forbidden City from Jingshan Park.
Rooflines and their lines of guardians, and lines of decorative tiles.
Tile roofs and guardians
More lines on roofs, and a nice line of guardians.

I find traditional Chinese roofs fascinating. The Forbidden City is a great place for roof watchers. The picture below isn’t square, but it contains information about the guardians.

Descriptions of the roof guardians seen on Chinese traditional buildings.
The roof guardians on traditional Chinese buildings.

For Becky of Winchester’s Lines & Squares-day 29

Roof Squares

If it wasn’t for the last minute…Instead of 30 posts, 30 photos in one gallery, but they are all square.

Since so many of the blogs I follow have been posting to the Roof Squares Challenge I found myself taking more pictures of roofs while we were on vacation than I would have otherwise. I began to have a chimney pot obsession toward the end.

China A to Z: R is for Rooftops and their guardians

Looking down on rooftops is something that often gives me a sense of where I am. Here are views from the highest point in Beijing:

The classic tiled curved roof lines show up somewhere in almost every rooftop picture I take in China. The Forbidden City probably has the highest density of them, but they are pretty common in other places as well. They are reserved for (or, perhaps, best preserved as) the roofs of temples and the homes of the wealthy. However, more modern buildings, such as hotels, will also have them to attract attention.

The shape, in older, traditional buildings, comes from the dougong construction method:



Rooftop Guradians

On the older tile roofs there will often be figures that are called “guardians”.


The more guardians the more important the building. The most important building in China, the Hall of Supreme Harmony has eleven.


All other buildings have ten or fewer.