Chinese characters and the spirit of place in China

Deng Siqi*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


Writing, or calligraphy, in China is strongly influenced by ancient techniques of making art. Chinese characters have evolved from the patterns of bronze drawings, and China’s earliest hieroglyphs usually retain the traces of their origin in paintings. These paintings usually recorded daily life, and the related Chinese characters have evolved from these with general, simplified and abstract features. The composition that makes Chinese characters is a manifestation of ancient Chinese philosophy, of which Confucianism, Taoism and Buddhism are the three key strands. They have affected Chinese culture and aesthetics in all dynasties. Chinese philosophy emphasizes the integration of individuals in their surrounding environment. The art of ancient China consequently combines skills that relate to the artificial, or constructed, and to natural patterns. Chinese characters make a perfect example of this. The article/presentation will outline the research that I have so far undertaken on the relation between Chinese calligraphy and architectural space, between writing and constructing environments. It will also present some experimental design research that aims at developing from the above-mentioned basic research new architectural typologies that are contemporary, resonant and sensitive to the Chinese context.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)99-111
Number of pages13
JournalTechnoetic Arts
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2018
Externally publishedYes


  • Aesthetics
  • Calligraphy
  • Chinese characters
  • Experience
  • Spirit of place
  • Traditional architecture


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