Mu Ta Wooden Pagoda

It blows me away that this pagoda was built in the 11th century and was constructed with no nails.  It is one of the oldest wooden buildings in the world, and yet huge and magnificently ambitious.  It is in a small town between Taiyuan and Datong–just all by itself in an otherwise nondescript landscape.  The building actually leans slightly and there is concern about its eventual failure.  But, for now, it just seems remarkably ancient and resilient.

Wood joinery is impressive in so many traditional Chinese buildings.

Timbers are massive. You see very few trees currently in the landscape that could produce this size pieces.

The complexity of the joinery combined with the complexity of the polygonal geometry makes for some tricky intersections.

Thinking about Cultural Identity
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Posted August 3, 2010