The commercial street as “frozen” festival: a study in Chinese mercantile traditions

Gao, Yun, Temple, Nicholas and Li, Yan (2018) The commercial street as “frozen” festival: a study in Chinese mercantile traditions. Architecture and culture, 6 (3). pp. 411-421. ISSN 2050-7828

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Abstract / Description

Amidst the skyscrapers of many contemporary Chinese cities, commercial streets have emerged in traditional Chinese styles that serve as places to host festive celebrations and to satisfy everyday leisure and commercial needs. Buildings along these streets operate at one level as ritual “encasements” that frame festival processions, and thereby “speak” of ceremonial meanings. These framing devices constitute material remnants of past festival events, periodically reactivated as public spectacles or during momentary episodes of individual or collective recollection. This study explores themes relating to these intersections between building and festive occasion through an examination of two traditionally designed commercial streets in China. It argues that architecture in these two cases presents in different ways a “foregrounding” of festivals, in which participants are reminded of previous events. Architectural elements and their details serve as substitutes for words, recapitulating the verbal and gestural meanings of festivals through design language.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: commercialism, temporality, mercantile traditions, Chinese architecture, consumerism, festivals, rituals.
Subjects: 100 Philosophy & psychology
100 Philosophy & psychology > 180 Ancient, medieval & eastern philosophy
200 Religion
200 Religion > 290 Other religions
300 Social sciences
300 Social sciences > 380 Commerce, communications & transportation
300 Social sciences > 390 Customs, etiquette & folklore
400 Language
400 Language > 490 Other languages
700 The arts; fine & decorative arts
700 The arts; fine & decorative arts > 710 Civic & landscape art
700 The arts; fine & decorative arts > 720 Architecture
700 The arts; fine & decorative arts > 730 Plastic arts; sculpture
800 Literature & rhetoric
800 Literature & rhetoric > 890 Literatures of other languages
900 History & geography > 950 History of Asia; Far East
Department: The School of Art, Architecture and Design
Depositing User: Nicholas Temple
Date Deposited: 07 Aug 2020 16:32
Last Modified: 07 Aug 2020 16:32

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