Daily Archives: February 18, 2011

Preview — History of Bricks: China

From Mesopotamia, sweeping across the Middle East to the Indian Subcontinent’s Indus Valley, we have learned that bricks became an important economic vehicle and a means of improving the quality of life for untold numbers. This unassuming building material affected worldwide change in a most amazing way. Tomorrow, we will focus on China in our quest for that humble little rectangle of clay. China’s story also starts during the Neolithic, but because we are now fairly grounded in it and the transition to the Copper Age, I hope to concentrate more on the beauty and artwork of the brick, as made and used in China, in addition to any differences in its properties. There are many treasures, including the Porcelain Tower of Nanjing. “The tower was built with white porcelain bricks that were said to reflect the sun’s rays during the day, and at night as many as 140 lamps were hung from the building to illuminate the tower,” according to Wikipedia. We will also consider the energetics of clay. The Chinese culture is the only one I know of that has a system of esthetics that affects where objects are placed and what building materials used: Feng Shui. According its principles, brick is an Earth Element and, as such, is to be used in specific ways within and outside the home to create an energetic atmosphere that will make the best use of this element’s properties. Today, in closing, I will leave you with a map of the largest and most imposing edifice made of brick in China. The famous Great Wall consists of many walls made of brick and stone.

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