What Number was Used Often in Ancient China’s Architectural Design

Sometimes due to events in our lives, we end up doing things we are not passionate about. It is never too late to acquire new knowledge especially if you are really interested about a certain topic.

Personally, I am really into architecture. Hence the topic of this blog post.

Ancient China’s Architecture

As a fan of architecture, I’d like to talk about my fascination about Ancient China’s architectural design. Did you know that in Ancient China, they followed a certain numerical pattern in building their establishments? Every detail has a certain meaning whenever they built something.

Beliefs and Rituals

My friend being being half Chinese, we were often guided by his father about Feng Shui. He went through explaining what it meant to their family. Believe it or not, even where you positioned your bed had a significance. I have learned a lot from my friend’s dad and although we did not fully believe him at first, we still followed his advice. There was honestly no harm in trying.

Later I realised that these rituals have been adapted through generations, centuries, or even a millennium! Giving it more credibility backed up by a lot of logical theories. These rituals have also been observed in ancient architecture.

Architectural bilateral symmetry

A very important note in Chinese architecture is to have an emphasis on articulation and bilateral symmetry which signifies balance. Bilateral symmetry and the articulation of buildings are often observed everywhere in Chinese architecture.

Buildings are typically planned to have an even number of columns in a structure to produce an odd number of bays.

In contrast to the buildings, the Chinese gardens tend to be asymmetrical. The principle underlying the garden’s composition is to create enduring flow. The design and arrangement tends to be as flexible as possible to let people feel they are surrounded by and in harmony with nature


Imperial China’s architecture was heavily influenced by numerology. It is related to any belief in the divine or mystical relationship between a number and one or more coinciding events. It is also the study of the numerical value of the letters in words, names, and ideas. Often, it was associated with the paranormal, alongside astrology and similar divinatory arts.

This is also why the Forbidden City in Beijing is said to have 9,999 rooms, just short of the mythical 10,000 rooms in heaven.

Moving forward..

Architecture make a lot of difference in the world today. Especially at this time of age wherein a lot of buildings are being created. It is actually very comforting to know that there are people who take in every detail into consideration. Giving them meaning. Making structures feel more alive. Imagine extracting a story out of every brick.

We are surrounded by numbers in our daily lives. There are a lot of reasons to believe that ancient china’s architecture made a lot of sense back then. It helped a lot of people strengthen their belief.