Timber Jointing Systems - Joints were favoured over metal fixings. The interlocking and overlapping columns and crossbeams made the roofs not just strong, but also interesting to look at
Graceful Curved Shapes - The upturned eaves on roof corners are the most identifiable mark of Chinese roof architecture. The upturned roof design appeared during the Han Dynasty (206 BC – 220 AD) and were the standard type used until the Song Dynasty (960 – 1279). Ancient Chinese roofs had wide eaves, which could shield the walls below from all but the fiercest wind-driven rain. This characteristic kept the internal pillars and brackets, which were usually made of stone or wood, protected from erosion caused by rainwater.
Hip roofs (庑殿顶 wǔdiàndǐng or 四阿顶 sìādǐng), with all sides sloping, were the classiest traditional roof style, used for special constructions.
There were two kinds of hip roof: single-eave and double-eave. Double eaves were only used in royal palaces and Confucian temples (in this case) during the Ming (1368–1644) and Qing (1644–1912) dynasties. The roof of the Hall of Supreme Harmony in the Forbidden City is the best example.
Encaustic tiles were the most common material used for ancient Chinese roofs. They provided good protection against fire, stayed waterproof, and were good for drainage.
Residential buildings weren't allowed yellow glazed tiles, which were reserved for use on royal buildings.
Immortal guardian (行什 hángshí)
- A row of mythical animal figures was placed on the tails of the ridges at the four corners. These ridge beasts were called 'crouching beasts' in Chinese and most of them were from Chinese fairy tales.
They not only played a decorative role, but also highlighted Chinese beliefs. Ancient Chinese people believed that these mythical ridge beasts on the roofs would prevent fire and drive away demons