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The most likely is that it was borrowed, for purely aesthetic reasons, from China’s Southeast Asian neighbours, who cover their houses with bamboo, which tend to sag naturally, presenting a picturesque effect.
The upswept eaves at the corners of the Chinese roof, however, do have a structural function in reducing what would otherwise be an excessive overhang at that point.
This entire system of regularity produced an architecture that changed but little and therefore could be “read” with great clarity by all.
It defined, with little ambiguity, who could go where and shaped a world that told everyone their place in it.
The timber building is limited in depth by the span of the truss, with the weight of the roof growing three times with every doubling of depth; structurally, however, the building might be of any length along the front, although in theory it ought not to exceed 13 bays and may never actually have exceeded 11 bays in the more recent dynasties.
Only rarely has the corbeled dome (in which each successive course projects inward from the course below it) been used for temples and tombs.
The radical standardization of Chinese architecture was best expressed in its system of measurement, which by the Song dynasty had developed eight different grades of measure, depending upon the status of the buildings and of individual buildings within a given compound.
The unit of measure (a given inch) was larger for a more important building; the buildings flanking and facing it would use a slightly smaller unit, and so forth.
Unused to any major variation, the Chinese became unusually sensitive to subtle architectural differentiation.
Qing dynasties lies rather in the lightweight effect and the richness of painted decoration.