April 26, 2009

Architecture of Ancient China: Bridges

Zhaozhou Bridge also known as Anchi Bridge is the world's oldest open-spandrel stone segmental arch bridge cross the Jiao River, about 50 m long with a central span of 37.37 m. It stands 7.3 m tall and has a width of 9 m. Credited to the design of a craftsman named Li Chun, the bridge was constructed in the years 595-605 during the Sui Dynasty (581–618). Located in the southern part of Hebei Province, it is the oldest standing bridge in China. In the next 1400 years, the bridge survived at least eight wars, ten major floods and numerous earthquakes, the nearest of which being the 7.2 degree Xingtai Earthquake in 1966. Yet, the support structure remains intact and the bridge is still in use. Only the ornamental railings have been replaced every few hundred years.

Precious Belt Bridge is a Chinese stone arch bridge located near the city of Suzhou, Jiangsu Province, China. The Precious Belt Bridge is located at the intersection of the Grand Canal and Dantai Lake, about 2.5 kilometer south east of Suzhou. The first construction of the bridge dates back to the year 816 AD, during the mid Tang Dynasty. The bridge's span is 317 m long and has a width of 4.1 m, with a total of 53 arches in its span. The three central arches are enlarged to allow for the passage of - by historical standards - larger river vessels without masts. The average span of each arch is 4.6 m.

Anlan Bridge is suspension bridge with Rope made from bamboo, crosses the Minjiang River bestriding the water of the Inner Canal and Outer Canal to connect Erwang Temple with the Dujiangyan Irrigation System.Anlan Bridge is 261 meters long. It is supported by wooden pegs and stone piers. The bridge crosses the river by using bamboo ropes. The bridge is secured by bamboo ropes on two sides, in length of which are about 500 meters each. When the bridge was restored, steel ropes were used instead of bamboo ropes. The wooden pegs which supported the cable were changed to ferroconcrete pegs, and the length of the bridge become 240 meters.

Chengyang Bridge also known as Yongji Bridge or Panlong Bridge, spans the Linxi River of Sanjiang County. Built in 1916, it is 64.4 meters long, 3.4 meters wide and 10.6 meters high. Constructed with wood and stones, the surface of the bridge is paved with wooden boards and both sides are inlayed with railings. On the bridge itself, there are five tower-like kiosks with 'horns' and eaves which resemble the flapping wings of birds. It is the best one among the wind and rain bridges in Dong stockade villages. At present, it is the largest wind and rain bridge also it is the crystal of Dong people's wisdom; it is one of the artistic precious things of Chinese wood architecture.

Stamp Issue: 1962-05-15

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