Confucianism and architecture: a case study of Qiantong village in Ningbo

  • dexin Li

Student thesis: MRes Thesis


This thesis is a case study on the role of Confucian culture in the development and evolution of villages. The selected case is Qiantong (前童) village in Ningbo City(宁波市), Zhejiang Province, China. Qiantong village is a typical clan village deeply influenced by Confucian culture and its architectural concept has been almost completely implemented along with the political and economic changes in past 800 years. At present, the historical buildings in Qiantong village are well preserved, known as "living fossil of ancient village" and "the first Confucian village in Jiangnan". What kind of architectural wisdom can be found through the formation, development and evolution of Qiantong village? How does Confucian culture play a guiding role in the village development process? This research focuses on the planning and architecture of Qiantong village. Through historical analysis and field investigation, this thesis tries to clearly show the development context of Qiantong village architecture from the 6th year of Shaoding (绍定) in the Southern Song Dynasty (南宋绍定年间AD 1233) to the present day, and analyzes the specific impact of Confucian culture on the formation and evolution of Qiantong village architecture. The author hopes that through the case analysis of the development and evolution of Qiantong village architecture, some enlightenment can be brought to the development of rural architecture in China.

The thesis consists of five chapters. The first chapter is the introduction, through the analysis of the challenges and opportunities faced by traditional village architecture, combined with the literature review and the discussion of the problems in the current scholarship, this thesis defines the research objectives and contents, and selects the research methods and research techniques suitable for this thesis. The second chapter is the environmental analysis of the site, and studies the natural and cultural environmental factors affecting the architectural development and evolution of Qiantong Village. The third chapter studies the expression of Confucian culture in Qiantong Village Architecture. The fourth chapter studies the reasons for the formation of Confucian style village architecture in Qiantong. The fifth chapter is the summary of the full thesis, and puts forward some suggestions for future research.
Date of Award17 May 2022
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • University of Nottingham
SupervisorJing Xie (Supervisor) & Wu Deng (Supervisor)


  • Qiantong Village(前童村); Confucianism; Architecture; Clan settlement type village; Tong family(童氏家族).

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