Libmonster ID: CN-1218
Author(s) of the publication: E. M. BREUS

(CHINA, TIANJIN, 2004-2010)


Post-graduate student of the Institute of Ethnology and Anthropology of the Russian Academy of Sciences

China Keywords:Tianjintraditional and modern urban planning, feng shuicultural landscape

Modern China is changing before our eyes, integrating new technological urban development trends. Soaring glass skyscrapers seem to have broken the link of time, leaving behind the ancient principles of organizing the ideal space for living. At the same time, as a rule, the historical part of the city is sometimes turned into a museum or even recreated "according to ancient models". By connecting geography and history, the state turns the urban landscape into a means of ideological influence. Such historical and geographical interspersions in the processes of modern urban planning, launched in the era of reforms and openness, most likely pursue the goal of filling certain objects with reminders that the land belongs to the local population1, and this is a key moment for creating an ethno-landscape and forming nations.2

Today, similar processes are taking place in many countries of the world. On the one hand, there is a global tendency to "develop" historical heritage by selecting" necessary "and" unnecessary "events to construct a local identity. 3 On the other hand, this process is closely related to the formation of the tourist services market, which requires distinctive national display objects that "saturate" geographical landscapes historical content. Each city approaches this problem individually, striving to cultivate its distinctive features, relying on its historical heritage.

Against this background, a special role is played by Tiangjin, located in the northern part of China, which has a relatively short history of development on a Chinese scale, but played a significant role in the XIX century.

Tyapjin was founded in the Middle Ages in accordance with the traditional canons of urban planning, which is reflected in its toponymy. According to legend, where the Yongle Emperor (Ming Dynasty, early 15th century) waded through the river, the city of Tientsin4 was founded, the name of which consists of two hieroglyphs: tien - "sky" and jin - "crossing", i.e. - "sky crossing". At the same time, it is a port city, despite the fact that it is about 50-60 km away from Bohai Bay. The center is connected to the coast by a waterway - the Haihe River.


History so ordered that the main trace in the appearance of Tianjin was left by foreign settlements of the XIX century. Tianjin was the center of Western life in central China. The first western hospital and medical school were established here, and in 1914 the first paved and railway lines, as well as tram and electric lines, were laid. A nature museum, European theaters and art galleries were founded. In 1895, the first Western university in China (now Tianjin University) was opened. In 1919, Nankai University was opened - the most famous private university in China at that time.

Finally, the most dramatic changes occurred in the city at the beginning of the twenty - first century.2004 - 2005 is an extremely attractive time to observe, when pre-Olympic preparations, which greatly accelerated modernization processes, were just beginning to unfold in Tianjin. Changes in the city occurred at lightning speed, following the online movement of the mouse cursor of the main city architect. Where a public road passes today, tomorrow fences will be erected, a park and a pond will be laid out, looking as if they have been here since the founding of the city. No one warns anyone about anything and does not ask, people calmly perceive as a fact that now you need to go to university or work half an hour earlier, because the new river can only be crossed by a bridge that is half a kilometer away from the previous path...

But surely there must be some meaning to it?

Cities in China were built in accordance with the traditional urban planning canon, first recorded in the treatise Zhou Li-Zhou rituals. It prescribed to plan the city in the form of a square with a side of 9 li (4500 m). In addition, "fortress walls should surround such a city from all four sides. Moreover, three city gates should be arranged on each side. The inner territory of the city should be intersected by streets oriented to the cardinal directions (9 streets in the latitudinal direction and 9 in the meridian direction). The width of the streets was set in 9 axles of a wheeled cart " 5.

Based on this philosophical and ideological approach, urban planning reached its heyday by the VI-XII centuries, as can be seen in the example of such cities as Chang'an, Luoyang, Banliang, Zhongdu, where " the basic principles were finally established and formed: regularity, based on a rectangular grid of streets, the width of which was determined by their functional purpose; square building system; symmetry, which provides for the presence of the main and second-

Feng shui (Chinese, lit. "wind and water"), sometimes called geomancy , is a Taoist practice of symbolic exploration of space.

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power axes, highlighting the central south-north axis by setting up the main ensembles and complexes on it; orientation of the rectangular territory of the city to the cardinal directions; fortress character of the city surrounded by walls and moats or canals, etc. " 6.

Since its foundation, Tianjin also had its own fortress walls: "the main streets of the city were oriented to the cardinal directions, and the intersection of the main streets was fixed with a monumental Drum Tower"7Today, this cradle of the city is only one of the central quarters. The names of Nanmei Weidajie, "The Outer Main Street of the South Gate" and Beimen Weidajie, "The Outer Main Street of the North Gate"prove that old Tianjin was located here. And indeed, they start in the middle of the corresponding streets, where the historical city gates should be located. On the east side, the city is adjacent to the Haihe River, but on the west side, the street is called Siguandajie - "The main street of the western outpost". Thus, according to modern toponymy, Tianjin was originally built in compliance with all traditional urban planning canons.

The name of the inner streets of the old city is directly related to the central dominant - the Drum Tower, from which the Northern, Eastern, Southern and Western streets of the Drum Tower radiate. Thanks to the efforts of the city government, it still looks like new in the XXI century. But, despite the traditional name, today the bell takes the place of honor of the drum. Within the old city, the Temple of the patron Saint of the city of Chenghuang (Chenghuangmiao) and the Temple of Confucius (Wenmiao) are located.

In the nineteenth century, as an eyewitness, Hesse - Warteg, noted, "the inner part of the city, like almost everywhere else in China, is surrounded by a wall, outside of which several large suburbs have grown in recent decades, richer, more lively and more populated than the city itself."8. Since Tianjin was opened to the West in August 1860 as a result of the Second Opium War, foreign concessions began to form here, the main ones being:

British, French, German, Italian, Russian, Austro-Hungarian, Japanese, Belgian, and American. Thus, at the beginning of the 20th century, the map of Tianjin was a "patchwork quilt".

From that time to the present day, many buildings of the former British concession founded in 1860 on the west bank of the Haihe River have been preserved: the British Club (1925), Gordon Hall (1889), and the Astor Hotel (1886). In 1942, the British area was occupied by Japanese troops, and in 1945, the area was occupied by Japanese troops. passed into the hands of the Chinese government. Many buildings of the French concession (founded in 1861) retained their original appearance about a century later: French Consulate, French Club, Catholic Cathedral, etc.

Noteworthy is the former Japanese concession (1888). The last Chinese Emperor Pu Yi moved here in 1924, forced to leave the Forbidden Palace, and lived here until 1931, and then was transported by the Japanese army to Dalian.

The Russian concession, founded in 1900, has existed here for almost 20 years. Initially, it was an area exceeding 398 hectares, which, as the map of 1938 shows, was riddled with streets with Russian names: im. St. Nicholas, Alexandra, Alexey, as well as the streets of Tomsk, Irkutsk, Kostroma, etc. Time has preserved very few buildings of that era, and only in the archives can you now find traces of some of them9Those who remained survived the" cultural revolution "thanks to Chairman Mao's words that:" The inner courtyards (Siheyuan) of Beijing and the Western-style buildings of Tianjin are treasures. " 10

Modern improvement of the city was started in 2003 according to the plan called "Haihe River Development Plan".


Everything would be fine if the buildings were really preserved as historical monuments. Maybe it's just that there's too much history in China, but in other countries, it's just that there's too much history in the world.

In Tianjin, it is too small, and is it really history-the buildings of foreign concessions that sought to take over the country?..

So, if you look closely, the processes of preservation and restoration in this case are replaced by the processes of construction again, and the new models somewhat change the essence of what is happening.

First of all, according to the development plan, the historical cradle of the city was restored. On the site of the former citadel, the Gulou "Old Tower" and Guvenhuajie"Ancient Culture Street" neighborhoods with the Tianjin Theater Museum-an open stage organically integrated into the shopping street system, where you can see traditional theater performances-were built. In short, old Tianjin has been resurrected to a new life.

Then objects of foreign origin - original buildings and other urban structures-were restored and controlled. So, for example, in the decoration of the bridge, which is located in close proximity to the former Italian quarter, figurative elements of Ionic columns are used, referring to the Hellenistic heritage. Nearby are gilded sculptures of girls in flowing clothes holding the traditional Chinese instrument kunkou - an ancient zither with 5-25 strings. The decor of the arch of one of the spans of this bridge from the inside is a Europeanized floral ornament, but from the outside it is crowned with the head of a dragon with an open mouth.

History saturation process-

page 73

The main purpose of which is not to perpetuate an outstanding person or event, but to show a "scene from a past life" or a phenomenon that took place. For example, on Machandao - "The street leading to the racetrack" there are sculptures of a jockey and a horse. A bronze carriage drawn by a pair of horses, without a coachman or passengers, installed on the street of the former French concession, as if invites you to play European history in "our" Chinese city. The same function is performed by a huge clock, reminiscent of England, with the characters Udadao - "Five Main streets".


In accordance with traditional ideas, only the observance of urban planning and geomantic canons 11 can ensure a harmonious interaction of natural forces between themselves and humans. Tianjin is a city where the overall harmony has been disrupted by the activities of foreigners 12But, according to legend, knowing the laws of geomancy, a person can change the shape of any terrain, and therefore turn harmful natural influences into favorable ones, i.e. correct bad feng shui.

Feng Shui is a special system of traditional Chinese natural philosophy views13, in which a person is considered as one of the creative principles of the universe, its ordering and harmonization. "The earth requires human help to create full perfection. Both heaven and Earth are perfect in themselves, but it is up to man to complete this perfection. In other words, the natural contours of the earth's surface contain many opportunities for active human intervention."14 However, coordinates for creativity are also set: "landscape" and "landscape" in Chinese sound like shan shui-"mountain and water"; and, in turn, shan he-literally "mountain and water".mountain and river", translated as " territory [of the country]"; "native land", "homeland". The perception of the mountain as a multi-vertex system, traditionally understood through the image of a dragon, is indicated by the character shan (mountain) - one of the ancient signs-keys of the indivisible units of the Chinese language - which is a schematic representation of three peaks on one base, i.e.e. the multiplicity of peaks is an integral feature of mountains both in the Chinese landscape and in the linguistic picture of the world. A perfectly defined base of a mountain range in nature can exist only when the foot of the mountain is washed by water, which in its unity makes up the image of the landscape. It is logical that in the framework of Feng Shui, "mountain and water" are considered in a complex way, and it is prescribed to systematically organize their mutual influence within a certain area.

Thus, in the spirit of beautification, the modern Tianjin authorities plant a certain kind of landscape elements - "concrete mountain ranges", designed to serve as a reminder that Tianjin is still a Chinese city, and not a foreign one. They are usually installed in the former colonial part of the city, i.e. in the center of modern Tianjin.

The most picturesque of them are located on Pubuguanchan - "Waterfall Square" near the First Central Hospital of the Medical University. Here, the Jinhe River, which runs parallel to the city street from the north, makes a 90-degree turn and flows strictly to the east. "Concrete mountains" installed on its bank, in accordance with traditional ideas about the Chinese landscape, the artistic framing of the river, bend along the riverbed at the same right angle, thanks to modern methods of reinforced concrete structures that allow you to form any monolithic volumes.

Perhaps the largest of the "artificial mountains" complexes is included in the panorama of one of the central squares of Tianjin -a wide perspective plan, with multi-peaked brown mountains on the horizon. This complex is not only an important addition to the landscape of the city, but also a fragment of the "Tianjin Amusement Park", in which the attraction"rafting in a boat on a mountain river" is arranged here. And in the old town space, the souvenir market near the Drum Tower also has its own "mini-mountains" with a miniature lake at the foot.

Irreplaceable satellites of mountains, according to Feng Shui, are rivers that in Tianjin carry their waters, often corresponding to the cardinal directions. If you need to change their course, they do it immediately, without ceremony, almost at right angles and often end in a dead end, which indicates their decorative and symbolic purpose.

With modern technologies, it is not so difficult to change the space of the city: to create favorable water flows, which, in turn, with the help of

page 74

systems of pedestrian and automobile bridges organize residential areas, redirecting the flow of people. This creates the illusion of orderly movement around the city, such as in ancient times.

The territory of Nankai University also fell under the list of objects in need of "feng shui correction". Here, as nowhere else in Tianjin, the basic principle was implemented - "observe the big situation through the small" 15-the formation of a local space in the likeness of an entire city: the university is surrounded on all sides by a high fence 16, and you can only get to the campus through special gates oriented to the cardinal directions. The main ones are considered to be the Eastern ones, because they face one of the busiest streets of the city, which is the address of the university. From the East Gate, a bridge spans the Weijinghe River, which creates the feeling of an inner citadel.

The southern gate is made officially, granite cladding adds rigor. Here is the main building of the university, in front of which there is a monument to Zhou Enlai, in memory of the fact that at the beginning of the XX century.the future head of the State Council studied for several years in a high school at Nankai University. This section of the campus is designed in a simple style so that even from the outside there is no bridge over the Jinhe (2004-2005). You can get out of the gate,but you can't get into the city anymore. The Jinhe River Bridge is located at the very end of the block - in the western part of the campus, where daily life is bustling. There are dormitories, residential buildings where teachers, students, as well as all those who work at the university in the economic and administrative part live. Here is the "unofficial" gate of the university-the South-western one - a "profane" stand-in for the "sacred" southern gate, since even on the map it is not marked either as a bridge or as a gate.

The western gate opens onto the roadway Baidilu Street. They are similar in many ways to the Eastern ones: they are functionally justified.

There is a guard here who keeps order. There is also the final stop of the local electric car, which runs as a shuttle bus on the territory of the university. This gate is unremarkable, except for the fact that there is just an axis road connecting the East and West Gates.

In the autumn of 2004, the inner territory of the university, as well as the city as a whole, was almost a continuous construction project: academic buildings and student dormitories were being built. Near the entrance to the construction site, a poster was placed with the image of the future building against the background of bluish mountains on the horizon. The landscape of Tianjin is not typical of the traditional mountains of northern China, because the city is surrounded by vast flat lowlands, "where it is in vain to look for not only mountains and rocks, but even a pebble." Thus, it seems that the banner captures not so much the actual image of the landscape as the desired one.

The creative idea of the city architect did not bypass the territory of the university: local feng shui is supposed to be improved with the help of several concrete mountain complexes. One of them was built near the South Gate, on the bank of the already familiar Jinhe River. Others are built in the back of the campus. Upon closer inspection, it turned out that this is not just a "mountain", but a kind of utilitarian room with a door and window. Of course, the foot of this mountain is washed by water: here is a dead end of the local Nankai river.

As practice shows, the city authorities consistently adhere to this direction in the improvement of the city: by 2010, an additional section of the mountain range with a built-in waterfall was built on the outside of the South Gate, and specific features-prominent stones - were placed throughout the campus-favorite elements of traditional gardens and parks.

* * *

Tianjin is a modern metropolis that selectively preserves and cultivates its historical heritage. While maintaining the general style of objects of foreign origin, their appearance is somewhat "corrected" by introducing specific Chinese elements, and new forms are created. Similarly, traditional ideas about space, adapting to the historical situation, are incorporated into the modern urban landscape through the introduction of new channels of water flows and redirection of old ones.

But perhaps the most outstanding elements that "correct the feng shui" of the city built by the "barbarians "are the" concrete mountain ranges "installed outside the garden and park areas and designed to break up the harsh urban landscape, creating corners for contemplating the" native " landscape.

Tianjin - Moscow

1 There are a huge number of works on the relationship between geography and nation, but they are particularly distinguished: Grosby S. A Very Short Introduction to Nationalism, Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2006; Hooson D. (ed.). Geography and National Identity, Oxford: Blackwell, 1994.

Smith A.D. 2 The cultural foundation of nations: hierarchy, covenant and republic. Maiden, Oxford, Victoria: Blackwell Publishing. 2008, p. 35.

3 See: Nationalism in World History. Edited by V. A. Tishkov and V. A. Shnirelman, Moscow, Nauka Publ., 2007.

4 PMA: 2004-2005. Based on the materials of the Tianjin Museum of Modern History (314 Hebeilu Street, Heping District, Tianjin).

Savarenskaya T. F. 5 Istoriya gorodostroitel'nogo iskusstva [History of Urban Planning Art], Moscow, 2006, pp. 49-50.

Lazarev G. Z. 6 Osnovnye tendentsii razvitiya gorodostroitelstva Kitai i Jap'i v VI - XII vv. [Main trends in urban development in China and Japan in the VI-XII centuries]. Issue II. Moscow, Nauka Publ., 1971, p. 374.

Savarenskaya T. F. 7 Edict. soch., p. 210.

Hesse-Warteg E. 8 China and the Chinese. Zhizn, morals and Customs of modern China, St. Petersburg, 1900, p. 215.

9 PMA: 2004-2005. Based on the materials of the Tianjin Museum of Modem History.

10 Ibid.

11 Geomantic canons required building a garden like a single, continuous energy thread, to which all channels of chi energy movement flowed.

12 On the fierce struggle between foreigners and Chinese on the basis of Feng Shui, see: PMA: 2004-2005. Based on the materials of the museum.., p. 17 - 18,59 - 61.

13 For more information about the history of the formation of the Feng Shui doctrine, see: Classical Feng Shui. Introduction to Chinese Geomancy. St. Petersburg: ABC classics, St. Petersburg Oriental Studies. 2003, pp. 47-61; 121-134.

14 Ibid., p. 46.

Prokhorova N. V. 15 Kitayskie traditsionnye predstavleniya o prostranstve v sovremennoy geopolitike [Chinese traditional representations of Space in modern geopolitics].

Hesse-Warteg E. 16 Edict op., p. 211.


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