In Shanxi province, except Baroque churches, there are also a lot of Gothic Churches. Similarly, the same as the Baroque churches, the local craftsmen constructed the buildings with the skills of what they used to and resulted in interesting forms: hybrid style and mixed elevations.

Geliaogou Catholic Church in Taiyuan city was built by an Italian priest Gregorius Grassi (1833-1900) during 1870-1880. He adapted some Gothic elements on the surface of the building, such as pointed arches on doors and windows, recessive doors on the entrance, steeples built from bricks, and wooden triangular racks on the top of entrance. These Gothic characters were then emphasized by painting all the pointed parts red. However, at the other side of the building, the style was completely different. The largely spaced circular arches, simple rectangular doors, wooden lintels and curved tile roofing all showed obvious local architectural characters.

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Xinanzhuang church was rebuilt in 1913. The façade is western gothic, but the construction is actually typical local concpt of wood frame with short columns standing on three beams in different positions to save materials and easy to build. Consequently, the nave and aisles are formed.

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The overall form of the Xiliulin church (built in 1980s) was based on the Gothic-styled three-step composition whereas its elements were of imagerather traditional Chinese style. The pointed roof on both sides represented the upward sense; the tall tower in the middle provided the central axis; the entrance had the traditional Chinese double-eaves roof; and the standard of the Chinese palace hall, the yellow tiles and the red columns all emphasized its importance in Chinese tradition despite the small number of bays. More interestingly, these two traditional Chinese structures were combined spontaneously, with the lightweight wooden frame on top, giving an upward momentum despite the lack of flying buttress.

The color Photos taken by the blog’s author.

Drawing by Ji Ma.

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