Member Book: CHINA’S COVERED BRIDGES: ARCHITECTURE OVER WATER Ronald G. Knapp, Terry E. Miller, and Liu Jie

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China’s Covered Bridges: Architecture over Water is the first book in English to examine comprehensively one of the three great covered bridge traditions in the world. Based on decades of observation and ten years of intensive field research throughout China, this book illuminates countless covered bridges that have never been presented in a Western language.

Building on research that led to America’s Covered Bridges: Practical Crossings, Nostalgic Icons (2014), Terry Miller and I joined with Liu Jie, China’s leading timber covered bridge scholar, to carry out this archival and field research that took us to areas rarely visited by others to document a living tradition whose roots go deep into Chinese history.

Long before professional engineers analyzed bridge structure mechanically, early builders in China, as in North America and Europe, solved the daunting problem of spanning deep ravines and wild rivers to facilitate the flow of pedestrians, animals, and vehicles. Their collective, yet independent, efforts represent the triumph of ingenuity and common sense.

Although there has been no census of covered bridges, and it is impossible to calculate how many existed in the past in China, some 3,000 remain, far more than found elsewhere in the world.

The story of China’s covered bridges is fascinating not only in terms of technological achievement, social functioning, and aesthetic identity. Each covered bridge in China, whether still standing or long gone, has a story to tell about the nature of rural and urban life.

Thoroughly researched with a text of over 70,000 words, nearly 500 pages, and profusely illustrated with more than 600 historic and contemporary photographs, our book features the work of master photographer A. Chester Ong and is supplemented by photographs by the Terry Miller and me.

First published in China in Fall 2019 by Shanghai Jiao Tong University Press, the book was delayed in reaching the North American market because of trade issues  University of Hawai'i Press subsequently arranged for printing in the US and for world-wide distribution and has been available since August 2020.

University of Hawai'i Press

ISBN-13: 9781952461026      Hardback: $65.00  (use code CCB2020 for 25% discount)


Preface: The Path of Discovery
PART I China’s Covered Bridges from a Worldwide Perspective: North America, Europe, and China
PART II  China’s Covered Bridges: Distribution, Types, and Structure:   
1.    Pavilion Bridges and Corridor Bridges
2.   Covered Bridges and Folk Culture
PART III China’s Exemplary Covered Bridges
1.    Fujian Covered Bridges
2.    Zhejiang Covered Bridges
3.    Huizhou: Anhui and Jiangxi Covered Bridges                   
4.    Guangxi, Guizhou, and Hunan (Dong Minority) Covered Bridges
5.    Chongqing and Hunan (Tujia Minority) Covered Bridges
6.    Yunnan (Bai and Hui Minority) Covered Bridges               
7.    Sichuan Covered Bridges
8.    Gansu Covered Bridges
9.    Hebei Covered Bridges
10.  Jiangsu Covered Bridges
11.  Guangdong Covered Bridges