Through the T'ang and Sung dynasties, Chinese architecture retained the basic characteristics already developed in the Han, although there was a greater technical mastery and a tendency toward rich adornment and complexity of the system of bracketing. Though little survives of the wooden structures, our knowledge of their appearance comes from detailed representations in painted scrolls, especially by the Li school of artists in the T'ang period and their followers (see Chinese art).
Extant monuments in Japan, profoundly influenced by Chinese architecture, also reflect the progress of Chinese building techniques. Examples are the 7th-century monastery of Horyu-ji and the 8th-century monastery of Toshodai-ji. In the Ming period the complex of courtyards, parks, and palaces became labyrinthian in scope. Little remains of the imperial palaces at Nanjing, the capital of the Ming dynasty until 1421.