1536. The origin of the different styles of architecture may be usually traced to imitations of temporary structures formed of timber or of rough trees; and thus the Grecian column, with its capital ornamented with foliage, has been called an imitation of the trunk of a palm, with the petioles of its recently dropped leaves still adhering; the Gothic arches and tracery have been likened to wicker-work, or the intersecting branches of an avenue; and the Chinese style to the imitation of a tent supported by bamboo. But the imitation of nature is the last thing that occurs in the progress of improvement; and though the above opinions may not be without their use as a sort of hypothesis for composition; yet it appears much more probable that styles of building have taken their origin, jointly from the materials the country afforded, and the wants of the people. According to this hypothesis, the Grecian may be considered as founded on the use of planks of stone, in the same way as beams of timber (fig. 254. a); the Gothic, by the use of small stones, held together by their position (b), and the Hindoo, by the use of small stones, held together by superincumbent weight (c). The Doric temple (fig. 255.) is easily traced in this way to its prototype of wood; but though the idea is supported by the authority of Vitruvius, it should never be considered as any thing more than mere conjecture.