diàn 殿



  • dian (Pinyin without tones)
  • 殿 (Traditional Chinese)
  • 殿 (Simplified Chinese)
  • diàn (Pinyin)1
  • tien (Wade-Giles)
  • hall (English)
  • royal hall (English)1


    Architecturally speaking, dian usually means a large and high-ranking hall (tang 堂) or throne-hall (Li 李 2009, 1.3b; Kroll 2015, 86), although term can also refer to the "rearguard" of a palace (Kroll 2015, 86). From as early as the Northern and Southern dynasties, dian was used as a specific term for a main audience hall within the imperial palace. It also refers to the main building in Buddhist monasteries. For example, the Luoyang qielan ji records that Yongning Monastery 永寧寺 held a Buddha “dian” north of the “futu”, which looked like Taiji “dian” (futu bei you Fo dian yi suo, xingru Taijidian 浮圖北有佛殿一所,形如太極殿). Taijidian was the main building in the imperial palace in Luoyang (Zhou and Yang 2010, 5). The use of the term dian for buildings housing both the Buddha and the emperor suggests that the emperor and the Buddha were equated spatially and thus hierarchically (Zhuge and Xue 2021).3

    殿本意为高大房屋,《營造法式》即轉引《蒼頡篇》釋殿為大堂(李 2009, 1.3b)。大約從魏晋南北朝開始,殿漸漸專指帝王宮殿;也用於指佛寺主要建築物,如《洛陽伽藍記》永寧寺“浮圖北有佛殿一所,形如太極殿”(周和杨 2010, 5),暗示了佛的等级可与帝王相当 (諸葛和薛 2021)。3

Related concepts

Works Cited

Any information without attribution has been created following the Syriaca.org editorial guidelines.

  • 1 KROLL. 2015. A Student's Dictionary of Classical and Medieval Chinese, 86.Link to Zotero Bibliographic Record
  • 3 KROLL. 2015. A Student's Dictionary of Classical and Medieval Chinese, 86.Link to Zotero Bibliographic Record; 李. 2009. 營造法式 (1103; 故宫藏抄本), 1.3b.Link to Zotero Bibliographic Record; 杨. 2010. 洛阳伽蓝记校释, 5.Link to Zotero Bibliographic Record; 诸葛. 2021. “厅堂”与“厅堂(式构架)”:一个词语的分裂史, 100-107.Link to Zotero Bibliographic Record

How to Cite This Entry

ZHUGE Jing 諸葛凈 et al., “ 殿 diàn” in Architectura Sinica last modified June 20, 2022, https://architecturasinica.org/keyword/k000062.


ZHUGE Jing 諸葛凈 et al., “ 殿 diàn.” In Architectura Sinica, edited by Tracy Miller. Entry published March 21, 2018. https://architecturasinica.org/keyword/k000062.

About this Entry

Entry Title: 殿 diàn

Authorial and Editorial Responsibility:

  • Tracy Miller, editor, Architectura Sinica
  • ZHUGE Jing 諸葛凈, associate editor, Architectural Terminology
  • ZHUGE Jing 諸葛凈 and YAN Anni 嚴安妮, entry contributors, “ 殿 diàn

Additional Credit:

  • Website coordination by Yuh-Fen Benda
  • Initial Research YAN Anni 嚴安妮 ZHUGE Jing 諸葛凈 Tracy Miller

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