yán’é 檐額



  • yan’e (Pinyin without tones)
  • 檐額 (Traditional Chinese)2
  • 檐额 (Simplified Chinese)3
  • yán’é (Pinyin)
  • yen-o (Wade-Giles)
  • eaves forehead (lit.) (English)
  • eaves tie beams (ATTCAT preferred) (English)1
  • eaves architraves (English)6
  • eaves-column-top-ties (English)5
  • end-to-end architraves (English)4


    Most architectural scholars agree that eaves tie beams (yan’e) refer to a structural element positioned atop the eaves pillars, which runs parallel to the roof ridge and spans at least three bays. The use of this element indicates a structural system where the roof is supported by a timber frame parallel to the roof ridge. This stands in contradistinction to the more commonly seen system where the timber-framing elements perpendicular to the roof ridge support the roof. Scholars are in disagreement about whether the element referred to as the “eaves tie beam” must project from pillars at the corners of the building. The term is primarily used in the Yingzao fashi (1103). However many questions are still unsettled, including the precise definition of the yan’e as used in the Yingzao fashi, the relationship of the yan’e to the mei 楣 (an earlier term used to refer to a lintel), the relationship of the pillar top tie beam (lan’e 闌額), and to the “large-lintel style” (da’e shi 大額式) of structure commonly seen 13th-14th century architecture in Shanxi and Shaanxi, remain unsettled. They usually fall into one of two groups: (1) Scholars who believe that yan’e are lintels that extend through pillars at the corners of the building, following the description in the Yingzao fashi, Chapter 5, 4a. They look to the Linshui ting 臨水亭 of the Jidumiao 濟瀆廟 in Jiyuanxian, Henan, the main hall of the Guanwangmiao 關王廟大殿 in Dingxiangxian, Shanxi, and the Guanyinge 觀音閣 of Kaihuasi 開化寺, in Gaoping municipality, Shanxi as examples. (2) Scholars who emphasize the comment in the Yingzao fashi stating the dimensions of the yan’e regularly exceed those of other timbers used in this location argue that the large individual horizontal timbers on top of eaves pillars that extend the full breadth of the façade are yan’e. They look to the Yuan period Yuwang Hall 禹王殿 in Hancheng municipality, Shaanxi, and the main hall of the Guangsheng Lower Monastery 廣勝下寺大殿 in Hongtong, Shanxi, as examples.


Related concepts

    闌額 lān'é

    額 é

    大額 dà'é

Works Cited

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

  • 1 2018. ATTCAT 2018Link to Zotero Bibliographic Record
  • 2 李. 2009. 營造法式 (1103; 故宫藏抄本), 5, 7, 14, 26.Link to Zotero Bibliographic Record
  • 3 陳. 2010. 《營造法式》辭解, 437.Link to Zotero Bibliographic Record
  • 4 FU. 2017. Traditional Chinese Architecture: Twelve Essays, 70, Figure 2.22.Link to Zotero Bibliographic Record
  • 5 GUO. 2002. A Visual Dictionary of Chinese Architecture, 87.Link to Zotero Bibliographic Record
  • 6 FU. 2017. Traditional Chinese Architecture: Twelve Essays, 370.Link to Zotero Bibliographic Record

Broad Match: building frame

How to Cite This Entry

ZHUGE Jing 諸葛净, “ 檐額 yán’é” in Architectura Sinica last modified September 6, 2020, https://architecturasinica.org/keyword/k000097.


ZHUGE Jing 諸葛净, “ 檐額 yán’é.” In Architectura Sinica, edited by Tracy Miller. Entry published May 22, 2019. https://architecturasinica.org/keyword/k000097.

About this Entry

Entry Title: 檐額 yán’é

Authorial and Editorial Responsibility:

  • Tracy Miller, editor, Architectura Sinica
  • ZHUGE Jing 諸葛净, associate editor, Architectural Terminology
  • ZHUGE Jing 諸葛净, entry contributor, “ 檐額 yán’é

Additional Credit:

  • Website coordination by Yuh-Fen Benda
  • Initial research and revision by ZHUGE Jing 諸葛净
  • Peer review by ATTCAT 2018
  • Data entry, proofreading, and revision by Tracy Miller
  • English proofreading by Aurelia Campbell
  • Chinese proofreading by ZHUGE Jing 諸葛净
  • Adding citations Song Qisen 松奇森
  • Revising title statement by SUN Zheng 孫正

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