Mamian 馬面, literally “horse face,” is a defensive structure within a traditional Chinese city wall. The mamian is prominent on the outer surface of the wall and can be taller than or equal to the height of the city wall. According to literature and archeological evidence, most mamian are solid masonry. It is named for its narrow façade and long shape like a horse head. Its main function was to increase the defensive capacity of the city wall by eliminating blind corners, which were vulnerable to attacks from the side. Mamian also played a role in strengthening the city wall. Mamian were clearly defined in texts as early as the Song dynasty and remained in use through the Qing dynasty.7
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- 1 陳. 2010. 《營造法式》辭解, 262.
- 2 STEINHARDT. 1999. Chinese Imperial City Planning, 7-8.; GUO. 2002. A Visual Dictionary of Chinese Architecture, 57.
- 3 GUO. 2002. A Visual Dictionary of Chinese Architecture, 57.; HUANG. 2001. Defensive Structures and Construction Materials in Song City Walls, 50.
- 4 HUANG. 2001. Defensive Structures and Construction Materials in Song City Walls, 50.
- 5 齊. 1999. 中國土木建築百科詞典·建築卷, 226.
- 6 STEINHARDT. 1999. Chinese Imperial City Planning, 7-8.
- 7 沈. 夢溪筆談, 10.2a-10.2b.; 陳. 守城機要.守城錄, 2.4a-2.4b.; 范. 1628-1644. 戰守全書 : 十八卷, 10.18b.
Broad Match: fortification elements
How to Cite This Entry
Bibliography:JIA Tingli 賈亭立 et al., “ 馬面 mǎmiàn.” In Architectura Sinica, edited by Tracy Miller. Entry published May 7, 2020. https://architecturasinica.org/keyword/k000121.
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Entry Title: 馬面 mǎmiàn
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- Tracy Miller, editor, Architectura Sinica
- ZHUGE Jing 諸葛凈, associate editor, Architectural Terminology
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