zhùchǔ 柱礎



  • zhuchu (Pinyin without tones)1
  • 柱礎 (Traditional Chinese)
  • 柱础 (Simplified Chinese)
  • zhùchǔ (Pinyin)1
  • chu-ch'u (Wade-Giles)
  • base (English)2
  • column base (English)4
  • pillar base (English)5
  • plinth (English)6
  • stone plinth (English)
  • stone pedestal for a column (English)8


    In traditional Chinese architecture, zhuchu (literally the stone plinth or foundation (chu 礎) of a pillar (zhu 柱) (Kroll 2015, 58; Hanyu dacidian online)) generally refers to the stone that supports a pillar. It consists of an upper part aboveground which supports the pillar foot (zhujiao 柱脚) and a lower part buried underground, the top of which is generally level with the surface of the building platform. The style and material of pillar bases differs according to time and region. In early human settlements, there is evidence that wooden planks or wooden blocks were used as pillar bases. In the southern part of China, two separate parts work together to support the pillar. The upper one is called gudeng 鼓磴 (lit. “drum step”), the lower one is sangshi 磉石 (lit. “pillar base stone”), both are made of stone. The stone “drums” of traditional architecture in the southern part of China and the stone blocks supporting the stone drums jointly assume the role of pillar bases. The pillar base can effectively prevent the decay of the wooden pillar foot by raising it off the wet ground. Furthermore, by stopping the absorption of moisture around the pillar foot, it helps prevent the shrinkage of the wood (ATTCAT 2019). 9

    The first mention of the term zhuchu we have found is in the Huainanzi by Liu An (179 BCE-122 BCE). Here chu 礎 was glossed as “the stone under the pillar (zhu xia shi 柱下石)” by the Eastern Han dynasty scholar Gao You 高誘 (d. 212). The Yingzao fashi 營造法式 (1103) provides information on the meaning of zhuchu and outlines their visual characteristics, including size, shape, and engraved decoration (Li 2009, 3.5b).10

    Zhuchu has many synonyms. In addition to zhuchu, zhudingshi 柱頂石, first mentioned in the Ming dynasty Wanli period(1573-1620), was generally used in Ming and Qing dynasties. Zhuchu was given a broad interpretation in Yingzao fayuan 營造法原 , as "the foundation of the pillar, including the stone base under the sangshi 磉石” (姚 et al. 1986, 112). In other words, the whole stone support system under the pillar was called zhuchu. 11

    According to archaeological evidence found at the Yangshao culture site of Hougang, Anyang, Henan province, in the Neolithic period stone blocks were already used to line the bottom of deep post holes. In the Shang period Yinxu culture site at Anyang we see the method of using naturally formed pebbles as pillar bases; at the same time the remains of bronze (foundation) blocks have been found. At the Middle Western Zhou site of Zhaocheng, Fufeng, Shaanxi province, pounded earth was combined with the use of large foundation stones in the construction of the building foundation. Here the tops of foundation stones were level with the building platform, and the bottoms were set below the frost line. By the Western Han dynasty, pillar bases could be either round or square and extend above the floor level, effectively resolving the problem of water damage caused by burial of the pillar foot. Pillar bases after the Han dynasty underwent a number of changes in form, but resolved to a set variety of types by the Tang and Song dynasties (Liu 2003, 103; Li 1978, 14; Yang 2008, 152-157; Tang 1959, 45-55, 151-160, 183).12

    中國古代建築中,柱礎通常是指施用於下的塊石,包括高於地坪承托柱子的上部,埋於地坪下與階沿石相平的下部,上下為一整體,用於隔離水汽對木腳侵蝕。柱礎的樣式具有時代和地域特征,其材料和指代的對象在不同時期和地域也有所改變,早期人類文化遺址中有以木板或木塊作為柱礎的做法。而南方傳統建築中的鼓磴和承托鼓磴的磉石共同承擔了柱礎的作用 (ATTCAT 2019)。9

    “柱礎”一詞最早出現在漢《淮南子說林訓》. 東漢經學家高誘 (d. 212) 注礎本意為下石. 宋《營造法式》 對柱礎有系統的定義和梳理,從尺寸、紋樣、鐫刻等方面對造柱礎之制進行了規定 (李 2009, 3.5b)。10

    “柱礎”有諸多同義詞。明清時常同時使用“柱頂石”。此外, “柱礎”二字在《營造法原》中含義被擴大為下之基礎,“柱底之基礎,包括磉石下之石基”:地坪之上的(石鼓,gǔ)磴,(石鼓,gǔ)磴下與階沿相平的磉石和磉石以下基礎共同被稱為柱礎(姚 et al. 1986, 112)。11

    根據考古資料,仰韶文化時期的安陽後崗遺址中,有較為成熟的深埋塊石作為柱礎的實例。安陽殷墟遺址中,有以天然卵石為柱礎的做法,同時也發現了銅鑕遺跡。西周中期陝西扶風召陳遺址中素夯土摻有大礫石夯築築基,其上置平整礫石,基底埋深至土壤凍結深度以下。最晚至西漢,柱礎或圓或方,並高出地坪,有效解決了柱腳深埋引起的水害問題。漢以後的柱礎經歷多種形式變化,逐成定式 (劉 2003, 103; 李 1978, 14; 楊 2008, 152-157; 唐 1959, 45-55, 151-160, 183)。12

Works Cited

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

  • 1 陳. 2010. 《營造法式》辭解, 249.Link to Zotero Bibliographic Record
  • 2 LIANG. 2005. Chinese architecture: a pictorial history, 10.Link to Zotero Bibliographic Record
  • 4 GUO. 2002. A Visual Dictionary of Chinese Architecture, 89.Link to Zotero Bibliographic Record; LIANG. 1984. A Pictorial History of Chinese Architecture: A Study of the Development of Its Structural System and the Evolution of Its Types, 135.Link to Zotero Bibliographic Record
  • 5 STEINHARDT. 1997. Liao Architecture, 39.Link to Zotero Bibliographic Record
  • 6 GUO. 2002. A Visual Dictionary of Chinese Architecture, 98.Link to Zotero Bibliographic Record; STEINHARDT. 1997. Liao Architecture, 39.Link to Zotero Bibliographic Record
  • 8 FU. 2017. Traditional Chinese Architecture: Twelve Essays, 371.Link to Zotero Bibliographic Record
  • 9 KROLL. 2015. A Student's Dictionary of Classical and Medieval Chinese, 58.Link to Zotero Bibliographic Record; 漢語大詞典編纂処. 2011. 漢語大詞典, accessed June 12, 2022.Link to Zotero Bibliographic Record; 2019. ATTCAT 2019Link to Zotero Bibliographic Record
  • 10 劉. 淮南子Link to Zotero Bibliographic Record; 李. 2009. 營造法式 (1103; 故宫藏抄本), 3.5b.Link to Zotero Bibliographic Record
  • 11 姚. 1986. 营造法原, 112.Link to Zotero Bibliographic Record
  • 12 刘. 2003. 中国古代建筑史: 原始社会、夏、商、周、秦、汉建筑, 103.Link to Zotero Bibliographic Record; 李. 1978. 國立中央研究院歷史語言研究所專刊之十三 中國考古學報 即田野考古報告, 14.Link to Zotero Bibliographic Record; 杨. 2008. 建筑考古学论文集 增订本, 152-157.Link to Zotero Bibliographic Record; 唐. 1959. 西安西郊汉代建筑遗址发掘报告, 45-55, 151-160, 183.Link to Zotero Bibliographic Record

Broad Match: foundations

How to Cite This Entry

SUN Xiaoqian 孫曉倩 et al., “ 柱礎 zhùchǔ” in Architectura Sinica last modified July 21, 2022, https://architecturasinica.org/keyword/k000128.


SUN Xiaoqian 孫曉倩 et al., “ 柱礎 zhùchǔ.” In Architectura Sinica, edited by Tracy Miller. Entry published May 18, 2020. https://architecturasinica.org/keyword/k000128.

About this Entry

Entry Title: 柱礎 zhùchǔ

Authorial and Editorial Responsibility:

  • Tracy Miller, editor, Architectura Sinica
  • ZHUGE Jing 諸葛净, associate editor, Architectural Terminology
  • SUN Xiaoqian 孫曉倩 and HUANG Ruijing 黄睿菁, entry contributors, “ 柱礎 zhùchǔ

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  • Data entry, adding citations SUN Zheng
  • Adding notes, bibliography, photo CHEN Zhuo 陈卓

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