- diantang (Pinyin without tones)1
- 殿堂 (Traditional Chinese)2
- 殿堂 (Simplified Chinese)
- diàntáng (Pinyin)1
- diantang (English)3
- tien-t'ang (Wade-Giles)
- hall (English)4
- palace hall (English)5
- palatial hall (English)6
- palace type (English)14
- diantang structural frame (English)15
- diantang frameworks (English)16
- diantang construction (English)17
Diantang, a building type sometimes referred to as dian 殿 or even diange 殿閣, is arguably the highest ranking structure in the traditional Chinese building hierarchy. Meaning, literally, “palatial-type” or “rear” (dian 殿 Kroll 2015, 86) "hall" (tang 堂 Kroll 2015, 444), in historical sources diantang is likely a compound word inclusive of dian and tang-type structures, and can be used generally to refer to all main buildings in an architectural complex. When describing a single building it denotes a higher rank structure than ting 廳, 堂 tang, or tingtang 廳堂. Diantang is usually used to describe imperial buildings and the main buildings in religious complexes. The earliest use we have found for diantang is in the "Rhapsody of the Goddess" (Shennüfu 神女賦) traditionally attributed to Song Yu 宋玉 (298-263 BCE), but the compound became more common after the Northern and Southern Dynasties. Diantang is a major term used throughout the Song Dynasty Yingzao fashi.7
Early textual sources suggest that the terms dian and ting 廳 (or tingshi 廳事) served to distinguish between the ways a "tang" was used in an architectural compound. From Spring and Autumn and Warring States period records we can deduce that the term tang originally referred to a building placed on a podium (see tang 堂). The related terms ting and tingshi appear in Han literature and refer to the main buildings in government offices (yashu 衙署) and residences. The appearance of these new terms reflect how changes in the social structure were expressed in architecture between the Spring and Autumn period and Han Dynasty (Zhuge 2016a).8
The Luoyang qielan ji records a story about converting a residence into a Buddist monastery in 531CE “the front ting was used as a Buddha dian, and the rear tang was used as the lecture shi" (yi qian ting wei Fodian, hou tang wei jiangshi 以前廳爲佛殿，後堂爲講室) (Zhou and Yang 2010, 32-35). Therefore, we can infer that the composition of ting-tang in a residential compound is similar to dian-shi in a Buddhist monastery.9
In terms of the usage of diantang in the Yingzao fashi, most modern scholars agree that it is a general name for multiple types of buildings. Scholars also suggest that diantang may also refer to a structural type (diantang shi 殿堂式, also called diange shi 殿閣式). What the Yingzao fashi authors’ (Li Jie et al.) primary intention in mentioning these different structural types is still open for discussion (陈 1981, 57, 65-67；潘 1980, 1981). On the one hand, the authors may have only wanted to define different structural types; on the other hand they may have been primarily interested in using technical details of different structural types to establish a building ranking system (Zhuge 2021).10
學者一般都同意《營造法式》（1103）中的殿堂是幾類建築物的統稱，並在對《營造法式》的研究中提出，殿堂也是一種構架類型，即殿堂式構架（另一些學者使用“殿閣式構架”），與廳堂式構架一起構成《營造法式》中的主要構架類型（陈 1981, 57，65-67；潘 1980, 1981）。 但《營造法式》的本意就是要定義不同的構架類型，還是說不同的構架只是《營造法式》用於建立建築等級體系的技術手段之一，這似乎仍有商榷的餘地（諸葛，2021）。10
Any information without attribution has been created following the Syriaca.org editorial guidelines.
- 1 陳. 2010. 《營造法式》辭解, 383.
- 2 李. 2009. 營造法式(故宫藏抄本)
- 3 GUO. 1999. The structure of Chinese timber architecture
- 4 LIANG. 2005. Chinese architecture: a pictorial history
- 5 LEDDEROSE. 2000. Ten Thousand Things: Module and Mass Production in Chinese Art, 135.
- 6 MILLER. 2007. The Divine Nature of Power: Chinese Ritual Architecture at the Sacred Site of Jinci, 107.
- 7 KROLL. 2015. A Student's Dictionary of Classical and Medieval Chinese, 86.; KROLL. 2015. A Student's Dictionary of Classical and Medieval Chinese, 444.
- 8 李. 2009. 營造法式(故宫藏抄本), 1.3b.; 周. 2010. 洛阳伽蓝记校释, 5.; 诸葛. 2016A. 建筑类型问题：从厅、堂说起——居住：从中国传统住宅到相关问题系列研究之二
- 9 周. 2010. 洛阳伽蓝记校释, 32-35.
- 10 诸葛. 2021. “厅堂”与“厅堂(式构架)”：一个词语的分裂史
- 14 GUO. 2002. A Visual Dictionary of Chinese Architecture, 340.
- 15 FU. 2017. Traditional Chinese Architecture: Twelve Essays, 211.
- 16 FU. 2017. Traditional Chinese Architecture: Twelve Essays, 242.
- 17 FU. 2017. Traditional Chinese Architecture: Twelve Essays, 254.
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How to Cite This Entry
Bibliography:ZHUGE Jing 諸葛凈 et al., “ 殿堂 diàntáng.” In Architectura Sinica, edited by Tracy Miller. Entry published May 19, 2020. https://architecturasinica.org/keyword/k000130.
About this Entry
Entry Title: 殿堂 diàntáng
Authorial and Editorial Responsibility:
- Tracy Miller, editor, Architectura Sinica
- ZHUGE Jing 諸葛凈, associate editor, Architectural Terminology
- ZHUGE Jing 諸葛凈 and Xue Jinbo 薛景勃, entry contributors, “ 殿堂 diàntáng”
- Website coordination by Yuh-Fen Benda
- Editing, proofreading, data entry and revision by Tracy Miller
- Peer review by ATTCAT 2019
- English proofreading by Aurelia Campbell Tracy Miller
- Chinese proofreading by ZHUGE Jing 諸葛净 ZUO Lala 左拉拉
- Data entry, adding citations by SUN Zheng
- Adding notes, bibliography, photo LI Zhixian 李知賢
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