diàntáng 殿堂



  • 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

    殿堂是等級高於廳、廳堂的高等級建築物,通常用於皇家建築,也可作為寺觀祠廟的主要建築。 “殿堂”連用最早見於战国文獻 (宋玉 (298-263 BCE)《神女賦》), 南北朝(420-589)後使用漸頻繁。在《營造法式》中殿堂是核心術語之一。歷史文獻中的“殿堂”可能是殿、堂兩類建築的合稱;也可能延伸為對一組建築群中主要房屋的泛稱,有時也用作對多類建築的統稱。

    與殿、堂相關的廳或廳事則出現于漢代文獻,為用於衙署、宅第的建築物。基於春秋戰國時期的各類文獻可知,堂本意为為坐於台基上的房屋 。(參見 "")。 由此可以推測,殿與廳(廳事)可能是堂在建築羣中使用方式分化的產物,新的名詞及其出現的時間反映出春秋至社會結構的變化及其在建築組羣中的表現 (诸葛 2016a)。8

    《洛陽伽藍記》記普泰元年(531)樂平王尓朱世隆將原劉騰宅改爲建中寺,有“以前廳爲佛殿,後堂爲講室”之句(周和杨 2010, 32–35),也可見宅第與寺院建築組羣中核心部分廳-堂和殿-堂的同構關係。9

    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

Related concepts

Works Cited

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

  • 1 陳. 2010. 《營造法式》辭解, 383.Link to Zotero Bibliographic Record
  • 2 李. 2009. 營造法式 (1103; 故宫藏抄本)Link to Zotero Bibliographic Record
  • 3 GUO. 1999. The structure of Chinese timber architectureLink to Zotero Bibliographic Record
  • 4 LIANG. 2005. Chinese architecture: a pictorial historyLink to Zotero Bibliographic Record
  • 5 LEDDEROSE. 2000. Ten Thousand Things: Module and Mass Production in Chinese Art, 135.Link to Zotero Bibliographic Record
  • 6 MILLER. 2007. The Divine Nature of Power: Chinese Ritual Architecture at the Sacred Site of Jinci, 107.Link to Zotero Bibliographic Record
  • 7 KROLL. 2015. A Student's Dictionary of Classical and Medieval Chinese, 86.Link to Zotero Bibliographic Record; KROLL. 2015. A Student's Dictionary of Classical and Medieval Chinese, 444.Link to Zotero Bibliographic Record
  • 8 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. 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Link to Zotero Bibliographic Record
  • 9 杨. 2010. 洛阳伽蓝记校释, 32-35.Link to Zotero Bibliographic Record
  • 10 诸葛. 2021. “厅堂”与“厅堂(式构架)”:一个词语的分裂史Link to Zotero Bibliographic Record
  • 14 GUO. 2002. A Visual Dictionary of Chinese Architecture, 340.Link to Zotero Bibliographic Record
  • 15 FU. 2017. Traditional Chinese Architecture: Twelve Essays, 211.Link to Zotero Bibliographic Record
  • 16 FU. 2017. Traditional Chinese Architecture: Twelve Essays, 242.Link to Zotero Bibliographic Record
  • 17 FU. 2017. Traditional Chinese Architecture: Twelve Essays, 254.Link to Zotero Bibliographic Record

External relationships (1)

Date range

How to Cite This Entry

ZHUGE Jing 諸葛凈 et al., “ 殿堂 diàntáng” in Architectura Sinica last modified July 14, 2022, https://architecturasinica.org/keyword/k000130.


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

Additional Credit:

  • 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

Copyright and License for Reuse

Except otherwise noted, this page is © 2020.

Distributed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported License.