Literally meaning “dew terrace” or “exposed terrace” (Kroll 285; 440), a lutai is a raised platform within a building complex. In the literature of the Han and Tang dynasties, lutai referred specifically to a structure built by Emperor Wen of the Han dynasty. The term later appeared in a large number of Song dynasty texts to indicate a space for the performance of theater, music, and dance in cities, private gardens, and temples, as well as the places at which sacrifices were made to the gods. There are also a few records that refer to the platform of the ramp of the city gate as a lutai (Li 2009,15.3b).2
In Song dynasty literature, the term lutai was mainly used to describe an independent open-air platform in front of high-ranking buildings. In Liao and Jin dynasty textual sources, lutai usually indicated the platform which protrudes from the front of a building, however, based on Jin dynasty steles, such as the building plan of the Temple to the Central Peak (“大金承安重修中嶽廟圖,” Figure 1), the term lutai could still be used to describe freestanding and exposed platforms. Extant buildings and other visual evidence from the Liao and Jin suggest that open-air platforms called lutai protruded from the fronts of buildings and were connected to the building’s foundation, either on the same level or slightly lower. In the Yuan dynasty, lutai generally referred to a platform that protrudes from the front of the building. In the Ming and Qing dynasties, the meaning of lutai encompassed all open-air platforms.
From the Song dynasty, the term lutai was used within a large number of documents in relation to themes of deity worship. Thus, the name and structure of lutai may have continued to refer to the lutai of Emperor Wen of the Han dynasty at some level through at least the thirteenth century. This interpretation requires further research.
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- 1 陳. 2010. 《營造法式》辭解, 472.
- 2 KROLL. 2016. A Student's Dictionary of Classical and Medieval Chinese, 285, 440.; 李. 2009. 營造法式(故宫藏抄本), 15.3b.
- 3 班. 1962. 漢書, 134.; 李. 2009. 營造法式(故宫藏抄本), 15.3b.
- 4 脫脫. 1974. 遼史, 855.
- 5 KROLL. 2016. A Student's Dictionary of Classical and Medieval Chinese, 285, 440.
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How to Cite This Entry
Bibliography:SUN Xiaoqian 孫曉倩 et al., “ 露台 lùtái.” In Architectura Sinica, edited by Tracy Miller. Entry published March 12, 2021. https://architecturasinica.org/keyword/k000136.
About this Entry
Entry Title: 露台 lùtái
Authorial and Editorial Responsibility:
- Tracy Miller, editor, Architectura Sinica
- ZHUGE Jing 諸葛净, associate editor, Architectural Terminology
- SUN Xiaoqian 孫曉倩 and JIANG Jiayuan 蔣嘉元, entry contributors, “ 露台 lùtái”
- Initial research and revision by SUN Xiaoqian 孫曉倩 JIANG Jiayuan 蔣嘉元
- Data entry, adding citations and gloss 2021 by Sarah Brooker
- Data entry, adding notes, links and citations 2021 by HUANG Danni 黄聃婗
- Preliminary research CMW 2021
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