dānbì 丹陛



  • danbi (Pinyin without tones)
  • 丹陛 (Traditional Chinese)
  • 丹陛 (Simplified Chinese)
  • dānbì (Pinyin)
  • tan-pi (Wade-Giles)
  • cinnabar steps or platforms (lit.) (English)1


    Danbi, literally meaning “cinnabar steps” or “cinnabar platform” (Kroll 2015, 74-75; 20), generally refers to the steps of palace buildings, and in some contexts, to the open platform in front of a main palace hall.1

    The term danbi originated from the practice of painting the steps of palace buildings with cinnabar. The earliest evidence of the use of danbi comes from the Lingqijing, which is traditionally dated to the Western Han. During the Ming and Qing dynasty dynasties, danbi became part of mainstream architectural nomenclature and was used in conjunction with danchi 丹墀, where danbi referred to the platform (yuetai 月台) outside the hall, and danchi referred to the ground in front of the danbi. However, danbi is also commonly translated as "steps." In literature before the Ming and Qing dynasties, danbi was not used for buildings other than palace buildings, while in the Ming and Qing dynasties, the scope of reference broadened to include Confucian temples, government offices, and other types of buildings.



Related concepts

Works Cited

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

  • 1 KROLL. 2016. A Student's Dictionary of Classical and Medieval Chinese, 74-75; 20.Link to Zotero Bibliographic Record
  • 2 2021. ATTCAT 2021, accessed 2021.Link to Zotero Bibliographic Record

Broad Match: foundations

How to Cite This Entry

JIANG Jiayuan 蔣嘉元 et al., “ 丹陛 dānbì” in Architectura Sinica last modified November 17, 2021, https://architecturasinica.org/keyword/k000144.


JIANG Jiayuan 蔣嘉元 et al., “ 丹陛 dānbì.” In Architectura Sinica, edited by Tracy Miller. Entry published March 24, 2021. https://architecturasinica.org/keyword/k000144.

About this Entry

Entry Title: 丹陛 dānbì

Authorial and Editorial Responsibility:

  • Tracy Miller, editor, Architectura Sinica
  • ZHUGE Jing 諸葛净, associate editor, Architectural Terminology
  • JIANG Jiayuan 蔣嘉元 and SUN Xiaoqian 孫曉倩, entry contributors, “ 丹陛 dānbì

Additional Credit:

  • Initial research and revision by JIANG Jiayuan 蔣嘉元 SUN Xiaoqian 孫曉倩
  • Website coordination by Yuh-Fen Benda
  • Data entry, adding citations by ZHUGE Jing 諸葛净
  • Data entry, adding notes, links and citations 2021 by HUANG Danni 黄聃婗
  • Preliminary research CMW 2021
  • Peer review by ATTCAT 2021
  • English proofreading by Aurelia Campbell Tracy Miller
  • Chinese proofreading by ZHUGE Jing 諸葛净 ZUO Lala 左拉拉

Copyright and License for Reuse

Except otherwise noted, this page is © 2021.

Distributed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported License.