Literally meaning “solid” or “rigid” mountain peak, yingshan is a technical term used to describe a traditional Chinese gable roof in which the eaves of the gable are flush with the surface of the wall, in contrast to one where the eaves extend past the wall plane on the gable end (see xuanshan 懸山). The term yingshan first appeared in the literature of the Qing dynasty. In the narrowest sense, yingshan refers to a roof that has front and rear slopes, in which the purlins are sealed within the walls of the gable ends (Liang 2006, 84; Yao 1986, 40). More broadly, yingshan is regularly used to refer to a gable roof in which the top of the gable ends extend to the eaves tiles or, in some cases, can even extend above the level of the roof.3
We cannot confirm the earliest appearance of yingshan style roofs, however, we do know that they were widely used in the Ming dynasty. The spread of this roof style was likely related to new brick-making techniques and the popularization of brick during this period (Zhongguo kexueyuan ziranshi yanjiusuo 1985, 265). Although not explicitly documented in textual sources, extant examples suggest that yingshan roofs were primarily used in vernacular architecture. When used in official building complexes, yingshan roofs were usually employed in subsidiary structures, especially those abutting palace halls.4
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- 1 KROLL. 2015. A Student's Dictionary of Classical and Medieval Chinese, 560.
- 2 LIANG. 2005. Chinese architecture: a pictorial history, 11.
- 3 梁. 1981. 清式營造則例, 84.; 40., 40.
- 4 2016. 中国古代建筑技术史, 265.
Broad Match: roof types
How to Cite This Entry
Bibliography:JIA Tingli 賈亭立, “ 硬山 yìngshān.” In Architectura Sinica, edited by Tracy Miller. Entry published March 12, 2021. https://architecturasinica.org/keyword/k000147.
About this Entry
Entry Title: 硬山 yìngshān
Authorial and Editorial Responsibility:
- Tracy Miller, editor, Architectura Sinica
- ZHUGE Jing 諸葛净, associate editor, Architectural Terminology
- JIA Tingli 賈亭立, entry contributor, “ 硬山 yìngshān”
- Website coordination by Yuh-Fen Benda
- Preliminary research CMW 2021
- Data entry, adding citations 2021 by MIAO Tongxi 繆彤茜
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- Chinese proofreading by ZHUGE Jing 諸葛净 ZUO Lala 左拉拉
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