wūtóumén 烏頭門



  • wutoumen (Pinyin without tones)
  • 烏頭門 (Traditional Chinese)
  • 乌头门 (Simplified Chinese)
  • wūtóumén (Pinyin)1
  • wu-t'ou-men (Wade-Giles)
  • raven-black head gate (lit.) (English)2

Note (full)

    Wutoumen refers to a type of elaborate gateway used in high ranking buildings through the Song dynasty, after which it declines in use. As we can tell from paintings and extant examples, the shape, size, and structure of wutoumen vary considerably. However, all wutoumen employ tall pillars flanking the gate. The name is likely derived from the raven-black ceramic tube-shaped finials on the top of these tall gate posts Cefu yuangui (Wang Qinruo (962-1025) 61.687). Detailed records of wutoumen exist in the Song dynasty Yingzao fashi (Li Jie 2009, 6.2a-4a). 3

    The earliest known reference for the term wutoumen is in the Luoyang qielanji (547 CE) by Yang Xuanzhi (Zhou and Yang 2010, 8) and the term can be found in documents and images through the Tang and Song dynasties. There are several other names for wutoumen, including wutou damen 烏頭大門, biaojie 表楬, fayue 閥閱, and lingxingmen 欞星門 (see YZFS 2009, 6.13a, see also the illustrations and related concepts, below).4

    During the Tang and Song dynasties wutoumen were usually used alone as the main gateway into the houses of officials of the fifth and sixth ranks (Tianyige bowuguan 2006, 344). They were also used in combinations of three, particularly as gateways leading to altars, temples, and palaces. In this case, the middle gate was larger than those on the two sides. Sometimes, wutoumen were used for side gates of administrative offices or in city fortifications.5

    烏頭門是及以前主要使用於高等級建築的大門,其稱謂取自門柱上端套以黑色瓦筒的表征《冊府元龜》(王欽若(962-1025) 61.687)。以後“烏頭門”一詞使用較少見。烏頭門的形式在《營造法式》(1103)中有明確記載(李 2009,6.2a-4a)。實際在圖像資料中,烏頭門的尺寸、部件等做法均有所不同。但門柱形象的標誌性始終是其鮮明特征。6

    烏頭門可一座單用,如建於五品或六品以上官員住宅前(天一阁 2006,344);也可三座并用或與闕相結合使用,如建於壇廟、宮苑中等。6

    烏頭門最早見於楊衒之的洛陽伽藍記(547 CE)(周 和 杨 2010,8),時期的文獻和圖像多有涉及,時烏頭門也稱烏頭大門、表楬、閥閱,亦俗稱欞星門(李 2009,6.13a),此外烏頭正門、綽楔、烏頭綽楔(門)也是和其有著緊密關聯的名稱。但以後上述名詞詞義多有變化,不能與烏頭門等同。4

Related concepts

Works Cited

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

  • 1 漢語大詞典編纂処. 2011. 漢語大詞典Link to Zotero Bibliographic Record
  • 2 GUO. 2002. A Visual Dictionary of Chinese Architecture, 83.Link to Zotero Bibliographic Record
  • 3 李. 2009. 營造法式 (1103; 故宫藏抄本), 6.2a-4a.Link to Zotero Bibliographic Record
  • 4 杨. 2010. 洛阳伽蓝记校释, 8.Link to Zotero Bibliographic Record; 李. 2009. 營造法式 (1103; 故宫藏抄本), 6.13a.Link to Zotero Bibliographic Record
  • 5 天一閣博物館. 2006. 天一閣藏明鈔本天聖令校證, 344.Link to Zotero Bibliographic Record
  • 6 李. 2009. 營造法式 (1103; 故宫藏抄本), 6.2a-4a.Link to Zotero Bibliographic Record; 天一閣博物館. 2006. 天一閣藏明鈔本天聖令校證, 344.Link to Zotero Bibliographic Record

How to Cite This Entry

SUN Xiaoqian 孫曉倩 et al., “ 烏頭門 wūtóumén” in Architectura Sinica last modified November 23, 2021, https://architecturasinica.org/keyword/k000181.


SUN Xiaoqian 孫曉倩 et al., “ 烏頭門 wūtóumén.” In Architectura Sinica, edited by Tracy Miller. Entry published April 8, 2021. https://architecturasinica.org/keyword/k000181.

About this Entry

Entry Title: 烏頭門 wūtóumén

Authorial and Editorial Responsibility:

  • Tracy Miller, editor, Architectura Sinica
  • ZHUGE Jing 諸葛净, associate editor, Architectural Terminology
  • SUN Xiaoqian 孫曉倩 and ZHAO Yuqian 趙與謙, entry contributors, “ 烏頭門 wūtóumén

Additional Credit:

  • Website coordination by Yuh-Fen Benda
  • 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
  • Data entry and adding notes and citations by MIAO Tongxi 繆彤茜

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