Lingxingmen is an elaborate gateway with a form similar to wutoumen 烏頭門. Usually, a lingxingmen is used at the entrance of ritual architectural complexes, such as the Wenmiao (Temple of Literature), sacrificial altars to the spirits of Heaven and Earth, and other religious complexes. The term lingxingmen was used beginning in the Northern Song dynasty.
The earliest known reference for lingxingmen is in the Yingzao fashi, where it is described as a common term for wutoumen (Li 2009, 6.2a). Here the Chinese character ling 欞, with a wood radical, was used. Other documents from the same period use the character ling 靈, without the wood radical (Lou 1985, 110.27a). Although premodern sources from the Song dynasty use both terms, from the Ming dynasty onward, the wood-radical lingxingmen 欞星門 gradually became the most common.2
The term lingxingmen appears to have originated from the traditional ritual of offering sacrifices to the star Lingxing 靈星 in the pre-Qin period (Pu 2.26b). In the Song dynasty, according to the location of Lingxing in the constellation Purple Tenuity Enclosure (Ziweihuan 紫微垣), a Lingxingmen was constructed in its corresponding earthly location within the Southern Suburban Altar (Nanjiaotan 南郊壇), and the wutoumen form was used for it. After the Song dynasty, with the development of the style and materials used for the gate, as well as the expansion of the occasions for which its use was considered appropriate, lingxingmen came to have different connotations. From the Song dynasty onwards, many people have believed that lingxingmen was related to lingzi 欞子, a portion of the latticework on a door leaf. However, scholars in the Yuan and Qing dynasties demonstrated that lingxingmen should be written as Lingxingmen 靈星門, without the wood radical, because it originated with the early Lingxing sacrifice. Subsequently, Lingxingmen were used as the outer gate of Wenmiao as a symbol of the Confucian) respect for farming (Liu, 27.8a-9a). After the Qing dynasty, due to the differentiation of types, new terms like longfengmen 龍鳳門 (dragon-phoenix gate) and erzhumen 二柱門 (two pillar gate) were created, based largely on their varying formal characteristics.3
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- 1 漢語大詞典編纂処. 2011. 漢語大詞典
- 2 李. 2009. 營造法式(故宫藏抄本), 6.2a.; 樓. 1985. 攻愧集, 110.27a.
- 3 卜. 詩序, 2.26b.; 劉. 隱居通議, 27.8a-9a.
How to Cite This Entry
Bibliography:SUN Xiaoqian 孫曉倩 et al., “ 欞星門 língxīngmén.” In Architectura Sinica, edited by Tracy Miller. Entry published April 8, 2021. https://architecturasinica.org/keyword/k000182.
About this Entry
Entry Title: 欞星門 língxīngmén
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, “ 欞星門 língxīngmén”
- 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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