píngshǔi 平水



  • pingshui (Pinyin without tones)
  • 平水 (Traditional Chinese)
  • 平水 (Simplified Chinese)
  • píngshǔi (Pinyin)
  • p'ing-shui (Wade-Giles)


    Pingshui (lit. “level water”) can be defined as a method of compensating for the height difference between the purlins on the front/back (zhengmian 正面) and sides (shanmian 山面) of buildings with hip (wudian 廡殿) or hip-gable (xieshan 歇山) roofs, often by adding a board (dianban 墊板) above the pillar to lift the purlins.

    The term pingshui appears in the Qing dynasty Gongcheng zuofa (1734) and is related to the term jujia (“lifting the frame”). At present there is no clear definition of pingshui in academic circles, and the following inferences are based on the description in the Gongcheng zuofa. Here pingshui appears in relation to the interior pillars (jinzhu 金柱) located on the two sides (shanmian) of a building. When determining the height of these pillars, the Gongcheng zuofa states the height of “pingshui” should be added (jia pingshui gao 加平水高; e.g. GCZF 1.15; 3.43). This is because the purlins perpendicular to the roof ridge (those supporting the hip, or hip of a hip-gable roof) are placed directly on top of pillars (or tuodun braces 柁橔, depending on the situation), whereas the purlins parallel to the roof ridge, are placed on top of crossbeams, and the crossbeams are in turn placed on top of the pillars (or tuodun braces). The difference in height, or “pingshui,” must be added to the pillars on the sides (shanmian 山面) in order to compensate for the height of the crossbeams on the front and back facade (zhengmian 正面). In this way the purlins along the sides can be level with those along the front and back facades.


    举架相关的“平水”一词出现于《工程做法》。目前學界对“平水”沒有明確定義,現根據《工程做法》中的描述做出如下推斷。在《工程做法》中,“平水”一詞出現於廡殿頂建築的兩山並四角金柱、四角交金墩、脊瓜柱及歇山頂建築的踩步金柱、脊瓜柱等。在確定這幾種構件的上皮高度時,需加上 “平水” 的高度 (例如 GCZF 1.153.43)。據此推斷,由於山面桁條直接架在柱或柁橔上,而沿面阔方向柱或坨墩之上先架梁,梁上再架桁条,山面與沿面闊方向的桁條就形成了高度差。增加的平水的高度正是為了補足正面桁条與山面桁條之间的這一高度差。由此山面與正面桁条可同高兜圈。

Related concepts

Broad Match: building frame

How to Cite This Entry

CHEN Yinsiwei 陳寅思危 et al., “ 平水 píngshǔi” in Architectura Sinica last modified May 31, 2023, https://architecturasinica.org/keyword/k000191.


CHEN Yinsiwei 陳寅思危 et al., “ 平水 píngshǔi.” In Architectura Sinica, edited by Tracy Miller. Entry published May 10, 2023. https://architecturasinica.org/keyword/k000191.

About this Entry

Entry Title: 平水 píngshǔi

Authorial and Editorial Responsibility:

  • Tracy Miller, editor, Architectura Sinica
  • ZHUGE Jing 諸葛净, associate editor, Architectural Terminology
  • CHEN Yinsiwei 陳寅思危 and JIA Tingli 贾亭立, entry contributors, “ 平水 píngshǔi

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 links by LI Zhixian 李知賢
  • Entry of revised data and links by LI Zhixian 李知賢

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