chídào 馳道


  • chidao (Pinyin without tones)1
  • 馳道 (Traditional Chinese)
  • 驰道 (Simplified Chinese)
  • chídào (Pinyin)1
  • ch'ih-tao (Wade-Giles)
  • expressway (lit., ATTCAT 2022 preferred translation) (English)


    The term chidao, literally “speed” and “way” (Kroll 2015, 51, 79), was first used in the Qin dynasty (221-206 BCE) to refer to national expressways for the emperor's tours and military affairs. The roadways were first established in the Warring States Period (475-221 BCE); in the Qin dynasty, the First Emperor (Qin Shihuang) expanded them from Xianyang to all parts of the country. New roads were built during the Han, Sui, and Ming Dynasties. Chidao were very wide and were divided into three lanes, with the middle lane being exclusively used by the emperor. After the Eastern Han dynasty (25-220 CE), chidao had two meanings. (1) Chidao located near the imperial palace were strongly associated with imperial authority and the term was gradually used interchangeably with “middle road” (zhongdao 中道), “imperial road” (yudao 禦道), and “defensive road” (yulu 禦路). (2) Between cities and counties, the military and transportation functions of chidao were emphasized. During the Ming and Qing dynasties and into the twentieth century, the term chidao was used generally to refer to common roadways (Ban Gu 班固 1962, 2242, 2888; Wei Zheng 魏征 1974, 68; and Zhu Mingpan 朱銘盤1984,705 Wang Zijin 2012). 2,, 3


    東漢後馳道有兩種涵義:(1)都城內外馳道強調皇權制度,一定意義上是君王專走道路,逐漸與“中道”“禦道”“禦路”互用;(2)城邑之間則側重馳道的軍事與交通作用。從明至20世紀,“馳道”一詞泛指車馬馳行的道路(班固1962,2242,2888;魏征 1974,68;朱銘盤 1984,705; 王 2012)。 3

Works Cited

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

  • 1 漢語大詞典編纂処. 2011. 漢語大詞典, accessed June 12, 2022.Link to Zotero Bibliographic Record
  • 2 KROLL. 2015. A Student's Dictionary of Classical and Medieval Chinese, 51, 79.Link to Zotero Bibliographic Record
  • 3 班. 1962. 漢書, 2242, 2888.Link to Zotero Bibliographic Record; 魏. 1974. 魏書, 68.Link to Zotero Bibliographic Record; 朱. 1984. 南朝宋會要, 705.Link to Zotero Bibliographic Record; 王. 2012. 秦汉交通史稿Link to Zotero Bibliographic Record

How to Cite This Entry

SUN Xiaoqian 孙晓倩 et al., “ 馳道 chídào” in Architectura Sinica last modified May 31, 2023,


SUN Xiaoqian 孙晓倩 et al., “ 馳道 chídào.” In Architectura Sinica, edited by Tracy Miller. Entry published May 30, 2022.

About this Entry

Entry Title: 馳道 chídào

Authorial and Editorial Responsibility:

  • Tracy Miller, editor, Architectura Sinica
  • ZHUGE Jing 諸葛净, associate editor, Architectural Terminology
  • SUN Xiaoqian 孙晓倩 and LIAO Tianyi 廖天怡, entry contributors, “ 馳道 chídào

Additional Credit:

  • Website coordination by Yuh-Fen Benda
  • Initial research and revision by LIAO Tianyi 廖天怡 CMW M22
  • Data entry by CHEN Zhuo 陈卓
  • Entry of revised data and links by LI Zhixian 李知賢

Copyright and License for Reuse

Except otherwise noted, this page is © 2022.

Distributed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported License.