Shuatou, literally, “mocking” “head” or “top” (Kroll 2015, 424 and 458), is a component part of the dougong (bracket-set) located above the uppermost layer of huagong or ang. The shuatou protrudes from the center of the dougong, intersecting with the linggong, which is perpendicular to it (Liang Sicheng 1981, 22). 2
The term shuatou is only found in the Yingzao fashi, as one of four alternative names for this timber element. The other three are: “bird head” (quetou 爵頭 read: 雀頭) (Zhen and Jia 2008,25; Hanyu dacidian 汉语大词典 entry “爵”), "monkey head" (husun tou 胡孫頭), and "insect head” (fuzong tou 蜉䗥頭) (Li 2009, 1.8b, 4.7a). All of these alternatives probably derive from the various descriptions of its finished shape, which may have broader cultural connotations. The YZFS description and accompanying illustration indicates two possible usages for the term: 1. the protruding tip or end of the timber member (the portion that intersects with linggong) 2. the entire timber component, including protruding tip and the back portion which is joined into the body of the dougong (Li 2009, 4.7a-b; 30.2b; 30.15a-b)). Modern architectural historians use the term shuatou to refer both to the end of the relevant component and the whole component. 3
As stipulated in the Yingzao fashi, the shuatou constitutes the upper “full unit” (zucai 足材) puzuo layer within the dougong. Placed perpendicular to the building facade, it is joined through the linggong, supporting the central uppermost bearing block (qixindou 齊心斗), and extending into body of the dougong. Its width is the same dimension as the huagong and/or ang below it (Li 2009, 4.7a-b). Thus, it functions structurally to secure the linggong to the dougong and stabilize it. 4
In the Qing dynasty Gongcheng zuofa the timber element equivalent to the shuatou is called “grasshopper head” (mazhatou 螞蚱頭) (清朝工部颁布；吴吉明译注 2018, 196). This element might also be called “initial-cut head” (qieji tou 切幾頭) when the end is cut into a basic rectangular shape (Pan and He 2005, 84). 5
Apart from the shapes prescribed in the Song dynasty Yingzao fashi, we know from pictorial and archaeological evidence that at least three other forms of shuatou existed: those in the shape of an unadorned right-angle square head, those shaped as horizontal or slanted ang 昂 (see entry on angxing shuatou 昂形耍頭), and those with a more curvilinear form. The earliest buildings with shuatou date to the Tang dynasty and its use became popular from the Five Dynasties period onward, especially in northern China (Jia 2010, 217). In the southern Yangzi river delta, shuatou were not common even in the Song-Yuan period (Zhang 2002a, 174-75; Zhang 2002b). An example of a Song period building without shuatou is the Sanqing hall 三清殿 in Suzhou's Xuanmiao Belvedere 玄妙觀 (reconstructed in 1179), where the upper eaves dougong are lacking this element. 6
In extant buildings, the ends of beams shaped to look like shuatou are also commonly referred to as shuatou (Jia 2010, 218). One such situation was known as "ba tou jiaoxiang zuo 把頭絞項作," which was common in the Tang dynasty (Pan and He 2005, 84). Another can be found in many buildings dating after the Yuan dynasty, where the component has a shape of a shuatou but is bigger than was stipulated in the YZFS (Guo 2005, 166). In both cases, the component's function is not the same as shuatou described in the Yingzao fashi, even though they have a similar shape. 7
“耍頭”作爲建築術語，在曆史文獻中僅見于《營造法式》,為該構件的四種別名之一。依據《營造法式》的文字，“耍頭”仅指與令栱相交之構件的从斗心向外伸出的部分，而根據圖樣，該術語也被用作指代伸出耍頭的整個構件。以“耍頭”指相關構件端部或作爲整個構件名稱的用法也被現代建築史學家沿用。《营造法式》所规定的耍頭的基本特征是使用足材，與令栱相交并伸出，榫卯開口與華栱相同，安置於齊心斗下方。（李 2009,4.7a-b；30.2b; 30.15a-b）《營造法式》所规定的耍頭可起拉結與穩定令栱的作用。3
学者認為，初唐以前的斗栱大多不出耍頭 (张 2002a, 174)。唐代開始出現令栱交出耍頭的建築實例，而這一做法普遍流行是在五代至宋後（贾 2010, 217）。北方到了宋代，耍頭已經十分常見。而在江南地區，直到宋元時期仍經常不出耍頭 (张 2002a, 174–75; 张 2002b)，如南宋蘇州玄妙觀三清殿的上簷斗栱（重建於1179）。 9
在歷代實物中，還有一類將梁栿端頭外伸，斫為耍頭的做法（贾洪波 2010, 218）。一種存在於早期的把頭絞項作斗栱中（潘和何 2005, 84)，另一種則出現在元代以後，斷面尺寸增高且不再施齊心斗（郭 2005, 166）。此類構件端部具有耍頭的形態，但在整體斗栱和構架中的作用與《法式》規定的耍頭並不完全相同。 10
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- 2 KROLL. 2015. A Student's Dictionary of Classical and Medieval Chinese, 424, 458.; 梁. 1981. 清式營造則例, 22.
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- 9 张. 2002. 中国江南禅宗寺院建筑, 174-175.; 清工部. 2018. 工程做法则例, 196.; 张. 2002. 《营造法式》的技术源流及其与江南建筑的关联探析, 1-11, 274.
- 10 潘. 2005. 《营造法式》解读, 84.; 郭. 2005. 明代官式建筑大木作, 166.
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- 15 STEINHARDT. 2019. Chinese architecture: a history, 91.; 2022. ATTCAT 2022, accessed March 13, 2023.
Broad Match: bracketing
How to Cite This Entry
Bibliography:ZHUGE Jing 諸葛净 et al., “ 耍頭 shuǎtóu.” In Architectura Sinica, edited by Tracy Miller. Entry published May 28, 2022. https://architecturasinica.org/keyword/k000220.
About this Entry
Entry Title: 耍頭 shuǎtóu
Authorial and Editorial Responsibility:
- Tracy Miller, editor, Architectura Sinica
- ZHUGE Jing 諸葛净, associate editor, Architectural Terminology
- ZHUGE Jing 諸葛净 and HUAN Kaijie 还凯洁, entry contributors, “ 耍頭 shuǎtóu”
- Website coordination by Yuh-Fen Benda
- Preliminary research and revision by HUAN Kaijie 还凯洁
- Peer review by ATTCAT 2022
- English proofreading by Aurelia Campbell Tracy Miller
- Chinese proofreading by ZHUGE Jing 諸葛净 ZUO Lala 左拉拉
- Data entry by LI Zhixian 李知賢
- Entry of revised data and links by LI Zhixian 李知賢
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