xiǎomùzuò 小木作



  • xiaomuzuo (Pinyin without tones)1
  • 小木作 (Traditional Chinese)
  • 小木作 (Simplified Chinese)
  • xiǎomùzuò (Pinyin)1
  • xiao-mu-tso (Wade-Giles)
  • small woodwork (lit. ATTCAT 2022) (English)
  • joinery and nonstructural carpentry (English)2
  • small-scale timber carpentry (English)3
  • small carpentry (English)4
  • non-structural carpentry (English)4
  • minor carpentry (English)5
  • lesser carpentry (English)6


    The term xiaomuzuo (lit. “small” “woodwork” or “wood” “creation”) initially appeared in literature of the Song dynasty. Of the thirteen specialized categories in the Yingzao fashi, xiaomuzuo is one of two regarding timber. The second is damuzuo 大木作 (lit. “large” woodwork” or “carpentry”). The section on xiaomuzuo in the Yingzao fashi comprises six chapters (juan 6-11), which include 42 entries of various practices, such as doors and windows (menchuang 門窗), partitions (geduan 隔斷), ceilings (zaojing 藻井), Buddhist and Daoist cabinets (Fo-Dao zhang 佛道帐), and well-pavilions (jingtingzi 井亭子). The distinctiveness of entries in each category makes it difficult to summarize their common characteristics (Xu 1957, 2995; 3108; Li 2009, juan 6-11.)In the Qing dynasty, the term xiaomuzuo was no longer recorded in documents relating to the construction of imperial buildings. In Jiangnan and other places, xiaomuzuo specifically refers to wooden artifacts, furniture, and interior decoration (Jiang 1894, 12.29b; Zhang and Wang 1935, 84a). It can be seen that the meaning of xiaomuzuo developed alongside changes in building practices and construction techniques. 7

    Discussions of xiaomuzuo by modern scholars concentrate on the xiaomuzuo in the Yingzao fashi. It is generally accepted that xiaomuzuo developed rapidly during the Song dynasty due changes in the division of labor, lifestyle, and the development of woodworking tools (Zhang 2002; Guo 2003, 681; Li 2004, 164-169). However, modern researchers have interpreted the characteristics of xiaomuzuo as interior and exterior wood decoration or non-structural parts of wood buildings, (Wang 1995,26;Pan and He 2005,106;Pan 2009,287)(Li 2002;Li 2014,210)ignoring entries in the Yingzao fashi that do not fit the definition of "decoration" or "non-structural." This interpretation also ignores the possible changes between the meaning of xiaomuzuo in the Yingzao fashi and what we see in texts from the Qing dynasty and later.8

    小木作在古籍中最早見於宋代,屬以木為原料的,與築城工程、建築營造或器物製造相关的工種(徐 1957,2995;3108;李 2009, 6-11.)。清代皇家營造文献中不見小木作的記載在江南等地,小木作專指製造器物、家具或者裝飾房屋的工種。(江 1894,12.29b;張和汪 1935,84a)可見,隨著建築做法及施工工藝的變化,小木作工種所包含的内容也在不斷變化之中。7

    在《營造法式》中,小木作是十三個个專業工種之一,与大木作共同負責以木為原料的工作。《營造法式》小木作制度共六卷42條(李 2009, 6-11)。記載了包括門窗、隔斷、藻井、佛道帳、井亭子等項做法,内容繁雜,且條目之间獨立性强,難以簡單概括。9

    現代學者对“小木作”的討論集中於《營造法式》的“小木作”。一般認爲小木作在宋代迅速發展,與專業分工、起居方式變化及木工工具發展均有關聯(張 2002;郭 2003,681;李 2004,164-169)。但大多數學者用室内外木裝修(王 1995,26;潘和何 2005,106;潘 2009,287)或木構建築非結構部分(李 2002;李 2014,210)闡釋《營造法式》小木作特點,回避了書中所列不符合“裝修”或“非結構”的條目,也忽略了《营造法式》小木作與清以來小木作涵义之間可能的變遷問題。8

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, accessed May 27, 2022.Link to Zotero Bibliographic Record
  • 2 GUO. 2002. A Visual Dictionary of Chinese Architecture, 84.Link to Zotero Bibliographic Record
  • 3 FU. 2017. Traditional Chinese Architecture: Twelve Essays, 369.Link to Zotero Bibliographic Record
  • 4 RUITENBEEK. 1996. Carpentry and Building in Late Imperial China: A Study of the Fifteenth-Century Carpenter's Manual Lu Ban Jing, 76.Link to Zotero Bibliographic Record
  • 5 FENG. 2012. Chinese Architecture and Metaphor: Song Culture in the Yingzao Fashi Building Manual, 301.Link to Zotero Bibliographic Record
  • 6 STEINHARDT. 1997. Liao Architecture, 147.Link to Zotero Bibliographic Record
  • 7 徐. 1957. 宋會要輯稿, 2995; 3108.Link to Zotero Bibliographic Record; KROLL. 2015. A Student's Dictionary of Classical and Medieval Chinese, juan 6-11.Link to Zotero Bibliographic Record; 江. 1894. 光緒重修嘉善縣誌, 12.29b.Link to Zotero Bibliographic Record; 張. 1935. 鄞縣通誌, 84a.Link to Zotero Bibliographic Record
  • 8 张. 2002. 古代营建技术中的“样”、“造”、“作”, 37-41, 258.Link to Zotero Bibliographic Record; 郭. 2003. 中國古代建築史·宋,遼,金,西夏建築, 681.Link to Zotero Bibliographic Record; 李. 2004.01. 中国传统建筑木作工具, 164-169.Link to Zotero Bibliographic Record; 王. 1995. 工程做法注释, 26.Link to Zotero Bibliographic Record; 潘. 2005. 《营造法式》解读, 106.Link to Zotero Bibliographic Record; 潘. 2009. 中国建筑史, 287.Link to Zotero Bibliographic Record; 李. 2002. 大木作与小木作工具的比较, 39-43.Link to Zotero Bibliographic Record; 李. 2014. 华夏意匠 中国古典建筑设计原理分析, 210.Link to Zotero Bibliographic Record
  • 9 KROLL. 2015. A Student's Dictionary of Classical and Medieval Chinese, juan 6-11.Link to Zotero Bibliographic Record

Broad Match: building frame

Broad Match: architectural ornament

How to Cite This Entry

Bai Ying 白穎 et al., “ 小木作 xiǎomùzuò” in Architectura Sinica last modified May 31, 2023, https://architecturasinica.org/keyword/k000231.


Bai Ying 白穎 et al., “ 小木作 xiǎomùzuò.” In Architectura Sinica, edited by Tracy Miller. Entry published July 1, 2022. https://architecturasinica.org/keyword/k000231.

About this Entry

Entry Title: 小木作 xiǎomùzuò

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  • Tracy Miller, editor, Architectura Sinica
  • Bai Ying 白穎 and Ding Yihang 丁一航, entry contributors, “ 小木作 xiǎomùzuò

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  • English proofreading by Aurelia Campbell Tracy Miller
  • Chinese proofreading by ZHUGE Jing 諸葛净 ZUO Lala 左拉拉
  • Adding citation information in 2022 by CHEN Zhuo 陈卓
  • Entry of revised data and links by LI Zhixian 李知賢

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