• liang (Pinyin without tones)
  • (Traditional Chinese)2
  • (Simplified Chinese)
  • liáng (Pinyin)
  • liang (Wade-Giles)
  • beams (English)3
  • cross beams (ATTCAT preferred) (English)1


    (1) Cross beam. One of the main categories of structural elements in Chinese traditional architecture; interchangeable with fu 栿. According to the Yingzao fashi (1103), Chapter 5, 1a and the Gongcheng zuofa (1734), cross beams are placed above the pillars and at least one end is supported directly by a pillar or by a bracket on top of a pillar, while the other end could be inserted into the body of the a pillar or placed above another beam. In extant historic buildings it is also possible to find cross beams whose ends are placed above another beam. With the exception of the T-beam, a cross beam is usually located perpendicular to purlins. In the Yingzao fashi, beams are usually described with the character fu 栿, and a beam between pillars is named after the number of rafters it spans, such as a 6-rafter-beam, or 8-rafter-beam. But there are exceptions, including the zhaqian 剳牽 (lit. pin-pricking connector), rufu 乳栿 (lit. infant beam), yanfu 檐栿 (lit. eaves cross beam), pingliang 平梁 (lit. level cross beam), and 丁栿 dingfu (T-beam). Modern architectural historians use this terminology to describe architecture dating from the Tang to the early Ming dynasties. In Qing dynasty texts such as the Gongcheng zuofa, a cross beam is usually named after the number of purlins it spans, e.g. a 5-purlin beam, or a 7-purlin beam.

    (2) A bridge spanning water.

    (1) 作為建築構件,梁是中國傳統建築中的主要長材之一種,也可稱為。但以後,用字者較為少見。清工部《工程做法》中統一稱為“梁”。根據北宋營造法式》(1103年)與清工部《工程做法》(1734年),梁的基本特徵包括:不用於面闊方向;梁的兩個支點中,至少有一端位置在柱以上;其支點直接或經由斗栱被柱支撐。其中一端或可插入柱,或也可能架於另一梁栿上。在實例中,也有可能兩個支點都架在其它梁或額上。北宋《營造法式》術語體系裡多用“”字。通常以其跨度的椽架數命名:如六椽栿、八椽栿等。不符合這一命名規則的梁則有劄牽乳栿、檐栿、平梁丁栿等。代文獻如工部《工程做法》中通常以其跨度的檁條數來命名,如五架梁、七架梁等。

    (2) 梁也指跨越水面的橋。

Related concepts

Works Cited

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

  • 1 2018. ATTCAT 2018Link to Zotero Bibliographic Record
  • 2 荀. 1368-1644. 前漢紀(無錫孫氏小綠天藏明翻宋本), 398.Link to Zotero Bibliographic Record; 陳. 2010. 《營造法式》辭解, 315.Link to Zotero Bibliographic Record; 王. 2007. 中国古建筑术语辞典, 371.Link to Zotero Bibliographic Record
  • 3 GUO. 2002. A Visual Dictionary of Chinese Architecture, 53.Link to Zotero Bibliographic Record

Broad Match: building frame

How to Cite This Entry

ZHUGE Jing 諸葛净 et al., “ liáng” in Architectura Sinica last modified September 5, 2020,


ZHUGE Jing 諸葛净 et al., “ liáng.” In Architectura Sinica, edited by Tracy Miller. Entry published May 20, 2019.

About this Entry

Entry Title: liáng

Authorial and Editorial Responsibility:

  • Tracy Miller, editor, Architectura Sinica
  • ZHUGE Jing 諸葛净, associate editor, Architectural Terminology
  • ZHUGE Jing 諸葛净 and CHEN Luxi 陳麓西, entry contributors, “ liáng

Additional Credit:

  • Website coordination by Yuh-Fen Benda
  • Initial research and revision by ZHUGE Jing 諸葛净, CHEN Luxi 陳麓西
  • Peer review by ATTCAT 2018
  • Data entry by Tracy Miller
  • English proofreading by Aurelia Campbell
  • Chinese proofreading by ZHUGE Jing 諸葛净
  • Adding citations Melanie Lu
  • Revising title statement by SUN Zheng 孫正

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