yángmǎchéng 羊馬城



  • yangmacheng (Pinyin without tones)1
  • 羊馬城 (Traditional Chinese)
  • 羊马城 (Simplified Chinese)
  • yángmǎchéng (Pinyin)1
  • yang-ma-ch'eng (Wade-Giles)
  • goat-and-horse defensive wall (lit.) (English)
  • goat and horse fortification (lit.) (English)
  • parapets (ATTCAT preferred) (English)2
  • fausse-brayes (English)2
  • ramparts (English)2


    Yangma wall (yangmacheng 羊馬城) literally meaning “goat and horse fortification,” first appeared in Tang dynasty records and then also in Song dynasty textual sources. It refers to a wall built either between the city wall and the moat or around a beacon tower. It is usually smaller than the city wall. The yangma wall forms a closed circle around the city wall or the beacon tower, or may be located in certain parts of the city wall to form a closed circle together with the city wall. Yangma wall serves as a defensive line between the city wall and the moat in order to prevent the enemy from invading. It was also used for the temporary placement of goats, sheep, and horses when residents outside the city entered the city for protection. A second term, yangmaqiang 羊馬墻, literally meaning “goat and horse wall” also survives in Tang and Song records and the two terms are interchangeable in texts until the Qing dynasty.3

    Judging from the remains of fortifications excavated by archaeologists, the earliest known yangmacheng is located at the site of Luotuocheng 駱駝城 in Gaotai County, Gansu Province. Scholars believe that the site might have been constructed in the Former Liang period (320-376) of the Sixteen Kingdoms. Most of the known remains of yangmacheng date to the Tang and Song Dynasties. In the ancient city of Beiting, built in the Tang Dynasty and located in Xinjiang province, the yangmacheng was constructed between the north side of the north wall of the outer city and the south bank of the moat, and it adopts a nearly rectangular plane. Yangmacheng are rare in the Ming and Qing Dynasties. Some hypothesize that due to the development of weapons, the low yangmacheng built with rammed earth no longer played an effective defensive role and therefore stopped being built.4

    羊馬城,亦稱羊馬墻,指中國古代修築於城墻與護城河之間,或烽火臺周邊的墻體。其墻體尺度小於城墻,環繞城墻或烽火臺一周,或設於城墻局部與城墻共同形成閉合的城圈。羊馬城是城墻與護城河之間阻擋敵人進攻的一重防線,同時也可供城外居民在撤入城內時暫時安置羊馬之用。 “羊馬城”最早出现于唐代文獻,宋代文獻又出現“羊馬墻”一詞,直至明二詞一直混用。(杜,152.15b,152.21b-152.22a)(曾,12.3a)(司馬 1965,8537)(陳,2.5a-5b,1.12a-12b)3

    考古已知最早羊馬城遺跡為甘肅高臺縣駱駝城址,學者考證可能於前涼時期即修築(李 2002,79-81)。現發現的羊馬城遺址大多數為唐宋時期修築,遺跡比較完整的如唐代新疆吉木薩爾北庭古城(孫 1982,165-175,233-235)。時期的城墻遺址中少見羊馬城,可能由於攻城武器的发展,土築的低矮羊馬城已難以有效發揮防禦作用,因此大多數城池不再修築羊馬城。4

Related concepts

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 28, 2022.Link to Zotero Bibliographic Record
  • 2 HUANG. 2001. Defensive Structures and Construction Materials in Song City Walls, 51.Link to Zotero Bibliographic Record
  • 3 杜. 1988. 通典(校點本), 152.15b.Link to Zotero Bibliographic Record; 杜. 1988. 通典(校點本), 152.21b-152.22a.Link to Zotero Bibliographic Record; 曾. 武經總要, 12.3a.Link to Zotero Bibliographic Record; 司馬. 1956. 資治通鑑, 8537.Link to Zotero Bibliographic Record; 陳. 守城機要.守城錄, 2.5a-5b.Link to Zotero Bibliographic Record; 陳. 守城機要.守城錄, 1.12a-12b.Link to Zotero Bibliographic Record
  • 4 LI. 2002. 古代城防设施——羊马城考, 79-81.Link to Zotero Bibliographic Record; 孙. 1982. 新疆吉木萨尔北庭古城调查, 165-175.Link to Zotero Bibliographic Record; 孙. 1982. 新疆吉木萨尔北庭古城调查, 233-235.Link to Zotero Bibliographic Record

Broad Match: fortification elements

How to Cite This Entry

JIA Tingli 賈亭立 et al., “ 羊馬城 yángmǎchéng” in Architectura Sinica last modified July 14, 2022, https://architecturasinica.org/keyword/k000122.


JIA Tingli 賈亭立 et al., “ 羊馬城 yángmǎchéng.” In Architectura Sinica, edited by Tracy Miller. Entry published May 12, 2020. https://architecturasinica.org/keyword/k000122.

About this Entry

Entry Title: 羊馬城 yángmǎchéng

Authorial and Editorial Responsibility:

  • Tracy Miller, editor, Architectura Sinica
  • ZHUGE Jing 諸葛凈, associate editor, Architectural Terminology
  • JIA Tingli 賈亭立 and XIE Fei 谢菲, entry contributors, “ 羊馬城 yángmǎchéng

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  • English proofreading by Aurelia Campbell Tracy Miller
  • Chinese proofreading by ZHUGE Jing 諸葛净 ZUO Lala 左拉拉
  • Data entry, proofreading and revision by Tracy Miller
  • Data entry, adding citations, and revising statements by SUN Zheng 孫正
  • Adding notes, bibliography, photo LI Zhixian 李知賢

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