pǔpāifāng 普拍方



  • pupaifang (Pinyin without tones)1
  • 普拍方 (Traditional Chinese)
  • 普拍方 (Simplified Chinese)
  • pǔpāifāng (Pinyin)1
  • p'u-p'ai-fang (Wade-Giles)
  • universal capping beam (lit. ATTCAT2022) (English)
  • pupai tie beam (English)5
  • horizontally-positioned architrave (English)6
  • architrave (English)7


    Pupaifang is a long, horizontal architectural element placed on top of the pillar top tie beam (lan’e 闌額) atop which the dougong 斗栱 are located. The term pupaifang is found in the chapters on pingzuo 平坐 (lit. “leveling seat”) and xiaomuzuo 小木作 (lit. “small woodwork”) in the Yingzao fashi (1103). In extant buildings, however, pupaifang were not limited to use in pingzuo and xiaomuzuo. Based on information in other textual records, it is presumed that the use of the term pupaifang in the Yingzao fashi may have come from a transcription of the craftsmen's spoken language (Fang 1894, 2.14b; Guo 2003, 12). In the Qing dynasty, the term pingbanfang 平板枋 was used instead of pupaifang. 2

    The earliest known example of the use of pupaifang is in the brick Xuanzang Pagoda at Xingjiao Monastery in Xi'an (first built in 669; rebuilt in 882). The Amitābha Hall (940) in Danyun Cloister, Pinshun, Shanxi, is the earliest known surviving wooden structure employing pupaifang. Pupaifang began to be widely used in the Liao and Jin dynasties (Zhang 2011). Because the Tang through Jin dynasty examples of pupaifang are primarily found in Northern Song, Liao, and Jin dynasty buildings, scholars have also proposed that pupaifang originated in Northern Chinese architecture (Zhang 2011).3

    Some scholars believe that the pupaifang was originally designed to provide extra support for the increased load of bujian puzuo 補間鋪作 (intercolumnar bracket sets) (Zhang 2018). Based on architectural information from Japanese pagodas and the Xuanzang Pagoda of Xingjiao Monastery in Xi'an, some scholars have also suggested that the pupaifang may have developed from the minban 皿板, a unique element of multi-story architecture that provided a stable base for the upper story (Zhang 2018), and could therefore be used to support more elaborate corbel bracket sets such as xiegong 斜栱 (angled bracket arms). Other scholars, based on the same evidence in the Xuanzang Pagoda, refute the claim that minban was the original form of pupaifang. They argue instead that the pupaifang was developed from the hengmei 橫楣, a component often found in architecture of the Northern and Southern Dynasties (Shen 1995). Lan’e 闌額 could also have been developed from hengmei at the same time (Lei and Lin 2018). Because the shape and size of the cross-section of the pupaifang changed over time, it is often used as a means of dating a building. 4


    普拍方作為建築術語,主要見於《營造法式》(1103)關於平坐小木作的文字,但在實例中普拍方不僅用于平坐和小木作。西安興教寺玄奘塔(磚塔仿木,669建,882重建)被認為是出現普拍方形象的最早實例。已知最早使用普拍方的現存木構建築為山西平順大雲院彌陀殿(940)。普拍方從遼金時期開始有普遍應用(張 2011)。學者也普遍同意普拍方等同於清《工程做法》中的平板枋。當代建築史學者用此類術語描述遼宋至明代建築物。3

    從文獻記載(方 1894, 2.14b;郭 2003,12)推測,《營造法式》中普拍方的寫法可能來自對工匠口語的轉寫。2

    對於普拍方的出現原因,比較普遍的觀點認為普拍方是為安置補間鋪作而出現的構件(張 2018)。但結合對日本的塔與西安興教寺玄奘塔的分析,有學者認為普拍方可能起源於皿板,是多層建築的特有構件,可使上層獲得平穩基座。(張 2018)而從西安興教寺玄奘塔出發,也有學者反駁普拍方是皿板的擴大,以及普拍方普及是補間鋪作增大和斜栱發達的前提條件的觀點(沈 1995),認為普拍方由南北朝時期建築橫楣分化而來,與之同時分化出的構件是闌額。(雷和林 2018)基於唐代至金代的實例中普拍方多出現於北宋和遼金建築,學者也提出普拍方是源出於北方建築的構件。(張 2011) 3,, 4


Related concepts

Works Cited

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

  • 1 陳. 2010. 《營造法式》辭解, 346.Link to Zotero Bibliographic Record
  • 2 方. 1894. 金石萃編補正, 2.14b.Link to Zotero Bibliographic Record; 郭. 2003. 圖畫見聞志, 12.Link to Zotero Bibliographic Record
  • 3 张. 2011. 普拍方, 78-80.Link to Zotero Bibliographic Record
  • 4 张. 2018. 试论普拍方的起源, 118-120.Link to Zotero Bibliographic Record; 沈. 1995. 斜栱演变及普拍枋的作用, 12.Link to Zotero Bibliographic Record; 雷. 2018. 从西安兴教寺玄奘塔看唐时普拍方的运用兼论其起源, 233-234.Link to Zotero Bibliographic Record
  • 5 STEINHARDT. 1997. Liao Architecture, 43, 82, 84, 107, 108, 130, 193, 209, 222, 305, 421.Link to Zotero Bibliographic Record
  • 6 FU. 2017. Traditional Chinese Architecture: Twelve Essays, 363.Link to Zotero Bibliographic Record
  • 7 GUO. 2002. A Visual Dictionary of Chinese Architecture, 64.Link to Zotero Bibliographic Record

Broad Match: building frame

How to Cite This Entry

ZHUGE Jing 諸葛净 et al., “ 普拍方 pǔpāifāng” in Architectura Sinica last modified May 31, 2023, https://architecturasinica.org/keyword/k000218.


ZHUGE Jing 諸葛净 et al., “ 普拍方 pǔpāifāng.” In Architectura Sinica, edited by Tracy Miller. Entry published May 28, 2022. https://architecturasinica.org/keyword/k000218.

About this Entry

Entry Title: 普拍方 pǔpāifāng

Authorial and Editorial Responsibility:

  • Tracy Miller, editor, Architectura Sinica
  • ZHUGE Jing 諸葛净, associate editor, Architectural Terminology
  • ZHUGE Jing 諸葛净 and CONG Jiayi 丛佳仪, entry contributors, “ 普拍方 pǔpāifāng

Additional Credit:

  • Website coordination by Yuh-Fen Benda
  • Preliminary research and revision by CONG Jiayi 丛佳仪
  • 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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