Foguang Monastery, Great East Hall  佛光寺東大殿


  • Great East Hall (English)
  • 東大殿 (Traditional Chinese)
  • 东大殿 (Simplified Chinese)
  • Dōngdàdiàn (Pinyin)
  • Tung-ta-tien (Wade-Giles)
  • Foguangsi Dongdadian (English)
  • 佛光寺東大殿 (Traditional Chinese)
  • 佛光寺东大殿 (Simplified Chinese)


  • Coordinates:
    • Lat. 38.8695° Long. 113.387333°
  • Building Information

    The Great East Hall, or Dongdadian 東大殿, sits in the east side of the monastery facing the west. Based on evidence from inscriptions preserved at the site, the hall is believed to have been built in 857 and is one of the most important structures in China. Until the discovery of Nanchansi in 1953, it was the oldest building extant in modern China, and it remains the grandest extant Tang building to this day. The Great East Hall is distinguished from other extant Tang structures through its grid ceiling and a hip (wudian 廡殿) roof, while others have hip-gable roofs with exposed roof frames. Another thing that distinguishes the East Hall from other Tang dynasty halls is that the East Hall is our earliest extant example of a building which could be described as using a palatial hall structure (diantang 殿堂). 1

    The hall is a 7 x 4 bay timber-frame structure, eight pillars wide and five pillars deep, measuring 34 by 17.66 meters. The hall uses seven-puzuo bracket sets on the tops of the pillars to support the roof. The front, central bay is the widest, and the other six bays symmetrically decrease going toward the sides of the building. The five central front bays have doors, and the outer ones have slat, or straight lattice, windows (zhilingchuang 直欞窗). 1

    Date 857
    Dynasty Tang 618 - 907 2

    Works Cited

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

    • 1 国家文物局. 2006. 中国文物地图集. 山西分册, II:579-580;41-C2-1.Link to Zotero Bibliographic Record; STEINHARDT. 2019. Chinese architecture: a historyLink to Zotero Bibliographic Record
    • 2 WILKINSON. 2000. Chinese History: A Manual, 12.Link to Zotero Bibliographic Record

    Contained in Place

    How to Cite This Entry

    Foguang Monastery, Great East Hall 佛光寺東大殿 ” in Architectura Sinica last modified May 26, 2022,


    Foguang Monastery, Great East Hall 佛光寺東大殿 .” In Architectura Sinica, edited by Tracy Miller. Entry published March 21, 2018.

    About this Entry

    Entry Title: Foguang Monastery, Great East Hall 佛光寺東大殿

    Authorial and Editorial Responsibility:

    • Tracy Miller, editor, Architectura Sinica

    Additional Credit:

    • Editing, proofreading, data entry and revision by Tracy Miller
    • adding citations Melanie Lu
    • Data entry Kymbria Thomas

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