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Trusses、Doors and Windows

Chinese people often use the term “engraved beam, painted column” to describe extravagant mansions, because engraved wooden components are used as the characteristics of Chinese architecture. The wood carving is mostly manifested on the truss under a corridor on the door or on the window.  

The Arch 
 The arch, also known as “tongsui,” is positioned on the flower carving material beneath the corridor beam. It is used to make the column steady and prevent it from deformation.  

 Shusui is a tiebeam of a smaller area. It is often made into a radial. It is used to fill holes and make wooden frames steady. Now it is used mainly for decoration.  

 Douzuo is a pedestal which holds bearing blocks. Douzuo supports the heavy weight of beams. It has structural functions. Since it can have various shapes, it becomes the emphasis of carpentry work.  

 The short column guatong is one kind of douzuo. It is placed at the joint part between beams and columns. Usually, it is carved into an oval shape (It means gua in Mandarin) or the shape of a hornless dragon. Both of the shapes mean “fortune.” The lower parts of the guatong are extended and brought together to form the shape of an eagle claw, which firmly holds on to the beam lest from being loosen.  

 Dou gong originally had structural functions. As the bracketarm reaches out, its end is connected with the bearing block. While the blocks link with another bracketarm, the bracketarm in turn links with a higher bearing block. The linkage goes upward and eventually holds the roof in place. Therefore, it can support and distribute the weight of the entire roof.  

The bolster 
 The bolster is also termed “queti” or “chajiao.” It is a wooden part placed at the near-triangular intersection between beams and columns. It can make the wooden components steady.  

 Pengqianzhen is a butterfly-shaped skid beneath an architrave. It holds the components on the purlin steady.  

Diaotong:the pendant 
 The pendant is also called “huatong.” Dangling from the eave rafter, it is the extension of the pendent column which often ends in the engraved shape of flower baskets or balls of silk strips.  

Shucai”:the vertica component 
 Shucai is the wooden component placed around the pendent column. It is used to cover the crevice of the middle part of the pendent column. As it is placed in an eye-catching position, it is the focal point of the engraving art.  

Paneled door”:Paper or wooden partitions are put between two rooms 
 A paneled door usually has six, eight, or ten door panels and the panels are served as the partitions between the interior space. These panels can all be uninstalled when increasing the inner space is needed. A paneled door is composed of “tiaohuanban,” “gexin,” “yaohuaban,” and “qunban,” all of which refer to different parts of the door.  

 Gexin refers to open ornamental casements and it features geometrical patterns, landscapes, or flower patterns. Glass panes or silk fabrics can be inlayed in these casements which contribute to the versatility of engraving art in traditional Chinese architecture.  

Tiaohuanban:the top part of a paneled door 
 Through openwork carving, it often displays flowers and birds of the four seasons, human figures or geometrical patterns. All of which are three-dimensional.  

Yaohuaban:the upper panel of a paneled door 
 Yaohuaban often features imitation of animal mask decors on bronze utensils. They are mostly a pair of hornless dragons, but sometimes they are flora or cloud patterns made by bas-relief engraving method.  

Qunban:the lower panel of a paneled door 
 The rim of qunban is only colored with dye halos, which is simple yet elegant.  

Sill wall window 
 Unlike paneled doors, a sill wall window does not have a qunban or the lower panel. It is fixed on the wall. Openwork carved wooden bars, also called grills, are form into translucent checkered panels. These panels form hollow window shutters. The shutters can filter light into different shades and let the air in. The checkered panels have patterns, such as color wooden balls, paired flowers, or trapa natans.  

The unmovable window 
 The ventilating window is used in a higher architecture in order to facilitate the indoor airflow exchange. Although it is placed on a higher position, the engraving is still delicate. It is mostly a combination of paralleled or crossed wooden bars.