故宫铺首衔环Pu Shou—the beast-faced door knocker with ring pull

“铺首”一词最早出现在汉代,《汉书.卷十一.哀帝纪》:「孝元庙殿门铜龟蛇铺首鸣。 [1]。何谓铺首,据王效青《中国古建筑术语辞典》:“铺首即门扇上的拉手饰件。因以兽首铺设之,故名。[2]”

图1 永寿门铺首
Figure 1 Pu Shou, the Gate of Yongshou Palace

The word “Pu Shou” first appeared in the Han Dynasty, in memory of Emperor Ai, the history of Han Dynasty (汉书), volume 11: “the bronze tortoises, snakes and the beast-faced door knockers at the entrance of the Xiaoyuan Temple wailed in mourning together [1].” What is a Pu Shou? According to Wang Xiaoqing, “Chinese Ancient Architectural Terminology Dictionary”: Pu Shou is a decorative handle pull on the door. It is named because it was laid in the shape of a beast’s head [2].”

图2 菽园杂记
Figure 2 Notes on the Shu Garden

椒图是古代中国神话传说中龙生第九子。椒图造型的铺首最早出现于元末明初[1]。“椒图其形似螺蛳,性好闭口,故立于门上[3],见图2。“

Jiao Tu is the ninth son of the dragon in ancient Chinese myths and legends. The Jiao Tu door knocker first appeared in the late yuan and early Ming Dynasty [1]. “The shape of the Jiao Tu looks like a snail, which nature is to keep its mouth shut, so it stands on the door [3], see Figure 2.”

图1为永寿门上的铺首衔环。其椒图脸谱更像具有螺蛳特征的狮面:鼻头扁平宽大,呈三瓣状;眼睛突出似狮子,螺蛳状的眉毛似火焰,又似蜷曲的狮子毛旋;两只犄角呈“U”形,其间具有圆盖状结构。查遍资料,未见提及。

The figure 1 shows a Pu Shou with its ring pull. Its Jiao Tu’s appearance is more like the face of a lion with the characteristics of a snail: its nose triple-lobed, flat and wide; eyes prominent like those of a lion; snail-shell shaped eyebrows look like flames, or the distorted lion’s hair; horns U-shaped. There is a round lid-like structure between two horns. What is this, no relevant information was found.

汉代铺首多具“山”形纹(图3,自阳桂平《论中国古代铺首》)。该纹是从远古巫师或神人佩戴的山形高冠抽象化而来[1][4]。反观永寿门铺首衔环,其额部双犄角与中间“圆盖”和上方的箭头结构正好呈现“山”形纹。看来铺首的演变传承还是有迹可循的。至于“圆盖”结构的寓意,推测为螺蛳壳口的厣,或叫壳盖。仔细观察图1,可见“圆盖”结构前部有凹纹,好似河蚌或螺蛳壳口开合的状态。此说法未见有文字资料支持,仅为个人“戏说”推测而已。

图3 汉代铺首
Figure 3 A Pu Shou of Han Dynasty

The Pu Shou of Han Dynasty usually has a “山” pattern (Figure 3, after Yang Guiping, On the ancient Chinese Pu Shou). This pattern is derived from the abstraction of the 山-shaped tall crown worn by ancient wizards[1] [4]. Let’s look at the Pu Shou of the Gate of Yongshou Palace again, the two horns and the central “round lid” structure plus an arrow above it form a “山”-shaped pattern. It seems that the evolution of the Pu Shou is traceable. As for the meaning of the “round lid” structure, it is presumed to be the operculum of the snail shell, or called the shell lid. If you look closely at Figure 1, you can find a concave pattern at the front of the “round lid” structure, like a half-opening operculum. This view has not been supported by written materials, only for personal “joking” speculation.

注释notes
[1]阳桂平《论中国古代铺首》,南京艺术学院硕士论文,2015
[2]王效青《中国古建筑术语辞典》,山西人民出版社,1996
[3]陆容《菽园杂记》,明朝
[4]孙长初《汉画像石“铺首衔环”图像解析》,南京艺术学院学报,2006(3)

永和宫之翠玉白菜The jadeite cabbage of Yonghe Palace

永和宫位于东六宫,光绪大婚后为瑾妃居所,直至她于1924年9月24日去世止[1]。说起永和宫和瑾妃,少不了要提及翠玉白菜,台北故宫三宝之一。据说翠玉白菜为瑾妃的嫁妆,查遍资料,全无证据佐证。惟有清室善后委员会1925年发布的《故宫物品点查报告》证实翠玉白菜曾存在于永和宫屋内玉壶中而已[2]。台北国立故宫博物院展品说明称翠玉白菜发现时种在“海棠花形小琺瑯盆里“[3]

The Yonghe Palace is located in the east six palaces. After Guangxu’s wedding, it has been the residence of the Imperial Concubine Jin until her death on September 24,1924 [1]. When people talk about the Yonghe Palace and the Imperial Concubine Jin, it is necessary to mention the jadeite cabbage, one of the three treasures of the National Palace Museum in Taipei. It is said that the jadeite cabbage was a part of dowry of the Imperial Concubine Jin, unfortunately, there is no evidence to support it. Only “the Palace items auditing report” issued by the Caretaker Committee of the Qing Dynasty Imperial Family in 1925 confirmed that the jadeite cabbage had existed in a jade pot in the Yonghe Palace [2]. However, according to the introduction of the exhibits of the National Palace Museum in Taipei said that the jadeite cabbage was found “in a Begonia flower shaped enamel pot” [3].

翠玉白菜 (Jadeite Cabbage)
图片源自台北国立故宫博物院(image source: National Palace Museum, Taipei)
《故宫物品点查报告》
The Palace items auditing report

[1]故宫官网永和宫条:点击查看
[2]清室善后委员会,故宫物品点查报告(故宫丛刊之一),第二编第三册,第20页,1925年
[3]台北国立故宫博物院翡翠白菜说明介绍:点击查看

铺首与门钹 Pu Shou and Door Knocker

兽面门钹称为铺首。铺首多置于第五、六横行门钉与门中缝数第一、二竖行门钉交点处。

The beast-faced cymbal or door knocker is called a Pu Shou(铺首). The Pu Shou is mostly placed at the intersection of the 5th and 6th horizontal door nails and the 1st and 2nd vertical door nails.

文华门铺首
The Pu Shou of the Gate of Literary Brilliance

石雕与石刻纹 Stone carving sculpture and patterns

太和殿三台圭脚如意云纹
The Forbidden City: Detail of marble terrace of the Hall of Supreme Harmony (太和殿), showing a pattern of auspicious cloud at the base corner.
钦安殿须弥座束腰椀花结带式纹(明初期),椀花头部出三瓣,飘带后尾剪刀状。
Detail of the narrow dado (束腰) of the xumizuo or shu-mi-tso base (须弥座) showing a ribbon wrapped, bowl-shaped flower pattern with three-petal flower head and scissor-like ribbon tail (Early Ming Dynasty), the Hall of Imperial Peace(钦安殿)
元代断虹桥劵脸之吸水兽
An absorbent beast on the Duanhong Bridge built in Yuan Dynasty
文渊阁石桥劵脸之吸水兽,建于清乾隆四十一年(1776年)。与断虹桥之吸水兽相比,其刻工要粗糙许多。
The Forbidden City: An absorbent beast on the Bridge of the Belvedere of Literary Profundity (文渊阁) made in 1776,the forty-first year of the reign of Emperor Qianlong, the Qing Dynasty. Compared with the one on the Duanhong Bridge, its engraving was much rougher

故宫的梁架结构 The wood beam and frame constructions of the Forbidden City

储秀宫雀替,清光绪十年(1884年)制
Carved wood bracket (雀替, literally in Chinese: sparrow brace) of the Palace of Gathered Elegance (储秀宫) , built in the tenth year of the reign of Emperor Guangxu, Qing dynasty (1884)
宁寿宫镂空云龙绦环板和云龙雀替(清乾隆)
Details of the Taohuan panel boards and wood brackets
with carved dragon and cloud patterns, built in the years of the reign of Emperor Qianlong of the Qing Dynasty
养心殿抱厦隔架科,摄于2014年
The Ge-Jia-Ke Bracket Sets(隔架科) on the annexed veranda of the Hall of Mental Cultivation(养心殿)2014

故宫的门与门饰 The doors and door decorations of the Forbidden City

钟粹宫竹纹裙板
The skirt panel boards of the Palace of Accumulated Purity(钟粹宫)with carved bamboo pattern
交泰殿槅扇门看叶与扭头圈子
Latticework doors with decorations and ring handles of the Hall of Union(交泰殿)
文渊阁绿琉璃瓦门罩,注意顶部有四套线装书
The jade-colored glazed-tile awning of the Belvedere of Literary Profundity (文渊阁) .
Look closely at the top, there are four sets of thread-bound books.
慈宁宫厢房门帘架
The curtain frame of the side room in the courtyard of the Palace of Compassion and Tranquillity (慈宁宫).