Institute of Archaeology


Who Designed for the Emperors: Yangshi Lei (樣式雷) as Architects to Qing Court

14 November 2018, 6:10 pm

ICCHA China Nights Research Seminar Series 2018-19

Event Information

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Room 612, UCL Institute of Archaeology

HE Beijie (Tianjin University & Cambridge) will give the next ICCHA China Night Seminar of 2018-19 at the UCL Institute of Archaeology on 14 November.

The seminar is entitled Who Designed for the Emperors: Yangshi Lei (樣式雷) as Architects to Qing Court and all are welcome to attend. No booking is required.


Was Chinese ancient architecture created by "architects" in the modern sense of the word, based on professional and inventive "design", or was it simply constructed by anonymous craftsmen based on mere experience? This talk argues that it is possible to speak of "architects" and "design" in the imperial Chinese context. It focuses on the Qing Dynasty Yangshi Lei family and its architectural drawings, illustrating how the Leis were employed by the Qing court as the Zhang'an (掌案, Chief Architect) of the Yangshi Office ( 樣式房, Architectural Style Office) to take charge of imperial architecture design for more than 200 years, from the Kangxi reign to the end of Qing Dynasty (1686-1914), and how they played an important role in a variety of building activities, including site selection, urban planning, architecture design, construction and supervising, which reveals the existence and the essential features of the profession of architecture named Yangzi Jiang (樣子匠) in Qing Dynasty.
This talk will be delivered in English.

Any enquiries about the event or work of the International Centre for Chinese Heritage and Archaeology (ICCHA) may be directed to the Centre Administrator, Rui Pang.

China Night Research Seminar Series

Term I and II, 2018-2019 | Wednesday Evenings 6:10pm @ Room 612, UCL Institute of Archaeology

The International Centre for Chinese Heritage and Archaeology, a joint association between the School for Archaeology and Museology of Peking University and the UCL Institute of Archaeology, is tasked with bringing China's cultural past to western scholars. Through its China Nights events and Guest Lecture Series, the Centre endeavours to promote all aspects of Chinese history and prehistory and strengthen academic links between China and Europe. In addition, the ICCHA regularly hosts world-class conferences, bridge the gap in archaeological thought and theory.