Carpentry and Building in Late Imperial China

A Study of the Fifteenth-Century Carpenter's Manual Lu Ban jing.


This volume deals with the world of carpenters and joiners in late Imperial China, discussing both the technical and the religious and ritual aspects of building. It uses as its point of departure a unique and hitherto unused source: the fifteenth-century carpenter's manual Lu Ban jing.
The first part of the book examines building materials, the life of labourers and craftsmen, and the process of building a house. Subjects included are the choice of favourable measurements, the ritual of raising the ridge pole, and the complete, annotated translation of the Lu Ban jing, preceded by a bibliographic essay. The sections on furniture construction are especially important for the art historian. The book is finely illustrated with more than eighty original drawings and includes a facsimile of the extremely rare, richly illustrated earliest edition of the Lu Ban jing, dating from ca. 1600.

Biographical Note

Klaas Ruitenbeek, who studied Chinese at the University of Leiden, is curator of Chinese and Japanese art at the Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam, The Netherlands.

Review Quotes

' Zusammenfassend dann man sagen, daß diese Publikation in jeder Hinsicht gelungen ist.' Th. Thilo, Orientalistische Literaturzeitung, 1994.


Students and scholars of Chinese art and architecture, popular culture, and social history.