The structure of buildings from the Yuan dynasty (1271-1368) in China has heretofore been studied alternatively as the culmination of earlier periods of architectural styles from about the 10th century and as the beginning of a new phase in Chinese construction that lasts until the beginning of the Modern period in the 19th century. This article takes as its focus halls built at palatial or religious complexes in north China during the Yuan period to determine if a period style can be defined within the homogeneous timber frame building tradition. Studying the buildings and their details through surviving architecture and fragments, contemporary descriptions, and contemporary painting, the investigation concludes that, although the Yuan period may be termed transitional, its buildings are more closely allied with the pre-Yuan than the post-Yuan period, especially as the earlier style is known from the illustrated construction manual Yingzao Fashi.

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