Yingzao Fashi (State Building Standards) is the oldest extant Chinese technical manual on buildings. It was compiled by Li Jie, a Superintendent of State Buildings (later Director of Palace Building) in 1100 and published by the Song sovereign in 1103 (Figure 1).
There are thirty-four chapters in the Yingzao Fashi, starting with a concise definition of the main terms used in the manual by tracing their textual origins. The main body of the book specifies the units of measurement, design standards and construction principles with structural patterns and building elements illustrated in drawings. Furthermore, it specifies standard estimates for labour works, documents material data, and lists recipes for decorative painting and coatings, etc. It embodies the greatest achievements of Chinese architecture in its day.