Que (tower)

The que (simplified Chinese: 阙; traditional Chinese: 闕; pinyin: què; Jyutping: kyut3) is a freestanding, ceremonial gate tower in traditional Chinese architecture. First developed in the Zhou dynasty (1046–256 BC), que towers were used to form ceremonial gateways to tombs, palaces and temples throughout pre-modern China down to the Qing dynasty (1644–1912). The use of que gateways reached its peak during the Han dynasty (202 BC – 220 AD), and today they can often be seen as a component of an architectural ensemble (a spirit way, shendao) at the graves of high officials during China’s Han Dynasty. There are also some que found in front of temples. Richly decorated, they are among the most valuable surviving relics of the sculpture and architecture of that period.