I saw some various types of Chinese altars in some chinese countries:

  1. Altar that hanging on wall (I suppose this is altar for sky god): https://www.flickr.com/photos/ripi/3969597088/in/set-72157622488573560

  2. Earth deity altar (usually put on ground level): http://thaiworldview.com/hongkong/newterritories/jpg/img733.jpg

  3. Table altar: http://lh4.ggpht.com/-Okyt6PnpVYg/UTNTRH3kmBI/AAAAAAAAFbc/9bg9ZsX4CrE/IMG_1667_thumb%25255B2%25255D.jpg?imgmax=800

I would like to know the mandarin words for those kind of altars if they are any.

  • 1
    龛(儿) kān or kār, would be a pretty good bet.
    – Mou某
    Commented Mar 24, 2015 at 11:42

1 Answer 1


Generally, you can call all of them as 神位 which means place of god.

If you are referring to the facilities offering the places,

  1. Altar that hanging on wall (I suppose this is altar for sky god):

龛 as @user3306356 mentioned, means small box used as altar. you describe them as 神龛,佛龛 ..

2.Earth deity altar (usually put on ground level):

personally , 龛 is also suitable for this , thought they are of different size.

3.Table altar:

供桌 a table for offering sacrifices.

  • So there is no specialized term for each type of altar, maybe like 土地公龕 or 土地公神位? Also I heard someone use term 神主 for the altar? Is it correct too?
    – null
    Commented Mar 25, 2015 at 7:59
  • god name(土地公) and 龕/神位 can be combined to specify a certain altar. 土地公神位 equals to 土地公的神位, where ‘的’ can be omitted, just like 我的家 and 我家。 I don't know much about '神主', Commented Apr 1, 2015 at 2:55

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