“铺首”一词最早出现在汉代，《汉书．卷十一．哀帝纪》：「孝元庙殿门铜龟蛇铺首鸣。 。何谓铺首，据王效青《中国古建筑术语辞典》：“铺首即门扇上的拉手饰件。因以兽首铺设之，故名。”图1 永寿门铺首Figure 1 Pu Shou, the Gate of Yongshou Palace
The word “Pu Shou” first appeared in the Han Dynasty, in memory of Emperor Ai, the history of Han Dynasty (汉书), volume 11: “the bronze tortoises, snakes and the beast-faced door knockers at the entrance of the Xiaoyuan Temple wailed in mourning together .” What is a Pu Shou? According to Wang Xiaoqing, “Chinese Ancient Architectural Terminology Dictionary”: Pu Shou is a decorative handle pull on the door. It is named because it was laid in the shape of a beast’s head .”图2 菽园杂记Figure 2 Notes on the Shu Garden
Jiao Tu is the ninth son of the dragon in ancient Chinese myths and legends. The Jiao Tu door knocker first appeared in the late yuan and early Ming Dynasty . “The shape of the Jiao Tu looks like a snail, which nature is to keep its mouth shut, so it stands on the door , see Figure 2.”
The figure 1 shows a Pu Shou with its ring pull. Its Jiao Tu’s appearance is more like the face of a lion with the characteristics of a snail: its nose triple-lobed, flat and wide; eyes prominent like those of a lion; snail-shell shaped eyebrows look like flames, or the distorted lion’s hair; horns U-shaped. There is a round lid-like structure between two horns. What is this, no relevant information was found.
汉代铺首多具“山”形纹（图3，自阳桂平《论中国古代铺首》）。该纹是从远古巫师或神人佩戴的山形高冠抽象化而来。反观永寿门铺首衔环，其额部双犄角与中间“圆盖”和上方的箭头结构正好呈现“山”形纹。看来铺首的演变传承还是有迹可循的。至于“圆盖”结构的寓意，推测为螺蛳壳口的厣，或叫壳盖。仔细观察图1，可见“圆盖”结构前部有凹纹，好似河蚌或螺蛳壳口开合的状态。此说法未见有文字资料支持，仅为个人“戏说”推测而已。图3 汉代铺首Figure 3 A Pu Shou of Han Dynasty
The Pu Shou of Han Dynasty usually has a “山” pattern (Figure 3, after Yang Guiping, On the ancient Chinese Pu Shou). This pattern is derived from the abstraction of the 山-shaped tall crown worn by ancient wizards . Let’s look at the Pu Shou of the Gate of Yongshou Palace again, the two horns and the central “round lid” structure plus an arrow above it form a “山”-shaped pattern. It seems that the evolution of the Pu Shou is traceable. As for the meaning of the “round lid” structure, it is presumed to be the operculum of the snail shell, or called the shell lid. If you look closely at Figure 1, you can find a concave pattern at the front of the “round lid” structure, like a half-opening operculum. This view has not been supported by written materials, only for personal “joking” speculation.