Tai tou

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Example of a Nuo tai on the Paifang at the Cihu Presidential Burial Place in Taiwan. It reads (from right to left) "President (space) Lord Chiang's Mausoleum"

Tai tou (Chinese: 抬頭, literally "shift head") is a typographical East Asian expression of honor that can be divided into two forms, Nuo tai and Ping tai. [example needed]

Nuo tai (Chinese: 挪抬, literally "move and shift") is a typographical device used in written Chinese to denote respect for the person being mentioned. It leaves a full-width (1 character wide) space before the first character of the person; it can be represented as Unicode character ' ' (U+3000, IDEOGRAPHIC SPACE). This is often used in formal writing before using pronouns such as 貴 (guì, literally ("precious, expensive", or "noble") to show respect. This is also sometimes still used in Taiwan for important officials, such as Chiang Kai-shek and Sun Yat-sen, although this practice has gradually fallen out of favor. [example needed]

Ping tai (Chinese: 平抬, literally "flat shift") is another form. The way to express the respect is to shift the name of person directly to the head of the next line. This is now considered old-fashioned, and when it was used it was usually seen in documents sent between emperor and ministers when the minister mentioned the emperor. [example needed]


(reading left to right)

  • 國父 孫中山先生 - Father of the Nation (space) Mr. Sun Yat-sen
  • 先總統 蔣公 - The Late President (space) Lord Chiang
  • 起初 神創造天地 - In the beginning (space) God created the heaven and the earth (also due to formatting consistency between versions)