’s largest and most significant ancient palace, the Forbidden City
is also the best preserved one. It now serves a function as China's Palace Museum. This magnificent palace, located in the center of Beijing
city, was built in 1406 and completed in 1420. In the past, it was used as the imperial residence for 24 emperors from Ming and Qing dynasties. It is the palace most representative of Chinese civilization, and considered as a holy place by the Chinese people.
The palace covers an area of over 2,350,000 square feet. It has 9,999 rooms built in traditional architectural style. Ten-foot-high walls surround the palace, reinforced by a massive moat and observation towers.
The Hall of Supreme Harmony, the Hall of Middle Harmony, and the Hall of Preserving Harmony are at the center of this awe-inspiring palatial complex. The Hall of Supreme Harmony is famous as a lama temple. These three halls divide the complex along a north-south and an east-west axis. Just outside the palace complex is Tian'anmen Square, the largest city square in the world.
Henry. S. Churchill, an American layout expert, once said that the three-dimensional design layout of the city’s grand palaces, pagodas, and city gates create a perfect effect in arts and architecture. The colors incorporated into the palace’s design are also deeply symbolic. Yellow is primary in the Forbidden City, because yellow represents both the emperor, the central figure of China, and also represents land, the root and origin of all earthly creatures. The palaces golden tiles flicker above the gray rooftops of the common people.
The Forbidden City is the supreme example of Chinese traditional architecture – an art form built upon the mystical conception of Feng Shui, also known as Chinese geomancy. Taoism and Confucianism are considered the foundations of Chinese traditional culture. They penetrate into every part of Chinese life. As such, the Forbidden City is a reflection and exhibition of their ideals. Chinese people believe in an essential unity between the universe, humanity, and nature. The Forbidden City, embodying Chinese life and philosophy, was created according to the descriptions of the heavenly palace in Chinese fairy tales. The names of Forbidden City mainly include benevolence, harmony, balance and stability. All of these characters represent the essence and core of Confucian thought. Qianqing Palace was the residence of the Emperor. Jiaotai Hall and Kunning Palace are closely connected with the Book of Changes, perhaps the most fundamental Confucian classic. In this book, the Chinese character Qian means Heaven and symbolizes male energy, while the character Kun means Earth and symbolizes female energy. The character Tai means safety, honesty, and tranquility.
Map of Forbidden City
Author: Christopher Posted on Jan 29,2012
Last edited by Sophia on Feb28,2014