"4) Hall of Supreme Harmony (Part I)" Forbidden City - The Palace Museum Tip by cal6060
Forbidden City - The Palace Museum, Beijing: 475 reviews and 998 photos
The Hall of Supreme Harmony is one of the largest buildings that built on a three-tiered white-marble base, which takes a "土" shape . I saw this impressive building with a big square from the Gate of Supreme Harmony. This is the best picture spot for the Forbidden City. There are two buildings on each of of the hall:
East: The Pavilion of Embodying Benevolence (体仁阁，Ti Ren Ge). It was an examination hall.
West: The Pavilion of Spreading Righteousness (弘义阁， Hong Yi Ge). It was used as the storage vault for the gold and silver vessels, plates, and ceremonial pieces during the Qing Dynasty.
The other interesting fact that I read from a Chinese guide is about the row of animals on the eave corners. There are two purposes to have them, first for decoration purpose, second to symbolize the status of the building. The more animals are lining up on the eave corners of a building, the higher status of a building. In ancient China, odd numbers represent male figure. 1,3,5,7, and 9 being the highest number to symbolize emperor. That is why all the important buildings in Forbidden City have 9 animals on the eave corners. But why there are "Ten" animals on the eave corners of Hall of Supreme Harmony? Nine is the highest number on earth, and Ten is to represent "Heaven of God". Hall of Supreme Harmony is the only building having 10 animals on eave corners in China, it means this is the most important building in China.
The signboard was written as:
" As the first and main hall of the three major halls of the outer court of the Forbidden City, Tai He Dian is commonly known as the Hall of Golden Chimes. First constructed in 1420 during the Ming Dynasty, the hall was rebuilt several times after a number of fires caused by lighting. The present Tai He Dian was constructed in 1695. In the early Ming Dynasty, it was named Feng Tian Dian (Hall for Ancestral Worship), was renamed Huang Ji Dian (Hall of the Norms of Government) in 1562 and later Tai He Dian in 1645. Constructed on a three-tiered white marble base, the hall is 11 bays wide, five bays deep, and 35.05 meter high. With a wudian (thatched hall) style of four fully hipped double roofs, this ancient building has a construction area of 2,377 square meters. The eave corners are decorated with 10 animals, an example of the decoration on China's ancient buildings. The hall is paved with high quality square clay bricks, commonly known as "golden bricks." The throne is located on the axial line of the Imperial Palace. Above the throne there is a board with an inscription written by Emperor Qianlong, reading "Jian Ji Sui You" (People's Sovereign and Great Plan). The caisson in the center of the ceiling has a carved crouching dragon with a bright pearl (known as a "Xuanyuan Mirror") in its mouth. Arranged around the terrace in front of the hall are a sundial and grain measure-symbols of imperial power, as well as bronze turtles and cranes-symbols of longevity.
During the Ming and Qing dynasties, important ceremonies and celebrations were held here at Tai He Dian, such as the lunar New Year, the Winter Solstice, the birthday of the emperor, the enthronement of a new emperor, installing an empress, announcing the names of successful candidates in official examinations and sending generals out to battle. The words "Tai He" come from The Book of Changes, meaning "harmonious operation of all things on earth."
NEXT: Hall of Supreme Harmony (Part II)
In Chinese: 太和殿 (Tai He Dian)
Address: North of Tiananmen Square
Directions: In Forbidden City.
Phone: 010-85007422, 85007421
More Reviews (24)
cal6060's Related Pages
Have you been to Beijing?Share Your Travels