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Study On The Forbidden City History Essay

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Published: Mon, 5 Dec 2016

On one of the main attractions of China – is a Beijing’s Imperial Winter Palace – the so-called “Forbidden City”. Forbidden City – literally “Purple Forbidden City”, is the most extensive palace complex in the world 961×753 meters (3150h2470 feet), 720 thousand sq.m. It was the main palace complex of the Chinese emperors from the XV till the beginning of XX century. The Forbidden City is located in central Beijing, to the north from Tiananmen Square and eastern of the Lake District (the residence of the modern leaders of the country). 24 Emperors of the Ming and Qing dynasties ruled from this palace. It was the first Chinese object, listed by UNESCO as a World Heritage of Humanity (1987), as described in Beijing Forbidden City of Chinese Emperors.

In this essay, I would like to focus on the architecture aspects of Forbidden City. Northern gate are called Shenumen. During the Ming dynasty, they were called Syuanumen. But during the reign of Kangxi, he renamed them in Shenumen, as the name of the Emperor Hsuan has character, and the custom name of any object should not coincide with the name of the emperor. At the tower of the gate there are one bell and one big drum. Every day at dusk and dawn, first there are made 108 attacks on the bell, and then into the drum. These gates are located opposite the park Jingshan. The eastern side gate is called Dunhuanmen, and Western – Sihuamen. Palace – is the former residence of the emperors of Ming and Qing dynasties. Here, over 491 years completed the affairs of 24 emperors of the empire. In the Ming dynasty there are – 14 emperors, and in the Qing – 10. And now this residence – is the Museum, which holds more than 900 thousands exhibits.

Museum of the Forbidden City is the largest architectural and art museum of the country. Self-construction is one of the greatest historical cultural achievements of Chinese people. Preserving traditional forms of Chinese architecture, combining the grandeur of form, architectural excellence and a strict order of arrangement, it is one of the most brilliant architectural monuments of the world and is a gem of a centuries-old culture of the country. This is the grandest and most holistic of the surviving architectural ensemble. The entire palace complex consists of two main parts, foreign and domestic, as stated in The Invisible Palace.

When entering the main gate Umen, you primarily see the channel crossing area – Neytszinshuyhe (“Inside the river with gold water”), through which there are airlifted five beautiful marble bridges. On the banks of the channel, which are also lined with white marble, there are winding stretch railings of various shapes, reminiscent of the appearance of a precious jade belt. In the North of the bridge are the main palace gate Tayhemen (“Gate of supreme Harmony”). Behind them there is another large courtyard. In the center of its northern side rises the massive pedestal, the height of 8 meters, where one after the other pavilions are located: Tayhedyan (“Pavilion of supreme harmony”), Chzhunhedyan (“Pavilion of harmony”) and Baohedyan (“Pavilion of maintaining harmony”), these three Pavilions are the most important architectural complexes of the outer court of the Imperial. They are intended for the public and court ceremonies. 

Tayhedyan pavilion serves as a place where there are arranged official palace receptions. It is the biggest construction of the Palace. Its height was 35.5 m, width 63.96 m, depth 37.2 m, an area of over 2300 sq.m. Pavilion roof supports 86 wooden columns with a diameter of one meter, six of them, surrounding the throne, are gilded and decorated with carved images of writhing dragons. Throne set on a pedestal, before which are the graceful bronze cranes – a symbol of success and good luck, incense burners, large copper tripod vessels – a symbol of the throne, behind the throne of the small screen. Tayhedyan pavilion was built in 1417, and in 1645 was rebuilt after a fire, as described in The Forbidden City.

Also, I would like to say a few words about completely empty yard, which is located in front of the pavilion Tayhedyan. The area of this court is more than 30000 square meters. Any time, during court ceremonies, in the courtyard stood in an orderly series of armed guards, in order of subordination, that were kneeling face to the north of the civil and military dignitaries. 

Chzhunhedyan pavilion was built in the Ming Dynasty and was called Huagaydyan and Chzhuntszidyan. The Qing dynasty in 1645 was rebuilt and renamed Chzhunhedyan. It served as a place where the emperor rested before the ceremony. And every New Year’s Eve the emperor arranged banquets, to which were invited vassal princes. The pavilion is located behind Baohedyan. People began to build it in 1420, and its name was originally- Tszinshendyan. In 1625, it was rebuilt, and in 1645 was named Baohedyan, as described in What is the Forbidden City?

Pavilion Baohedyan initially was intended for peers. Especially when the Qing dynasty invited the emperor of the Mongol and Uighur princes in Baohedyan pavilion for banquets on January 1, old style, and January 15 each year. Covered with 70 tables, 63 sheep were slaughtered and autopsied 70 bottles of wine. Time of such banquets Mongolian musicians performed traditional music and songs. But from the time of Emperor Yongzheng (since 1723), Baohedyan pavilion was designed for receiving higher state exams.

If you adhere strictly to the center line to the north of the pavilion Baohedyan you will see the gates Tsyantsinmen (“Gate of Heavenly Purity”). These gates were built in the Ming Dynasty and rebuilt during the Ming Dynasty and rebuilt in 1655; the Qing Dynasty emperors sometimes took here the official reports. This day was arranged throne and the heads of all departments in turn reported their cases. To the left of the gate was higher office of civil and military dignitaries.

Then people had to pass through the gates Tszyantsinmen in order to appear on the back half of the Forbidden City Palace complex, which housed the inner chambers. The central line lined palaces Tsyantsingun (“Palace of Heavenly Purity), Tszyaotaydyan (” Palace of communication of heaven and earth “) and Kunningun (” Palace of the world’s peace “), on both sides of them there are six eastern and six western palaces.

Tsyantsingun palace was built during the Ming Dynasty and rebuilt in 1797, and this palace was the Emperor’s bedchamber. Here, the emperor was engaged in the daily affairs of state, to view documents, making the order. During holidays, feasts were held here for which the Emperor invited his dignitaries. At the end of the Qing Dynasty, in the Palace of the emperors took the heads of foreign diplomatic missions. In the eastern wing of the store: a headdress, costumes, shoes of the Emperor, and in the west wing was housed the office of the emperor.

The second building, Tszyaotaydyan pavilion was built by the Ming Dynasty, rebuilt in 1697, he served as a hall for family celebrations. In the days of the Ming and Qing Dynasties in this room were arranged celebrations of the birthday of the empress, as stated in The Invisible Palace. Kunningun palace was built during the Ming Dynasty, rebuilt in 1655, and during the Ming dynasty it was a bedchamber empresses. During the Qing Dynasty, this palace was used for the emperors wedding purpose and usually at his reception rooms were arranged religious ceremonies of worship and offerings to the spirits of the victims. After the wedding ceremony, the Empress has been lived here for three days.

The main western palaces and pavilions (built in the Ming Dynasty) include:

Taytszidyan pavilion was built in the Ming Dynasty, rebuilt in 1683, and there is now placed exhibition of art enameled products.

Yunshougun Palace (“Palace of Eternal Longevity”) was built by the Ming dynasty. For 200 years the palace has been a warehouse for Yansindyan Pavilion (“Pavilion saving heart”). Now here are exhibited lacquer wares.

Chanchungun Palace (“Palace of Eternal Spring”) was built by the Ming Dynasty, rebuilt in 1683. Here is the tomb of the emperor’s wife Tszyanluna. 

Syanfugun palace was built during the Ming Dynasty, rebuilt in 1683. Now there is placed pens’ exhibition.

Ikungun palace was built during the Ming Dynasty, rebuilt in 1655. Now it is also displayed as the artistic enamel ware, as described in Splendors of China’s Forbidden City.

The above palaces and pavilions are fundamental in the western half, but it will be interesting to know something about Tihedyan Palace which was built in 1802, where Cixi chose a bride for a son of the Emperor Guangxu. Now there are exhibited artistic enamel wares. Still it cannot be forgotten to mention the Pavilion Yansindyan. It was built during the Ming dynasty. Beginning with the third emperor of the Qing Dynasty Yunchzhena, all the emperors lived in the pavilion and discussed state affairs. He also took officials from various provinces. Western part includes several minor palaces and pavilions, as well as the Palace Tsyningun. It was built during the Ming Dynasty, rebuilt in 1790, mother of emperors lived here. When it was time to marry princesses, wedding ceremonies were held here.

The eastern part of main palaces and pavilions (constructed as in the Ming Dynasty) includes: Tszinzhengun Palace, Palace Chentsyangun, Chzhuntsuygun Palace, Palace Yansigun, Yunhegun Palace, Palace Tszinyangun (“Palace of the solar landscape”).

In addition to these six palaces, there are many minor palaces and pavilions. Also there is famous “Wall of Nine Dragons”, which was built in the eastern part of the Forbidden City at the gate Huantszimen. It is a copy of the same wall in Beihai Park. This wall is decorated with sophisticated and creative designs, and lined with multicolored glazed bricks. It strikes bright colors, great expressiveness and dynamic images of nine of purple and yellow, wriggling dragons on a green background. 

In 1912, the second year of Xinhai Revolution, the last Chinese emperor of the Qing dynasty, Pu Yi abdicated but continued to live in the palace. In over 13 years Pu Yi gave away, sold, and laid many ancient relics. Thus, from the palace flowed many values, as stated in The Forbidden City: Brief History.

The Forbidden Palace – is balanced in composition and perfect for planning ensemble of palaces, one of the most beautiful medieval palace complexes. Built mostly of wood, Palace is a remarkable example of the national Chinese architecture. Here, and balanced, skilful combination of different size and shape of buildings, gates, passages, and tiered roof with curved edges, covered with glazed tiles bright golden color, and carved leaf wall beneath the red paint.

Remarkable Chinese architects have created all these facilities. Tens of thousands of Chinese workers put their talent and work in these historic monuments, created for ever. The huge, painted with colored ornaments, bows, artificial lakes and ponds, covered with lilies and pale pink lotus flowers, marble bridges, the huge stone and stucco arches, walls, painted in bright colors, columns, decorated with a fantastic dragon and phoenix, unique in its beauty.

After the founding of the PRC, People’s Government enlisted Palace Museum in Beijing’s as most important cultural monuments, protected by the state. Being a long time in a state of neglect, the old palace was transformed. There were restored historic buildings, and the Palace now shines with its colorful ornaments. Palace Museums and its buildings are admired by the ancient Chinese culture and art of the masses.


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