THE FORBIDDEN CITY, Hall Of Perfect Harmony And Hall Of Preserving Harmony

Audio File length: 2.45
English / USA Language: English / USA

The Hall of Perfect Harmony is the smallest of the three main pavilions in the Forbidden City, although it still measures an impressive 580 square meters. As you can see, it is a square, pagoda-shaped structure, with a single-vault roof topped with a golden pinnacle. The emperor mainly used this room to rest and prepare for ceremonies before proceeding to the Hall of Supreme Harmony and before entering the Temple of Heaven, checking the sacrificial offerings he was to take with him.

In the richly decorated interior, there is a particularly interesting pair of gold unicorns standing at either side of the throne in the center. Called "luduan" in Chinese, the unicorns were mythological creatures believed to speak several languages and capable of traveling 9000 kilometers in a single day. The statues of these creatures, used as sandalwood burners, were placed around the throne as a symbol of the emperor’s great wisdom and intelligence. The two chairs next to the throne were used to transport the emperor within the Forbidden City.

 

Now press pause and press play again inside the Hall of Preserving Harmony.

 

This pavilion, dating to 1420, was rebuilt in 1625 and renovated in 1765, with 9 animal-like sculptures at each corner of the roof. It was the place where the emperors organized banquets for the high-ranking court officials for the New Year and on the 15th day of the first lunar month. The marriage of a princess was also celebrated here.

Starting from 1789, the Hall also hosted the examinations for public officials, held before the emperor, who read out the ten best reports in public.

In the central hall, you can see a throne, while the other halls display the splendid royal collection of jewels, pottery and other everyday objects used at the court of the emperor.

Remember that this is the last building in the outer courtyard.

 

An interesting fact: behind the Hall of Preserving Harmony, at the center of the stairs that descend from the base, is a beautiful, huge marble bas-relief depicting nine dragons playing with pearls. This is the largest stone structure in the Forbidden City, measuring 16.5 meters long and 3 meters wide. It was considered so sacred that anyone caught even touching it was sentenced to death! 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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