THE FORBIDDEN CITY, Hall Of Supreme Harmony

Audio File length: 2.49
English / USA Language: English / USA

The Gate of Supreme Harmony will take you into a 30,000-square-meter square, dominated by the Hall of Supreme Harmony. It is the largest wooden building in China from its time to have survived, and the tallest in the Forbidden City, resting on a spectacular, ornate three-storey marble base. It dates to 1406, and has been repaired several times over the centuries. It’s a breath-taking sight!

This building is the heart of the entire complex. It’s here that the emperors used to receive high-ranking public officials and exercise their power. The Hall hosted coronation ceremonies, the emperors’ birthdays and marriages and the celebrations for the winter solstice and the Chinese New Year. 

Along the stairs leading to the terrace, you can see 18 bronze incense burners, representing the 18 provinces of China in the 15th century. On the terrace, you can see a bronze crane and tortoise, symbolizing power and longevity. The centuries-old marble sundial and the grain measure, placed at the corners, represented the emperor’s ability to administer justice fairly.

The Hall is over 35 meters tall, 64 wide and 37 long, with 72 pillars arranged into six rows supporting the roof, and windows and doors with relief decorations featuring clouds and dragons. At the ends of the roof you can see the statues of two Chiwen, dragons that had the power to drive away fire.

 

Now press pause and press play again inside the building.

 

As you enter, you’ll be struck by the spectacular, glossy, polished floor tiles and the magnificent, richly decorated coffered ceiling.

At the center of the hall is a fabulous sandalwood throne, sitting on a two-meter-high platform, surrounded by six pillars lacquered in solid gold, decorated with dragons. There are also dragons carved all over the gold seat of the throne.

Around the throne you can see two bronze cranes, an incense burner in the shape of an elephant and other tripods in the shape of mythological creatures.

 

An interesting fact: if you take a look at the center of the ceiling, you’ll see two dragons with a chandelier coming out of their mouths featuring mercury-covered glass beads. These beads were believed to be able to identify a threat to the imperial throne and to strike any usurpers dead by falling on them.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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