Entering Taihemen, you will see Taihedian (Hall of Supreme Harmony)
across the spacious square, which covers of 30,000 square meters. Standing
on a three-tier marble terrace, this grandest timber framework ever
in China is overwhelming.
The hall was erected in 1406 and has undergone many later repairs. As
the heart of the Forbidden City, the so-called Golden Carriage Palace,
used to be the place where emperors received high officials and exercised
their rule over the nation. Grand ceremonies would be held here when
a new emperor ascended the throne. Celebrations also marked emperors'
birthdays, wedding ceremonies and other important occasions such as
the Winter Solstice, the Chinese New Year and the dispatch of generals
into fields of war.
Alongside the flights of steps which ascend the three tiers of the terrace,
there are eighteen bronze Dings, a kind of ancient Chinese vessel, representing
the eighteen national provinces of those times. On the luxuriously balustraded
terrace, stand a bronze crane and a bronze tortoise, symbols of everlasting
rule and longevity. The marble Rigui, an ancient sun dial on the eastern
side and the Jialiang, an ancient measuring vessel on the western side
demonstrate that the emperor was both just and fair. In front of the
hall, there are a couple of gilded bronze vats, which were used to hold
water in case of fire.
Since the Hall of Supreme Harmony was symbol of the imperial power,
it was the highest structure in the empire during the Ming and Qin dynasties.
No other building was permitted to be higher any where in the empire.
The heavily glazed hall is 35.02 meters high (37.44 meters including
the rooftop decoration). It is 63.96 meters in width and 37.2 meters
in length respectively. There is a total of 72 pillars, in six rows,
supporting the roof. The doors and windows are embossed with clouds
Inside of the hall, the floor is paved with special bricks which were
fired long and then polished by being soaked in tungoil. As a symbol
of imperial power, the sandalwood throne, standing on a two-meter high
platform, is located in the center of the hall and surrounded by six
thick gold-lacquered pillars decorated with dragons. Dragons are carved
all over the golden throne. Around the throne stand two bronze cranes,
an elephant-shaped incense burner and tripods in the shape of mythical
beasts. The hall is heavily decorated with dragons, giving an aura of
solemnity and mystery. In the middle of the ceiling is the design of
two dragons playing with pearls. They were made of glass and painted
with mercury. The pearl was said to be able to detect a usurper of the
imperial power. If anyone who was not the descendant of the Emperor
Huang Di usurped the throne, the pearl would drop down and strike him
How do you feel? Behind is Zhonghedian (Hall
of Central Harmony).
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