Forbidden City

-- Baohedian (Hall of Preserved Harmony) --

A close view of the Hall of Preserved Harmony Baohedian, the Hall of Preserved Harmony, stands at the northern end of the three-tier marble terrace. Similar in style but somewhat smaller than the Hall of Supreme Harmony it is larger than the Hall of Central Harmony. It was built in 1420, rebuilt in 1625 and renovated in 1765. The Ming Emperors would usually change into their ritual garments here prior to the ceremonial installation of an empress or crown prince. While during the Qing dynasty, it was usual for imperial banquets to be held here. Such banquets might be to celebrate a princess's marriage. The emperor would entertain high officials, the bridegroom and his father together with their relatives who served the imperial government. Each year, on the eve of the New Year's Eve, banquets would be held to feast and honour provincial governors, Mongol princes, civil and military officials.

In 1789, the midpoint of the Qing dynasty, Emperor Qianlong decided the final stage of the Palace Examination should be transferred from the Hall of Supreme Harmony to the Hall of Preserved Harmony. This was the highest level of the nation-wide imperial examination system and the emperor would honour the top ten successful candidates by reading the papers they had submitted.

The throne in the Hall of Preserved Harmony in the Forbidden City On rainy days, visitors will have a chance to enjoy the spectacular sight of a thousand dragons disgorging water. There are 1,412 marble dragon heads below the columns of the three-tier terrace on which the three main halls stand. Chinese artisans cleverly combined the drainage system with these architectural features. Once you get a chance to actually visit the Forbidden City, please note the spouts in the dragons' mouths. However, you will see that those on the corners have no spouts.

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