The Palace of Celestial Purity is a smaller version of the Hall of Supreme Harmony. As it was deemed inferior to the Hall of Supreme Harmony everything within it is smaller than similar items in the superior palace. However, it is the largest palace in the Inner Court and it is superior to any other structures there. It was built in 1420 and rebuilt in 1798 as a consequence of fire damage Ming emperors and the first two Qing emperors lived in this palace where they attended to daily affairs of state. Here they also read, and signed documents, interviewed ministers and envoys. Occasionally, banquets and other ceremonies would be held here too. Twice, in 1722 and 1785, a 'Banquet for A Thousand Seniors' was held here . Old men over 60 from the nation attended these events. Emperor Qianlong even gave them presents.
In the centre of the palace, the throne is on a raised dais, surrounded by cloisonné incense burners, long red candles, and large mirrors, which were placed beside the throne to ward off evil spirits. The Palace of Heavenly Purity is a double-eaved building, and set on a single-level white marble platform. It is connected to the Gate of Heavenly Purity to its south by a raised walkway.
In front of this gate is a large square where you can see several large bronze cauldrons or vats that held water in case of fires. There are 308 vats in the Palace. This gate would have been the place where Emperors would have made decisions and heard reports whilst sitting on the throne. Another feature to look out for at the Gate of Heavenly Purity is the pair of bronze lions. Altogether there were six pairs of bronze lions at the Forbidden City, used to magnificence of the Palace and the authority of the rulers. The one with a cub under it’s paw is the female lion and the one with an embroidered ball under it’s paw is the male one.
Separated from the Outer Court by a wide piazza (200 metres east to west and 30 metres north to south) stands Qianqingmen, The Gate of Heavenly Purity. This open space provides a link between the Outer and Inner Courts while creating a dramatic setting for imperial pageantry.
During the Qing dynasty the emperor would be enthroned under the centre of this gate for the purpose of receiving reports and giving his decisions on matters presented to him. Small buildings on either side were duty rooms for officials and waiting rooms to accommodate ministers awaiting interviews, etc.
Against the red wall beside the gate are ten huge gleaming, gilded bronze vats. Although these are decorative, their prime function was to contain the vast amounts of water necessary to fight any outbreak of fire in the many timber buildings. Each of these vats weighs four tons and would contain over 200 gallons of water.
This was first built in 1420 but destroyed by fire and later re-built in 1655. This gate was the main entrance leading to the inner court and was used by Emperor in the Qing dynasty for listening to his high officials' reports and also to deal with state affairs
located in the inner court of the huge forbidden city complex, It is the largest of the three halls of the Inner Court (the other two being the Hall of Union and the Palace of Earthly Tranquility), located at the northern end of the Forbidden City. During the Qing dynasty, the palace often served as the Emperor's audience hall, where he held council with the Grand Council. The Palace of Heavenly Purity then became the Emperor's audience hall, where he held court, received ministers and emissaries, and held banquets. At the centre of the Palace, set atop an elaborate platform, is a throne and a desk, on which the Emperor wrote notes and signed documents during councils with ministers. It is also here that the Emperor designated his heir in secret, with one copy of the will hidden behind this tablet and another carried at all times by the Emperor
After so many closed and empty rooms, it was interesting to see inside this large room. It is not too different from the other, but much more composed.
With the imperial throne in place, surrounded by a few decoration, this palace built in 1792 to replace the burnt construction from 1420, this palace was the imperial residence of the Ming and earlier Qing dynasties, and the place of Puyi's marriage ("The Last Emperor", do you remember?)
The Gate of Heavenly Purity connects the Inner Court and the Outer Court This is where I started to explore the Inner Courts to see the Palace of Heavenly Purity, Hall of Union, and Palace of Earthly Tranquility. There are two glazed copper vats on each side of the gate to prevent fire during Ming and Qing dynasties. It has similar concepts as the Gate of Supreme Harmony as both have a pair of lion in front of their gates. The Gate of Heavenly Purity has the pair of lion in gold color, as the Gate of Supreme Harmony has the bronze lions.
The signboard was written as:
" Constructed in 1420 during the Ming Dynasty, this gate was later destroyed by a fire. It was rebuilt in 1655 during the Qing Dynasty. As a front gate of the inner court, Qian Qing Men is five bays wide and three bays deep, with a single-eave gable roof covered by yellow glazed tiles. The gate sits on a 1.5-meter-high white marble base, and is 16 meters high. On both sides of the gate, there are glazed screen walls in the shape of the character " 八". In the Qing Dynasty, the emperor heard reports delivered by his officials here. Attending to the state affairs at this imperial gate was common, however, after Emperor Xianfeng ascended the throne, he changed this routine."
NEXT: Palace of Heavenly Purity (Qianqing Palace)
In Chinese: 乾清门 (Qian Qing Men)
The Palace of Heavenly Purity is where the emperors lived and important political and ceremonious site. During Ming and Qing dynasties, all the 14 Ming emperors and 2 Qing emperors , Emperor Shunzhi and Kangxi, once live in this hall. It is built on a single-tiered white marble base. I was impressed by the ancient gold door flame, and furnitures.
The signboard was written as:
" This palace was constructed in 1420 during Ming Dynasty and was rebuilt in 1798 during the Qing Dynasty. During the Ming and Qing dynasties, the emperor lived and handed political affairs in this palace. After Emperor Yongzheng ascended the throne, he lived in Yang Xing Dian (Hall of Moral Cultivation) and held ceremonies and met officials and foreign envoys in this palace. In the Qing Dynasty, after an emperor passed away, his coffin was kept in this hall, to prove that he had died peacefully. After the memorial ceremony, the coffin was moved to Guan De Dian ( Hall for Observing Military Virtue) in Jingshan (Prospect Hill) Park. Finally, the funeral ceremony was held and the deceased emperor was buried in the imperial mausoleum.
The "Heir Apparent Box", a system secretly set up by Emperor Yongzheng, was placed behind the board inscribed with the words " Zheng Da Guang Ming" ( 正大光明 ，Open and Aboveboard). The name of the emperor's successor, written by the emperor himself, was kept in this box. After the emperor passed away, the secretly appointed crown prince would ascend the throne.
Qian Qing Gong and Kun Ning Gong (Hall of Earthly Tranquility) were where the emperors and empresses lived. According to The Book of Changes, " Qian" refers to Heaven, and "Kun" refers to earth. Flanking the palaces are named Ri Jing Men (Gate of Sun Excellence) and Yue Hua Men (Gate of Lunar Glory), implying "Heaven and earth are bring under the sun and moon, and the whole world is open and peaceful."
NEXT: Hall of Union (Jiaotai Hall)
In Chinese: 乾清宫 (Gian Qing Gong)
The Palace of Heavenly Purity inside the Forbidden City is a part of the world heritage site of China and one of the places i visited during my stay in Beijing.