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Three Ceremonial Palaces

After you pass through the gate you will enter an even larger court- yard, and in the distance before you, resting g on a three-tiered terrace each surrounded by a white marble balustrade, is the Hall of Supreme Harmony (3), or Tai He Dian A: you walk towards it, note the three flights of stairs leading to the upper terrace: the middle one feature a carved marble ramp over which the emperor was carried: There are many bronze incense burners flanking the stairways and, on the terrace, pairs of bronze storks and tortoise on either side. On the western side of the terrace there is a marble model of a pavilion housing a bronze grain measure; on the eastern side stands a sundial; these symbolize imperial justice and righteousness Also note the two enormous bronze cauldrons with finely east handle.

Stands on a raised platform surrounded by incense burners, screens, and other treasures. The emperor used the hall on great occasions to mark such events as the New Year. the nomination of military leaders, the publication of lists of scholars who had successfully, passed the imperial examinations, the celebration of the winter solstice, and.so on. All these ceremonies were performed amidst pomp and splendor.

Immediately behind this hall stands he Hall of Perfect Harmony, or Zhong He Dian a small square-shaped pavilion with a single Roof; there are traditional Chinese windows on all sides. Inside there is a raised throne, a sedan chair on either side, and a fine array of incense burners room heaters and decorative treasures; the ceiling is beautifully crafted. I is here that he emperor would Come to make final preparations before presiding over the ceremonies the Hall of Supreme Harmony.

The next palace is the Hall of Preservation of Harmony, or Bao He Dian. It is a two-roofed pavilion seven bays wide housing a large throne. The emperor used to provide over ceremonies here: receiving the scholars who had passed the court examinations and, under the Qing, hosting enormous banquets in honor of foreign emissaries and ambassadors.

There are three sets of stairs leading to the front of the throne and two sets leading to the side. Note the four incense burners standing before the throne and the two gilt lamps. The hall s now often used to house exhibits of some of China’s art treasure, the most recent being the collection of bronze figurines, chariots, and horses taken from the eastern Han tomb in Wuwei (Gansu Province) in 1969. There is also a permanent exhibition of Chinese art objects inside the hall

You now descend the steps from the three-tiered terrace into a courtyard and walk toward the Gate of Heavenly Purity, or Qian Qing Men. It has three sets of stairs, the middle one with the traditional carved marble ramp, guarded by two gilt lions; on e her side stand two giant bronze cauldrons. This gateway leads to the three private palaces or apartments, as distinct from the first three, which were used for ceremonial purposes.

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