THE FORBIDDEN CITY 1421 (H5)
xxxxxEmperor Yung Lo moved into his Forbidden City in 1421. Containing a vast group of imperial buildings in the heart of Peking, work on its construction was begun in 1406. Surrounded by a wall two-
xxxxxWalls, over 30ft in height and extending two and a half miles, enclose The Forbidden City, a group of imperial buildings within Peking’s Inner City, built between 1406 and 1420. These buildings, which included palaces, halls and shrines, were used by the Chinese emperors from 1421 -
xxxxxUnlike private houses, where layout was generally informal, the halls and courtyards in the Forbidden City were arranged one behind each other along a line going from south to north, this line marking the authority of the ruling dynasty. Thus the importance of a building, be it for ceremonial or religious purposes, was clearly defined by its position, layout, size and style of decoration. For example, the exact dimensions of a particular courtyard surrounding a hall or temple, the height and width of the walls, the amount and thickness of the timber used, and the type of roof construction (together with the colour of its tiles and the quality and number of its carved figures), all testified to the building’s importance within the life of the court.
xxxxxOf the many buildings in this huge compound three are outstanding. Towards the centre was built the Emperor’s throne room, known as the Hall of Supreme Harmony, the largest wooden building in China (illustrated left below). Also built along the south-
xxxxxThe Forbidden City was so-
xxxxxIncidentally, it was in Tien-
Forbidden City: painted scroll from the Ming Dynasty (c15th century), artist unknown – National Museum of China, Beijing. Buildings: dates and photographers unknown.