Forbidden City 故宮紫禁城
The Forbidden City is a palace complex in central Beijing, China. The former Chinese imperial palace from the Ming dynasty to the end of the Qing dynasty (the years 1420 to 1912), it now houses the Palace Museum. The Forbidden City served as the home of emperors and their households as well as the ceremonial and political center of Chinese government for almost 500 years.
Constructed from 1406 to 1420, the complex consists of 980 buildings and covers 72 hectares (over 180 acres). The palace exemplifies traditional Chinese palatial architecture, and has influenced cultural and architectural developments in East Asia and elsewhere. The Forbidden City was declared a World Heritage Site in 1987, and is listed by UNESCO as the largest collection of preserved ancient wooden structures in the world.
Since 1925, the Forbidden City has been under the charge of the Palace Museum, whose extensive collection of artwork and artifacts were built upon the imperial collections of the Ming and Qing dynasties. Part of the museum’s former collection is now in the National Palace Museum in Taipei. Both museums descend from the same institution, but were split after the Chinese Civil War. Since 2012, the Forbidden City has seen an average of 15 million visitors annually, and received more than 16 million visitors in 2016 and 2017.
Location:4 Jingshan Front St, Dongcheng, Beijing, China
Coordinates:39.915987°N 116.397925°ECoordinates: 39.915987°N 116.397925°E
Type:Art museum, Imperial Palace, Historic site
Curator:Shan Jixiang (单霁翔)
Architectural style(s):Chinese architecture
坐標：39.915987°N 116.397925°ECoordinates：39.915987°N 116.397925°E
The Forbidden City is 961 meters long from north to south, 753 meters wide from east to west, with a wall of 10 meters high on all sides, and a moat with a width of 52 meters outside the city. It is really a solid foundation of Jincheng Tangchi. There are four gates in the Forbidden City, the Wumen Gate in the south, the Shenwu Gate in the north, the Donghua Gate in the east and the Xihua Gate in the west. The four corners of the city wall each have a graceful turret. The folks have seventy-two pillars and eighteen pillars, describing the complexity of its structure. The buildings in the Forbidden City are divided into two parts: the outer dynasty and the inner court. The center of the outer dynasty is the Taihe Temple, the Zhonghe Temple, and the Baohe Temple. They are collectively referred to as the Three Great Halls and are the place where the state holds a grand ceremony. The left and right wings of the three main halls are complemented by two buildings of Wenhua Hall and Wuying Hall. The center of the inner court is the Qianqing Palace, the Jiaotai Hall, and the Kunning Palace, collectively known as the Housan Palace. It is the main palace where the emperor and the empress lived. It was followed by the Royal Garden. On the two sides of the Housan Palace, there are East and West Sixth Palaces, which are the places where we live and rest. On the east side of the East Sixth Palace is the Buddhist temple building such as the Tianzhu Temple, and the west side of the West Sixth Palace is the Buddhist temple building such as the Zhongzheng Hall. In addition to the outer dynasty and the inner court, there are two parts of the outer east road and the outer west road.
The design of the Forbidden City, from its overall layout to the smallest detail, was meticulously planned to reflect philosophical and religious principles, and above all to symbolise the majesty of Imperial power. Some noted examples of symbolic designs include:
Yellow is the color of the Emperor. Thus almost all roofs in the Forbidden City bear yellow glazed tiles. There are only two exceptions. The library at the Pavilion of Literary Profundity (文渊阁) had black tiles because black was associated with water, and thus fire-prevention. Similarly, the Crown Prince’s residences have green tiles because green was associated with wood, and thus growth.
The main halls of the Outer and Inner courts are all arranged in groups of three – the shape of the Qian triagram, representing Heaven. The residences of the Inner Court on the other hand are arranged in groups of six – the shape of the Kun triagram, representing the Earth.
The sloping ridges of building roofs are decorated with a line of statuettes led by a man riding a phoenix and followed by an imperial dragon. The number of statuettes represents the status of the building – a minor building might have 3 or 5. The Hall of Supreme Harmony has 10, the only building in the country to be permitted this in Imperial times. As a result, its 10th statuette, called a “Hangshi”, or “ranked tenth” (Chinese: 行十; pinyin: Hángshí), is also unique in the Forbidden City.
The layout of buildings follows ancient customs laid down in the Classic of Rites. Thus, ancestral temples are in front of the palace. Storage areas are placed in the front part of the palace complex, and residences in the back.
黃色是皇帝的顏色。因此，紫禁城的幾乎所有屋頂都有黃色琉璃瓦。只有兩個例外。文淵閣（Pavilion of Literary Profundity）的圖書館有黑色瓷磚，因為黑色與水有關，因而防火。同樣，皇太子的住宅也有綠色瓷磚，因為綠色與木材有關，因而也有增長。
外院和內院的主殿都是三個一組的 – 錢三角形的形狀，代表天堂。另一方面，內院的住宅以六個為一組排列 – 代表地球的昆蟲三角星的形狀。
建築屋頂傾斜的山脊上裝飾著一排小雕像，由一名騎著鳳凰的人帶領，後面是一條帝王龍。小雕像的數量代表建築物的狀態 – 一座小型建築可能有3或5座。太和殿有10座，是帝國時代唯一允許這樣建築的建築。因此，它的第10個小雕像，稱為“Hangshi”，或“排名第十”（中文：行十;拼音：Hángshí），在紫禁城中也是獨一無二的。
The collections of the Palace Museum are based on the Qing imperial collection. According to the results of a 1925 audit, some 1.17 million pieces of art were stored in the Forbidden City. In addition, the imperial libraries housed a large collection of rare books and historical documents, including government documents of the Ming and Qing dynasties.
From 1933, the threat of Japanese invasion forced the evacuation of the most important parts of the Museum’s collection. After the end of World War II, this collection was returned to Nanjing. However, with the Communists’ victory imminent in the Chinese Civil War, the Nationalist government decided to ship the pick of this collection to Taiwan. Of the 13,491 boxes of evacuated artefacts, 2,972 boxes are now housed in the National Palace Museum in Taipei. More than 8,000 boxes were returned to Beijing, but 2,221 boxes remain today in storage under the charge of the Nanjing Museum.
After 1949, the Museum conducted a new audit as well as a thorough search of the Forbidden City, uncovering a number of important items. In addition, the government moved items from other museums around the country to replenish the Palace Museum’s collection. It also purchased and received donations from the public.
Today, there are over a million rare and valuable works of art in the permanent collection of the Palace Museum, including paintings, ceramics, seals, steles, sculptures, inscribed wares, bronze wares, enamel objects, etc. A new inventory of the Museum’s collections was conducted between 2004 and 2010. Subsequently, the Palace Museum was shown to hold a total of 1,807,558 artefacts and includes 1,684,490 items designated as nationally protected “valuable cultural relics.” At the end of 2016, the Palace Museum held a press conference, announcing that 55,132 previously unlisted items had been discovered in an inventory check carried out from 2014 to 2016. The total number of items in the Palace Museum collection is presently at 1,862,690 objects.
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