The Palce Museum

is the best architecture of china

The Palace Museum, founded on October 10, 1925, is one ofthe historical relics of imperial courts of China's Ming and Qing dynasties and also the museum of China's ancient culture and arts. The Palace Museum, called the Forbidden City in old times, was the imperial palace of the Ming and Qing dynasties. The construction of the palace started in the 4th year of Ming Emperor Yongle (1406) and roughly completed in the 18th year of Yongle (1420). After that, 24 emperors successively lived here and ruled China from here. The palace is 753 metres from east to west, 961 metres from north to south, covering an area of 720 thousand square metres. It has over 9,000 halls and rooms and a total floor space of 150 thousand square metres. These grand and imposing buildings are neatly and symmetrically arranged along a north-south axis. They are of wooden structure with roofs of yellow glazed tiles and pedestal of blue-white stones, and are decorated with splendid coloured paintings, which show the gorgeousness of the imperial family. The buildings of the palace are divided into two parts: the outer court and the inner court. The outer court, with three main halls--the Hall of Supreme Harmony, the Hall of Complete Harmony and the Hall of Preserving Harmony -- and the Hall of Wenhua, the Hall of Wenyuan on the east side and the Hall of Wuying on the west side, were the places where the emperor and his officials held all kinds of ceremonies and carried out political activities. The inner court was the residential quarters for the emperor and empress, concubines, empress dowager and the emperor's young children. There are three main buildings-- the Palace of Heavenly Purity, the Palace of Union, the Palace of Earthly Tranquillity-and the Imperial Garden.


The buildings of the Forbidden City are of a grand scale and stern atmosphere. From the birds' eye view, the designer of the stamps unfolds the picture along the central axis, making a successful display of the neatness and uniformity of the Forbidden City. As to the colour, he chooses to use yellow, which represented the royal colour. According to China's feudal hierarchical system, the yellow colour was solely used by the emperor and nobody else was allowed to use it. This rule came from the concept of the five elements namely metal, wood, water, fire and earth, in traditional Chinese philosophy. The earth, which is yellow, was considered as the center of the five. So yellow became privilege of the emperor. This is a set of four stamps featuring Meridian Gate, the Gate of Supreme Harmony, Palace of Heavenly Purity, the Palace of Union and the Palace of Earth and Tranquillity.The first stamp is entitled "the Red Palace Gate Soaring in the Cloud". The stamp illustrates the Meridian Gate, the Golden Water River and the Gate of Supreme Harmony at the southern end of the Forbidden City. The Gate of Supreme Harmony is the main entrance to the outer court.The second stamp is entitled "the Supreme Harmony in the Shinning Sun". It depicts the centre of the palace building complex: the Hall of Supreme Harmony, the Hall of Complete Harmony and the Hall of Preserving Harmony. The Hall of Supreme Harmony, known as the golden throne room, was the emperor's ceremony hall with the golden throne carved with dragon in the middle. It was the place for holding most of the important ceremonies, during which the hall would be shrouded in curling and coiling incense smoke and the emperors officials would be kneeling down and kowtowing in the big square outside and shouting "Long Live" to the emperor accompanied by crescendo drumbeats and music. The Hall of Supreme Harmony shows the majesty of the emperor's power.The third stamp is entitled "Union of the Qian and Kun, (meaning Heaven and Earth). In it are the Palace of Heavenly Purity, the Palace of Union and the Palace of Earthly Tranquillity, which form the centre of the inner court. The Palace of Heavenly Purity was the residence of the Ming and Qing emperors, where they conducted the day-to-day government affairs. A big board inscribed with four characters "Zheng Da Guang Ming" (just and honorable) -- was hanging above the throne in the hall of the Palace. Since the time of Emperor Kangxi of the Qing dynasty, the emperor did not announce the name of the crown prince in his life time. The document concerning the name of the privately decided crown prince was put in a small box, which was then placed behind the inscribed board. As soon as the emperor died, the box would be opened and name of the successor of the throne would be announced according to the late emperor's will. The imperial jade seal -- the symbol of the emperor's power was kept in the Palace of Union, which was to the north of the Palace of Heavenly Purity. At the back of the Palace of Union was the Palace of Earthly Tranquillity -- the residence of the empress. According to traditional Chinese philosophy, "Qian", representing the heaven, is "yang"; "Kun", representing the earth, is "yin". Man is "yang" and woman is "yin". The names of the two palaces "Qianqing" (heavenly purity) and "Kunning" (earthly tranquillity) reflect the beautiful wishes of the emperors. In the 17th year of Ming Emperor Chongzhen (1644), Li Zicheng, leader of the peasant uprising, assaulted and took over Beijing. The empress committed suicide in the Palace of Earthly Tranquillity. The fourth stamp is entitled "the Spring Sunshine of the Magnificent Garden". The picture shows a full view of the Imperial Garden and Shenwumen Gate, devoting to the luxuriant vegetation of the Garden and the solemn of the great gate in the north wall of the Forbidden City.

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