Hall of Supreme Harmony
Entering Taihemen, you will see Taihedian (Hall of Superme Harmony) across the spacious square, which covers a space of 30,000 square meters. Sitting on a three-tier marble terrace, the grandest timber framework ever in China will overwhelm anyone.
The hall was first built in 1406 and repaired many times later. As the heart of the Forbidden City, the so-called GoldenCarriagePalace, used to be the place where emperors received high officials and practiced their rule over the nation. Also grand ceremonies would be held to celebrate new emperor's ascending to the throne, emperors' birthdays and wedding ceremonies and other important occasions such as Winter Solstice, the Chinese New Year and dispatching generals into war fields.
Along the three-tier terrace stairs, there are 18 bronze Dings, a kind of ancient Chinese vessel, to represent 18 provinces of the nation then. On the terrace, which was luxuriously balustraded, a bronze crane and a bronze tortoise can be seen. They were put there to expect everlasting rule and longevity. The marble Rigui, an ancient timer in the east and the Jialiang, an ancient measuring vessel in the west were put there to show that emperors were just and fair. In front of the hall, there are a couple of gilded bronze vats, which were used to hold water in case of fire. Behind, the hall stands.
Since the Hall of Supreme Harmony was symbol of the imperial power, it was the highest structure in the Ming and Qing dynasty in the nation, no other buildings allowed higher than it. The heavily glazed hall is 35.02 meters high and 37.44 if rooftop decoration counted, and 63.96 meters in width and 37.2 meters in length respectively. There are totally 72 pillars standing in six rows to support the roof. Gates and windows were embossed with clouds and dragons.
Inside of the hall, the floor was paved with special bricks which were fired long and then soaked in tungoil to be polished. As a symbol of imperial power, the sandalwood throne, standing on a two-meter high platform, is located in the center of the hall and enclosed within six thick gold-lacquered pillars painted with dragons. The golden throne is carved with dragons all over. Around the throne stand two bronze cranes, an elephant-shaped incense burner and tripods in the shape of mythical beasts. The hall is heavily painted with dragons, having an aura of solemnity and mystery. In the middle of the ceiling is the design of two dragons playing with pearls. They were made of glass and painted with mercury. The pearl was said to be able to detect any usurper of the imperial power. If anyone who was not the descendant of the Emperor Huang Di usurped the throne, it would drop down and strike him to death.
How do you feel? Behind is Zhonghedian (Hall of Central Harmony).