New Theory About Old Beijing

New Theory About Old BeijingAccording to the Remote Sensing Centre of the Ministry of Geology and Mineral Resources, Guo Jibin discovered from a remote sensing photo of Beijing that, the layout of the old city with the Forbidden City, the Coal Hill Park, the Drum Tower and the Bell Tower, form the shape of a dragon, while the man-dug imperial lake gardens form another dragon.

According to Guo, the dragon formed by the Imperial City is about 4. 5 kilometres long, from the Golden Water River in the south straight to the Bell Tower in the north. Tian’anmen (Gate of Heavenly Peace), together with the Golden Water River and the white marble bridge over the river, form the mouth of the dragon, and West and East Chang’an (Eternal Peace) Avenues are its tentacles. The sym-metrically situated and equal-sized Altar of Land and Grain (today’s Zhongshan “Dr. Sun Yat-sen” Park) and the Imperial Ancestral Temple (today’s Working People’s Cultural Palace) are the two eyes of the dragon. The wide paved path from Wumen (Meridian Gate) to the Gate of Heavenly Peace is the bridge of the dragon’s nose. The Forbidden City, together with the Coal Hill Park and a straight road leading north to the Drum Tower and the Bell Tower, give the dragon its body and tail.  Standing on the top of Coal Hill and looking southward, the golden glazed tiles of the imperial palaces appear just like the scales of the dragon shining in the sun, while further south, the semi-circular-shaped watchtower and Zhengyangmen (South-Facing Gate), seen from the sky above, appear just like a pearl the dragon is playing with. The specially-structured corner towers of the Forbidden City are the four powerful claws of the dragon.

To the west of the “building-formed dragon” lies a “water dragon” formed by the imperial lake gardens.  Running from south to north,  they are Nanhai  (South Lake) , the head of the dragon t Zhonghai (Central Lake) and Beihai (North Lake) the dragon’s body* and Housanhai (The Three Rear Lakes) which give the dragon its tail.

The layout of the Imperial City shows a strong tint of imperial authority and divine authority. Apart from some traditional regularities in ancient building planning, the Eight Diagrams and other forms of divination were also used in planning these two dragons. The shapes of these two dragons are not very much like the figure of today’s drag-on, but compared with the dragon carvings and ornamental patterns on some cultural relics of several thousand years ago, the similarities are obvious.

The new discovery is regarded as far-fetched by some experts, owing to the lack of evidence from historical records. But other experts think it is quite reasonable, and the difference of opinion has caused a lot of discussions m ancient building research circles.

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