Hall of Supreme Harmony

Hall of Supreme HarmonyThis is the throne hall, built in 1420. It was renovated and re-touched several times after liberation. It was used for ceremonies which marked great occasions: the Winter Solstice, the Chinese New Year, the Emperor’s birthday and enthronement, and the dispatch of generals to battles. On such occasions, there would be an imperial guard of honour standing in front of the hall and extending to the main gate.

The base and the throne are carved out of sandalwood. The throne was a symbol of imperial power. The floor is paved with bricks. After baking for 136 days they were then immersed in tung oil for a permanent polish.

When you look up you can see “caisson,” or coffered ceiling. It was placed over the throne and served as architectural decoration. It was designed to create an aura of solemnity and mystery. In the middle of the ceiling is the design of a dragon playing with pearls. They are made of glass, painted with mercury, representing sunlight.

The last Qing Emperor Puyi was born in 1906. He ascended the throne in 1908 at the age of three. He was so scared during the coronation that he kept crying. He shouted:”I don’t want to stay here, I want to go home.” His cry extremely upset the dignified atmosphere. His father tried to soothe him, saying, “It’ll soon be finished, it’ll soon be finished.” Three years later, the feudal system collapsed that had lasted for more than 2,000 years. However, he stayed in the palace for another 13 years until 1924 when he was driven out of the palace. The remaining 470 imperial eunuchs and 100 palace maids were freed and he moved into his father’s princely mansion with his wife and imperial concubine.

A few months later, he left for Tianjin and disguised himself as a Japanese merchant. After Japanese aggression of northeast China in1931, Puyi was made a puppet emperor of “Manzhouguo” with Changchun as its capital. He was captured by the Soviet Red Army in1945 and was sent to China in 1950. He was imprisoned for almost 10years until 1959 when he was given amnesty.

The former emperor then turned over a new leaf, and was as-signed a job in the Institute of Botanical Garden under the Chinese Academy of Sciences in Beijing. He lived 61 years and died of cancer in1967.

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