Hall of Union and Peace

Hall of Union and PeaceIn this building the Qing emperors conferred honourable titles on their empresses. The empresses also held their birthday celebrations here. Since Emperor Qianlong’s reign (1736-1795), 25 jade seals rep-resenting imperial authority have been kept in this room. Twenty-five was regarded as a heavenly number.

On the east is a water clock made in 1745. Water clocks had been used for quite a long time before the mechanical clock was introduced into China. The method of keeping time by the dripping of water was invented by the Chinese people more than 2,500 years ago. The time-piece consists of five bronze vessels. Each vessel has a small hole at the bottom. When the uppermost vessel is filled with water, water begins to drip evenly through the holes. There is a figurine in the lowest container. The calibrated scale in his hands floats with the rising water, and time is indicated on the markings.

To the west is a chiming clock made in 1789 by the Works of Department of the Board of Imperial Household.
The plaque carries two Chinese characters wu wei. Wu wei is Taoist philosophy, meaning to adapt oneself to the change of nature. The feudal ruler used this idea to discourage people from taking action.

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