One of the Impressive Golden Lions standing outside of Qian Qing Men - the Gate of Heavenly Purity. Two lions guard the richly decorated Gate and Entrance of the Inner Court of the Palace.
Leading North on both sides adjacent to the Three Central Halls are the Western Long Corridor and the Eastern Long Corridor. These Long Corridors lead North-ward towards the Palace Garden - Yi Huan Yuan, meanwhile separating off side-alleys leading either to the Central Halls and Axis or away to one of the 6 Palaces of that side of the Palace Complex. It is a virtual Labyrinth !!!!
The Palace of Heavenly Purity (Qian Qing Gong) - the Main Hall of the Inner Court guarded by the Impressive and Colorful Gate of Heavenly Purity, the main ceremonial access Gate to the Inner Court.
The Inner Court is the most complex and architecturally innovative part of the Palace. Within are 12 different palaces, 6 Palaces of the West (Xi Liu Gong) and 6 Palaces of the East (Dong Liu Gong). Furthermore, on the Central Axis in between of these 12 Palaces and lined by two north-south corridors stand the Main Three Halls.
of the Qing Dynasty in the East. Recently, it was still under conservation but today most of its interiors are open to the Public.
Some of the more minor but interesting features of the Inner Court are the Rain Flower Pavilion with its miraculous design and Golden Dragons on the Roof, The Lodge of Fresh Fragrance Theatre, due West of the Yu Huan Yuan Palace Garden - a Theatre Favored by Cixi on her 60Th Birthday, and the Shou An Palace of the far Western Corner of the Inner Court. The Shou An Palace has its own Garden - the Ying Hua Tien with rockeries rivaling the Main Garden - Yu Huan Yuan (described below). All of these are as yet not opened to the Public, but the Yellow Tiled Tower can be viewed from the Courtyards of the Western Palaces of the Inner Court.
One of the Famous Palaces of the Inner Court, the Palace of Peaceful Old Age is the retirement Palace of the Qianlong Emperor
View along the Western Long Corridor of the Inner Court. From here a maze of small alley-ways and courtyards extends north-ward. In the background the pavilions of Jingshan loom over the Imperial Palace Grounds.
The Western Palaces (Xi Liu Gong) of the Inner Court are accessible through a Decorated Gate located due West of Qian Qing Men - The Gate of Heavenly Purity. From Here the Western Long Corridor leads Northward towards the Imperial Garden.
An Empty Courtyard in Front of the Gate of the Palace of the Cultivation of the Mind - Yan Xin Dian. In the background the roof of the Palace of Heavenly Purity (Qian Qing Gong) is visible.
The Eastern Palaces of the Inner Court (Dong Liu gong) are accesible through the Eastern Long Corridor and through corridors leading away from the Central Palaces. In
A ceramic Double Dragon Motif on a Screen Wall, part of the Yang Xin Dian - Palace of Mental Cultivation.
The Palace of Heavenly Purity - Qian Qing Gong, was during the Ming Dynasty the living Quarters and Residence Palace of the Emperor. Only on rare occasions High Officials would be escorted to the Palace to meet with the Emperor in Person. Later, during the Ming Dynasty it diminished in importance considerably and it was mainly used for the practicing of Inner Court religious ceremonies.
During the Qing Dynasty, the Palace of Heavenly Purity was mainly abandoned, except for Official Ceremony. Due to its traditional ceremonial importance, it was also the Palace where the Ching Emperors would lie in State, after their Death.
The Interior of the Palace of Heavenly Purity mainly features a Richly Decorated Throne. Above the Throne hangs a Plaque with the
The Hall of Union or Literally translated Hall of Celestial and Terrestrial Union is the Middle Hall, standing between the Palace of Heavenly Purity and the Palace of Earthly Tranquility (Kun Ning Gong). It is much smaller in size than the other Palace Halls. This small square Hall was mainly used as a storage room. During the Ching Dynasty it was the Ceremonial Storage Room of the Highly Important Imperial Seals, the conveyors of Imperial Powers and Edicts. Today it is once more in use as such. Currently 25 of such Imperial Seals, of Emperors and Empresses, are stored at the Hall of Unity among a golden silk covered interior with plentiful dragons
Double Happiness Decorations from the Imperial Bedroom at the Yi Kun Gong.
Inscription : "Justice and Honor". It was behind this plaquette that the secret edicts of the Emperor designating the Crown prince would be hidden, to be recovered only after the Emperors Death, a practice invented by Emperor Kangxi (Reign: 1661 AD - 1722 AD) of the Qing Dynasty.
Later, during the Qing Dynasty the Court offered its daily sacrifices in Rituals of Manchu Lamaism at this Important Hall. The Grand Nuptuals, the Imperial Wedding, was also held at the Palace of Earthly Tranquility. This is the Palace Hall where the Qing Emperors KangXi, Tongzhi and Guangxu and their Empresses had their wedding ceremonies. The Palace consists of a large and wide room flanked by two smaller side-rooms in the east and four side-rooms in the west. In one of these the actual Bridal Bed of the Empress with the traditional 100 children design is still on display. Other interesting pieces of furniture, beautifuly decorated, abound.
and ancient inscriptions and caligraphy.
a Pavilion adjacent but outside of the Decorated Eastern Gate of Eastern Long Corridor of the Inner Court the notorious Starbucks Outlet inside the Forbidden City was located. This has however been closed in summer of 2007. Pass through the Gate and through the Long Corridor to find the Eastern Palaces in symetry with the
Western Palaces. The First Palace in the Eastern Section of the Inner Court is the Hall of Abstinence (Zhai Gong), flanked by the Palace of Bringing Forth of Blessings (Yu Ching Gong), which in the last days of the Qing Dynasty functioned as Emperor Pu Yi's School Building. Adjacent lies another Eastern Palace, the Chapel of Imperial Ancestors (Feng Xian Dian). Behind these three magnificent Palaces lie the Six Palaces of the East.
The Six Palaces of the East are in succession : The Palace of Great Benevolence (Jing Ren Gong), the Jingsi Gong, The Palace of the Treasures of the Sky (Chien Qian Gong), The Palace of Eternal Harmony (YungHe Gong), Chung Tsei Gong and the Palace of the Great or Radiant Yang (Ying Yang Gong).
Behind the 6 Eastern Palaces lies one more hidden Estate. This is the Palace of Inheriting Heaven (Xuan Qiong Bao Dian), in the far North-Eastern Corner of the Inner Court's Eastern Palaces.
The North-Eastern Palaces of the Inner Court were mainly in use as residences of the various Imperial Concubines. Today they are the location of many of the Permanent as well as Temporary Exhibitions of the Palace Museum.
The Palace of Peaceful Old Age. The 18Th Century retirement Palace of the Powerful and Succesful Qianlong Emperor of the Qing Dynasty can be considered one of the most exquisite parts of the Palace Museum. Located due East of the Inner Court and even the Eastern Palaces, this large section of the Palace Museum was the secluded retreat of the Emperor after his official abdication in 1796 AD. The main halls of the Palace were symbolically modelled after the Central Halls of the Inner Court, signifying the Power of the Retired Emperor, who for a long time could
Large Scale Map o/t Palace Museum, all structures.
--> Click Map to Open in Seperate Window !!
Visitors gawk at the colossal Nine Dragon Screen, part of the Palace of Peaceful Old Age (Ning Shou Gong) of the Eastern Inner Court, now the Clocks & Watches Exhibition of the Palace Museum Inventory.
not resist the urge to "advise" his son the Jiaqing Emperor, who by then
During the Qing Dynasty, the Central Halls of the Inner Court no longer functioned as the Home of The Emperor but the residential Palace(s) of The Emperor were moved to the North-Western Palaces. Hence, these are among some of the Finest Palaces and Halls of the complex.
Empress-Dowager Hsu-Tzi, then by Last Emperor, the boy Pu Yi. Among things, the Yang
Turn into the first left-hand Main Gate to find yourself inside of the frontal Alley giving access to both the Palace of Immortality and the Gate and Palace of Great Supremacy beyond. To make matters complex, the frontal access alleys of both Palaces are separated by further decorated Gates in between of which the southern length of what is known as the Western Parallel Corridor. This Corridor runs North-South between the Six Western Palaces creating inter-connections on both sides, very useful for eunuchs and court servants but not easy for first time visitors.
The Chu Xiu - Gathering Excellence Palace is the site of one of the ancient Folk Tales that relate to the Court Affairs inside the secluded Palace. It is the Tale of "The Red Crowned Crane at the Chu Xiu Palace", a short tale about a Crane Bird and the Qianlong Emperor.
The Palace of Gathering Excellence further was the residential Palace of Hsu-Tzi during her Time as reigning Empress-Dowager. During her long Time at this Palace she gradually made a name for herself as "The Dragon Lady", a ruthless and sadistic ruler, finally to go down in history as the undoer of the Qing Dynasty and the most hated Feudal Lady of the Land.
For her 50Th birthday the Empress-Dowager spend a huge amount of cash and the interiors of both the Hall of Manifest Harmony and the Hall of Gathering Excellence are of a lavish foreign inspired design modern for the Times. All Halls in the Palace were reserved for the Empress-Dowager Hsu-Tzi during her Reign behind and over the TongZhi Emperor and Guanxu Emperor, leaving even the Last Hall of the Palace, the LiJing Xuan richly decorated.
Webstyle produced NavBar
service as residence quarters for the Imperial Concubines, during both Ming and Qing Dynasties.
Interior designs of the Palace of Eternal Spring (Chang Chun Gong), another of the Imperial Concubines Residential Quarters.
Front of Coin commemorating the Life and Reign of Empress-Dowager Hsu Tzi, who was behind the Tongzhi and Guanxu Reigns of the Ching Dynasty.
Courtyard behind the Hall of Giving Blessings to Mother Earth directly connects it to the Northern Palace of Gathering excellence via several open passages in the back.
The Palace is open to the Public with small Exhibition of the belongings and sumptuous furniture of the Empress-Dowager inside the several Halls of the Complex and the interiors of the other Halls can be gleaned through windows and open doors.
The Yu Huan Yuan, or Palace Garden in the Palace Museum is found in the Northern Half, where it is part of the Nei Ting, or Inner Court. The Palace Garden was the largest but certainly not the only Garden inside the Palace and Forbidden City. Not all, but many of the larger North-Western, as well as North-Eastern Palaces have or had their own smaller garden or rockeries.
Furthermore, the Imperial Family had extensive and exclusive access to various other Parks & Gardens. First there was JingShan Park, just North of the Palace. Then there was Bei Hai Park and the Imperial Yong An Temple due West of the Forbidden City. BeiHai connects South to the Middle Lakes Zhong Hai and Na Hai in which the Yingtai (Water Terrace Pavilion) Island on which the Guanxu Emperor was held captive. This is now the ZhongNanHai Complex, the reclusive Chinese Leadership compound dubbed the new Forbidden City.
Further away on the outskirts there were two Summer Palaces. Of these today only the YiHeYuan Summer Palace remains. The older Palace, just East of the
English Tutor to Last Emperor of the Qing Dynasty, Pu Yi (Xuan
Tung). Currently, it is not open to the Public. The most treasured structure in the Palace Gardens however is the central Palace of Imperial Peace. The Palace of Imperial Peace is surrounded by its own red chalked walls which are decorated with Colorful Ceramic depictions of animals and pierced by a colorful ceremonial gate that is guarded by a set of small golden Chinese unicorns. It is a magnificent little jewel inside an otherwise already impressive garden.
The Palace Garden further features the necessary smaller open pavilions, wooden halls, many old trees, stone rockeries, garden ponds and its own look-out mountain with a small Temple on Top.
During the Qing Dynasty this route was used in an assasination attempt on the Emperor.
new location, was burnt down in 1900 AD by invading forces during the "Boxer War" and only a Park with remnants remains. Last but not least there was even a Qing Dynasty mountain retreat far away in Chengde, North Hebei Province to play around in.
There are several Hall and Lodges inside the Palace Gardens. Internationally, the Most Famous of these is the Lodge of the Nourishment of Nature, Yang Xing Chai, along the Western Wall of the Garden. This Lodge was the Palace Home of Sir Reginald Fleming Johnston , the
Burning of Imperial Palace - The Sequel to the "Reign Behind a Curtain".
Review coming soon !
Naturally the Garden is also accessible from the Central Residential Palaces of the Emperor. Enter from the Palace of Earthly Tranquility (Kun Ning Gong), through the decorated Gate of Earthly Tranquility to move directly into the Green. Other historic moments in the Garden include the First Tennis Match played in the Forbidden City, in the Garden and organized by Reginald Johnston as demonstration to his pupil, the young Emperor Pu Yi.