As part of this southern central courtyard it stands roughly halfway between the Gate of the Meridian (Wu Men) and the Gate of Supreme Harmony (TaiHe Men), and is the only Gate leading eastward. Just to the north of the East Gate of Harmony flows the "Golden River" the artificial river shaped and arched alike a "tartar" (Manchu & Mongolian) bow that is the main visual feature of this courtyard and which leaves the courtyard through a tunnel underneath the East Gate of Harmony and the office building to its northern side from where the stream continues to the complex of the Hall of Literary Glory (Wen Hua Dian).
No special histories or tales are told about
Directions to the East Gate of Harmony (DongHe Men) - How to Get There :
The East Gate of Harmony is fairly easy to reach when one goes for a visit to the Palace Museum. Previously there was only one viable route to its location, however with rearrangements of Palace Museum procedures and opening of several previously unavailable sections of the Palace Museum to the public additional routes to its location have become available.
Architecture of the East Gate of Harmony (DongHe Men) :
As with its twin gate, the architecture of the East Gate of Harmony goes unmentioned in most if not all guides to the Palace Museum, and for unclear reasons even the official audio tour does not spend words on it.
What can be said is that the East Gate of Harmony is identical to its Western counterpart, as prescribed by the Feng Shui (Chinese Geomancy) inspired design of the entire Palace and surrounding city. As with Yin and Yang, the east balances the west and vice versa.
The Gate, as are all the buildings along the flanks of this courtyard are raised atop a tall gray-brick platform. A wide ramp, delineated by white marble balustrades leads up to it on both the east- and the west-sides. The balustrades are carved
History of the East Gate of Harmony (DongHe Men) :
No special histories or tales murder and intrigue are told about the East Gate of Harmony.
To its north was the office in charge of checking the implementation of the Emperors' edicts. To the south of the East Gate of Harmony was the office in charge of recommendations and rewards, which basicly served to commend officials with meritous deeds, and took care of the recommendation of promotions of ranks among the Manchu Nobility.
The East Gate of Harmony was restored and repainted in the first phase of the lengthy 19 year restoration plan of the Palace Museum and came complete in 2005.
The view of the Gate of the Meridian (Wu Men) from the point just north of East Harmony Gate, where the Golden Stream intersects with the east wall of this courtyard to channel underneath and continue to the Hall of Literary Flowers.
East Gate of Harmony (DongHe Men) Today :
Between the years 2007 and the fairly recent year 2011 the eastern outer court to which the East Gate of Harmony gives access was under reconstruction while the interiors of the Halls of the Palace Complex of Literary Flowers (Wen Hua Dian) underwent lengthy renovations and restorations.
Today however, the entire Eastern Outer Court of the Palace Museum have been opened to the Public and one can travel through the southern Gate of the Meridian (Wu Men) and turn eastwards to pay a visit to the East Gate Flowery Gate by following the road from the East Gate of Harmony. Even those who have visited the Palace Museum many times previously can wander around the Eastern Outer Court to find new and interesting Halls, Pavilions and Exhibitions to explore.
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A peek through the crack between the two heavy doors ceiling the central opening of East Harmony Gate. Beyond the east-to-west causway of the Inner Court leads away eastward.
View of the Eastern Gate of Harmony also known as the Gate of Unified Harmony seen from the five "Jade Belt" bridges that are the central feature of the southernmost central courtyard of the "Forbidden City". (Photo: November 2007)
with cloud designs.
The Gate itself is some five "bays" wide and has three openings, separated from each other by two thick red painted wooden supporting beams. Two massive wooden doors, pierced by the ritual nine times nine golden yellow studs, close each of the three openings.
Atop the Gate is a yellow glaze tiled roof, with upturned eaves and supported by massive wooden cross
towards the Palace of Literary Flowers (Wen Hua Ge) in the Eastern Outer Court section adjacent.
The river has an interesting role in the balancing of the geomantic (Feng Shui) features of the "Forbidden City" and its presence in the south of the Palace completes the traditional design of the Palace.
Partial overview of the southernmost central courtyard of the Outer Court of the Forbidden City, featuring the Golden Stream (or "Jade Belt") and among things the East Gate of Unified Harmony visible on the right of this image.
this particular Gate of the Palace and due to the overwhelming impressions left by other more attractive structures near most visitors pass through or by it without giving it a second glance.
One of the five "Jade Belt" bridges and the "Golden Stream" of the southernmost central outer court with the East Gate of Harmony as a backdrop.
View of the southernmost central outer court from the twin Western Gate of Harmony with the East Gate of Harmony seen across the spacious courtyard and part of the traditional main south gate of the Palace Museum, the Gate of the Meridian to the right in the south.
Buy a ticket and pass through the Gate of the Meridian to reach the southernmost central courtyard of the Palace and the Outer Court. From there, one need only stroll across the large courtyard to the east flank where the East Gate of Harmony has its location.
This route is slightly longer than the southern route but it could be an interesting walk. During the feudal years of the Qing Dynasty the east Gate of the "Forbidden City" provided access to the restricted area of the "Imperial City" and beyond to the now ruined Dong'An Gate outside of which there was a large vegetable market and several exclusive stores catering to the Palace and its multitudes of lecherous eunuchs and officials.
Buy your ticket and enter through the East Flowery Gate (Dong Hua Men) and simply follow the broad road leading away from it and into the Palace Grounds. Following it one eventually and inevitably winds up at the East Gate of Harmony. On the way there
Along the south of this east-to-west causeway stands another set of structures virtually identical to the Hall of South Fragrance (Nanxun Dian) complex in the western outer court opposite. These structures were in use as the Main Offices of the Royal Cabinet, that is the group of Ministers directly responsible to the Throne and thus the Emperor himself.
THE WESTERN ROUTE:
The Eastern Route to the West Gate of Harmony is unnecessarily long and goes unrecommended for this reason, however it should be mentioned.
beams which are decorated with the usual "hexi" painted decorations. The roof is lined with five mythical animals signifying its but mediocre rank among all the structures of the Palace. Two large ceramic dragons, one on the rooftop corner and one where the eaves are bent sideways complete the simple but elegant design.
On the outside (east) of the East Gate of Harmony a red wall leads way in the the directions north and south.
On the immediate north side of the Gate, the white marbled and balustraded artificial stream dubbed the "golden river" can be seen approaching the Gate from the north-west and entering a stone tunnel situated underneath the north side of the Gate and the wall extending from it. From here, the golden stream passes underneath the wall to leave the southernmost central courtyard and bend northwards
View of the East Gate of Harmony in December 2013 after the eastern outer court and the Hall of Literary Glory were finally opened to the public.
Pass through the Gate of Unified Harmony to follow the outer road of the eastern outer court to the East Flowery Gate of the Forbidden City. Along the way one can find the Hall of Literary Glory and complex and a few other structures.