The Central Route continues through a minor Gate adjacent the Hall of Preserving Harmony (BaoHe Dian).
Introduction to the Middle Harmony Hall or Hall of Central Ceremony
The Hall of Middle Harmony, or also Hall of Balancing Harmony is one of the three "Central Halls of the Outer Court" in the Forbidden City (Palace Museum) in Beijing. As the smallest of these three main Halls it stands on the large white marble "Dragon Platform" perched between the two larger structures of the Hall of Supreme Harmony (Taihe Dian) and the Hall of Preserving Harmony (Bao He Dian).
It is square and boxlike in shape.
It was constructed during the founding of the Palace of the Ming Dynasty in the Year 1420 AD.
During its lifetime it was twice restored. First in 1627 AD and again in 1765 AD during the Ching Dynasty.
Standing as the smallest of the Three Central Halls of the Outer Palace, the Hall of Middle Harmony is dwarfed by its neighbor, the adjacent Hall of Supreme Harmony, which is not only the largest wooden hall in China, but also the center of the Palace and
The Imperial Palace Museum
- Hall of Middle Harmony (ZongHe Dian) -
This page was last updated on: June 23, 2017
The Official schematic Map of The Forbidden City, by The Palace Museum.
- Mouse over Image -
to encourage agricultural results and ensure the survival and stability of the Nation. This was one of the most important ceremonial functions of the Emperor.
During the Ming Dynasty the Middle Harmony Hall was a separate Cabinet where the Emperor would receive his High Officials in private, before proceeding with the official Grand Ceremonies for Blessings to the God and various Altars of Agriculture at the Hall of Supreme Harmony.
The Middle Harmony Hall further was a convenient place for the Emperor to prepare himself for the Ceremonies and study the coming Religious Rituals by examining sacrificial writings.
Every spring before the ceremony at the Temple of Agriculture, where the emperor was supposed to till his own little piece of farmland, he would inspect the agricultural implements prepared for use in this "plough ceremony" inside the Hall of Central Ceremony. Only after inspection by the Emperor could they be used in
Apart from the function of Private Cabinet to confer with the Highest Court Officials, the Emperor would use the Hall for dressing for the Main Ceremonies in Supreme Harmony (Taihe) Hall or to take a rest in between of his duties at the >>>
View to the North from west adjacent the Hall of Supreme Harmony. The Middle Harmony Hall appears in view on the left, while in the distance the BeiHai Park's Bai Ta White Dagoba and the Pavilions atop the Ridge of Jingshan, both Imperial Gardens are clearly visible.
View of the Hall of Middle Harmony (ZhongHeDian), with Behind it the Hall of Preserving Harmony (BoaHeDian).
Behind the Middle Harmony Hall stands the 3rd Ceremonial Hall of the Outer Court, the Hall of Preserving harmony (BaoHeDian). In the initial period after construction the Hall was known as the Hall of (the) Canopy , Hu Gai Dian.
The Hall was renamed during the first Reign of the Ching Dynasty in 1645 AD, giving its current name: Hall of Middle Harmony, Zhong He Dian. The Hall is also known as the Hall of Balancing Harmony, Complete Harmony or as the Hall of Central Ceremony. A Last name used is Hall of Medium Harmony.
-Mouse Over Image -
-Mouse Over Image -
All three of the Central Hall are elevated on a 30 meter high, three tiered white marble platform from which stairs lead down in all directions.
Functions of the Middle Harmony Hall
Initially the Hall was used by the Ming Emperor during ceremonies such as examining seeds for sowing in the fields, one of the magical religious rites intended
The North Face of the Hall of Medium Harmony before Restauration.
-Mouse Over Image -
Large backdoors of the Hall of Supreme Harmony with guilded dragon-patterned plating (in 2003 AD, before restauration).
The now near Empty Interiors of the Hall of Middle Harmony. In past times, obviously there must have been more furniture and decorations.
Closer view of the modest Throne inside the Hall of Middle Harmony.
- Mouse over Image -
Interiors of the Hall of Middle Harmony
The Interiors of the small are equal to its exterior appearance. Modest, simple, but elegant.
Apart from the low throne in the back of the room, the only other furniture pieces inside are ritual incense burners and other symbolic pottery.
Today the Hall remains mainly empty.
Visitors are not allowed to step inside, but can only gaze through opened doors in the South Face of the Hall, the direction in which the sun is located.
In the latest ongoing restaurations at the Palace Museum the roof and ceiling of the Hall of Middle Harmony have been restored to their original splendor. The exteriors had been done in the previous phase, leaving the Middle Harmony in its best possible state for the important
Exterior Decorations of the Hall of Middle Harmony
The Hall of Middle Harmony has exterior decorations similar to the Other Main Ceremonial Halls of the Outer Court, however, due its size and function, on a far less grandiose scale.
History at the Hall of Middle Harmony
The Hall of middle harmony is identified in the autobiography of Last Emperor Pu Yi as the Hall where he shared the grave news of his abdication with the other Royal family members, including the Empress Wan
Olympic Year of 2008 AD, when millions of first time visitors flocked to the City and visited the Palace Museum of Beijing.
Fresh Golden Dragons pouncing from heaven, on a light- green background with plentiful buddhist motifs adorn the ceiling of the Hall.
A cross view of the Interior of the Hall and Throne.
The corroded ceiling of the Middle Harmony Hall before restaurations.
-Mouse Over Image -
Next to the stone slabs, several different types of mythical animals adorn the steps of the white marble steps. Each consecutive step has its own scene, among them the mythical Bixi, african lions, mountain lions, panthers and more. There are two animals on each step, balanced in the middle by a peculiar circular symbol. The circle in the symbol is strangely divided into 4 segments or quadrants, resembling the four quadrants of the magnetic sun.
However, the noteworthy decorations include small sized dragon carved stone slabs on all four sides of the Pavilion. Repeating a scene found in a larger size at the Hall of Supreme Harmony and other Palace Halls, the stones depict two dragons frolicking in a cloudy sky above steep and snowcapped mountains below. In between of them, the two dragons hold a pearl, the symbol of heavenly powers.
Dragons frolicking in clouds above steep mountains and holding a pearl.
Southern Face of the Hall of Middle Harmony before restaurations.
-Mouse Over Image -
Surroundings of the Hall of Middle Harmony
The Hall of Middle Harmony stands on the Central Axis of the Imperial Palace and Walled City. To the South stands the largest Hall, the Hall of Supreme Harmony and to the North stands the third Central Hall, the Throne Hall of Prserving Harmony.
To the West and to the East of the Zhonghedian, very large and wide white marble stairs lead down 30 meters from the Platform to what are known as the Western- and Eastern Routes of the Palace. These routes run paralel to the Central Axis.
One can either descend down the stairs or move on to another Hall.
Most first time visitors and certainly all Tour-groups walk along down the Central Line of the Palace, but to the East and West lie many more Palaces, Gardens, Pavilions and Halls. Apart from the Eastern- and
The Eastern route, 30 meters below the Platform of the Central Halls.
Hall of Middle Harmony atop the white marble platform of the Central Halls.
Main Ceremonial Halls. It was also a convenient place to practice the sacred Rites before reproducing them in Public as the Host of the Ceremonies.
Less important ritual ceremonies held at the Hall of Middle Harmony are the appointing ceremony of the Empress (and usually first concubine simultaniously), the ceremonial appointment of High Officials to their office and some other rituals such as the presentation of the Qing Dynasty Family Genealogy, which only occured once every 10 years. Last but not least, during the Ching Dynasty the Room was used to receive Foreign Envoys and Diplomats, and when holding a Speech to the Royal Family.
After restoration of this section of the Palace Museum two sedan chairs appeared on display within the Hall of Middle Harmony, positioned on both sides adjacent the Throne.
The sedan chairs were the only method used by the Emperor to travel in his Imperial Dignity from Palace to Palace through the Forbidden City. As those who visited know, it is a gargantuan palace
-ing through it on foot is quite a hike.
Obviously the Emperor would need a means of transportation and he was the only one allowed to ride a sedan chair in the Courts of the Palace. The Sedan was carried by 8 Men. One Sedan Chair on display dates from the Late Ming Dynasty whereas the other dates from the Early Ching Dynasty. Sedan Chairs were not stored at the Hall of Middle Harmony, but kept at on hand at several locations nearby. The Middle Harmony Hall is however an appropriate place to display them as this was the Emperors service room and the Grand Ceremonies requiring Stately Transport by Sedan Chair were held in the adjacent Halls.
Architectural Design of the Hall of Middle Harmony
The Hall of Middle Harmony is square in size, resembling a Pavilion. Each of its square sides is five bays wide, measuring 24 meters and 15 centimeters. The Roof is adorned by a shining golden pinacle and has rows of 9 mythical animals on its corners.
Rong and the first Concubine, Lady Wen Xiu. The book vividly describes the scene.
Find DrBen and ChinaReport on Facebook with the latest from www.drben.net.