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The southeastern section of the city wall:
An introduction to the architectural complex

Updated: Oct 08, 2018 Print


The southeastern corner watchtower [Photo/Official Weibo account of the Palace Museum]

The elevated view of the Forbidden City enables you to grasp the layout of the architectural complex and better understand ancient Chinese people's belief in Fengshui, the geomancy for creating a harmonious and auspicious environment for a residence. The Forbidden City was built in 1424 by the third emperor of the Ming dynasty (1368-1644). Although part of the imperial palace underwent rebuilding and renovation after the collapse of the regime, rulers of the successive dynasty - the Qing (1644-1911) - did not innovate much regarding the overall layout of the palace and the style of individual buildings. Qing architecture is a mere continuation of the Ming traditions. However, in terms of composition of a grand plan and uniformity, there is nothing comparable to the palace in the world. 



A special route going from the foot of the Meridian Gate (Wu men) to the tower gallery of the East Prosperity Gate (Donghua men) provides you with not only a sightseeing wonder but also a showcase combination of Chinese historical architecture. The ten-meter-high passageway connects the southeastern corner watchtower, the tower of the East Prosperity Gate, and the site of the Office of the Imperial Procession Guards (Luanyi wei). All of them now are converted into exhibition spaces featuring structural drawings, plans, models, decoration designs, and even architectural components. A staircase leads you to the upper space of the gate tower, where a striking real-size assemblage of bracket sets (dou gong), half unpainted, dominates. Since the inner roof structure is completely exposed, you will find yourself an unprecedentedly short distance from the details of the ceiling and the interior decoration beneath.

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