• Sun. May 26th, 2024

The Forbidden City, a place where many objects of Chinese cultural value can be found


Apr 24, 2024
BEIJING, April 24th (ABP) – African journalists supervised by China International Press Communication Center (CIPCC) since late February 2024 made this Wednesday April 24, 2024, in Beijing, a tour of the Forbidden City, a place attracting a large number of both national and foreign visitors on a daily basis, and where many precious objects of Chinese cultural value dating back to the 1400s can be found.
Mrs. Susan, a Chinese teacher at the Beijing Language and Cultural Center for Diplomatic Missions, told the journalists that the Forbidden City, well-known as the Palace Museum today, stands as a testament to China’s rich history and cultural heritage. The Forbidden City was constructed during the Ming Dynasty in the early 15th century and served as the imperial palace for over 500 years housing 24 emperors of the Ming and Qing Dynasties. Its construction was a monumental undertaking which lasted for 14 years (1406-1420). The palace complex covers an area of 720,000 square meters (about 180 acres), with a construction area of 150,000 square meters, consisting of 980 surviving buildings with over 70 halls and palaces. It is the largest palace and wooden structure complex in the world, she clarified.
The architectural design of the Forbidden City is a masterpiece of traditional Chinese architecture with symmetrical layout and vibrant colors. The complex is divided into two main sections such as the Outer Court, consisting of 3 grand halls and ceremonial spaces; and Inner Court, reserved exclusively for the emperor and his family.
As a symbol of imperial power, Mrs. Susan explained, the Hall of Supreme Harmony is the largest and most important building in the complex. It was the venue for important State ceremonies and imperial coronations. The Hall of Central Harmony and the Hall of Preserving Harmony are equally impressive, serving as the emperor’s private spaces for preparation before important events in the Hall of Supreme Harmony, and function spaces for banquets and imperial examination, and so on.
She revealed that the Palace Museum houses an extensive collection of over 1.8 million cultural artifacts including paintings, calligraphy, ceramics, jade and imperial treasures with only small number of them on display at any given time. One of the most famous treasures is the collection of imperial robes and accessories. These intricately embroidered garments adorned with symbols of power and authority offer a glimpse into the opulence and grandeur of the imperial court, she specified, adding that the Museum also houses an impressive collection of ancient books, rare manuscripts, and historical documents providing valuable insights into China’s past.
Mrs. Susan further specified that the Forbidden City’s design was deeply rooted in Chinese ancient culture, such as symbolism and principles of Yin & Yang, and Fengshui. The layout of the complex reflects the belief in the harmony between heaven and earth with the main halls and palaces aligned along the central axis, she said, explaining that the number 9, which is considered auspicious in Chinese ancient culture as it is the highest single digit and odd number, is prevalent throughout the palace complex.
The intricate carvings, vibrant colors, and symbolic motifs found throughout the Forbidden City are a testament to the importance of symbolism in Chinese ancient culture. Dragons, phoenixes, and other mythical creatures adorn the palace walls and roofs representing power, prosperity and good fortune. However, they are not only just for decoration but also for practical function. The meticulous attention to details in every aspect of the architecture and decoration showcases the Chinese reverence for harmony and balance, she underscored.
Chinese government has been making significant efforts to preserve and share the cultural heritage of the Forbidden City with the visitors worldwide. Extensive restoration projects have been undertaken to ensure the longevity of the complex. The Palace Museum has also been embraced international collaborations hosting exhibitions and cultural exchanges with museums of many countries, Mrs. Susan pointed out, highlighting that visiting the Forbidden City provides a unique opportunity for the visitors to know about the culture diversity of ancient China and historical significance of this remarkable UNESCO world heritage site. It welcomes a daily average of 40,000 visitors, she revealed.
The finding is that the Forbidden City is truly an artistic treasure trove which showcases China’s age-old and splendid civilization to the public through imperial palace architecture, the reproduction of original interior settings, permanent exhibitions including decorative arts, timepieces, sculptures, special exhibitions, to name but a few. Its appearance testifies to China’s understanding of culture preservation as a synonym of identity preservation.
The Forbidden City welcomes a large number of visitors daily