My 2021 edition of the Forbidden City stickers, the 17th volume of the serial "Looking at the Red Walls and Gold Tiles, Appreciating the Ming and Qing Palaces", has been generously read by many readers. Among them, some readers put forward some opinions and suggestions, and pointed out some fallacies. This revised edition is republished on the second quarter, adopting the opinions and suggestions of previous readers, enriching some content, correcting clerical errors, and updating and supplementing some pictures. Although I dare not say that all the fallacies have been corrected, most of them should have been corrected. Remember in detail the architectural art of ancient Chinese top palaces seen in the Ming and Qing palaces, some royal cultural relics exhibited in the Forbidden City, and the traces of royal life in the Qing palace, and also think of some stories and legends that happened in the Ming and Qing palaces. Readers", just want to share with readers. thanks.


The Housan Palace is the sleeping palace of the emperor and empress, and the Qianqing Gate is its gate. Because the east-west direction is very long, and the north-south distance is not wide, the square in front of Qianqingmen is also called Hengjie. The square side street in front of Qianqing Gate crosses the central axis from Meridian Gate to Shenwu Gate, and this intersection is the center point of the Imperial Palace. There is another side street like this in front of Tiananmen Square, which is also called Tianjie. From Tiananmen to the east, there used to be several buildings on the street. The first one is the left gate of Chang'an, which is probably at the intersection in front of the Working People's Cultural Palace; then there are the three east gates, which are probably at the intersection of Nanchizi; and there is another archway to the east, which is the Dongdan archway. There are also several buildings to the west of Tiananmen Square, the Chang'an Right Gate at the intersection in front of Zhongshan Park; the Xisanzuo Gate at the intersection of Nanchang Street and the Xidan Archway at the intersection of Xidan Intersection. Chang'an Avenue is based on Chang'an Left Gate and Chang'an Right Gate. In the old photo of the founding ceremony below, you can see the image of troops passing by the left gate of Chang'an. A few years ago, a Xidan archway was rebuilt in Xidan Cultural Square for everyone to see.

Of course, there are gates at the east and west ends of the side street in front of Qianqing Palace, and the Jingyun Gate is on the east side.

To the west is Longzong Gate, and the two gates are the same. Come and see Longzongmen.

These two gates are house-style gates with a width of five rooms, with yellow glazed tiles and single eaves resting on the top. The Longzong Gate opens to the west, with five rooms and three openings, the middle three rooms are the gates, and the door leaf is located on the back Jinzhu, which is called the Jinzhu Gate. On both sides of the three gates are the tip rooms. If you pay attention, you will find that the doors on the palace walls around the first three halls, including the side doors and side doors, are not stepped up and down in front, but up and down the path, both inside and outside. why is it like this? I guess it should be to make it easier for the horse to walk, or for the imperial chariot to get in and out.

Outside the Longzong Gate is the Palace of Compassion and Peace. There is a road leading to Xihua Gate, and then you can go to Xiyuan for recreation. Therefore, this is the passage between the inner court and the outer court. Under normal circumstances, princes and ministers go through the Donghua Gate, and here are relatives. When the emperor gets older, he often stays in the western suburbs of the imperial garden, which is more comfortable than staying in the palace. As a result, some people go to heaven from the western garden. Although the soul is gone, the skin will return to the palace to stop. These skins will come in through this Longzong Gate and go to Qianqing Palace.

After Qianlong, it was Jiaqing who became the emperor of the Qing Dynasty. In the 16th year of Jiaqing (AD 1811), there was a Baiyang sect in Anyang, Henan. They also had a branch in Daxing, Beijing, and the head of the organization was Lin Qing. This Lin Qing later grew up and became the leader of the Tianli Sect. He formulated a plan to capture the imperial palace and drive the Mandarin inside back to his hometown in the northeast. In the eighteenth year of Jiaqing, the emperor went to the south for inspection, and now the opportunity came. Lin Qing led a hundred or so militiamen, divided into two groups, and attacked the Forbidden City from Donghuamen and Xihuamen. They also developed a few eunuchs in advance to do some auxiliary work such as opening doors and raising seedlings. When the incident happened, they really broke into the Donghua Gate and Xihua Gate, and the West Road militiamen attacked the Longzong Gate. At this time, only the princes in the palace read books and newspapers with their masters. The soldiers are fighting the militia, and the militia's daily martial arts skills are gradually gaining the upper hand. Emperor Jiaqing had to report that he had been taken from the rear, so he sent an urgent order to the princes: It's time to test you, hurry up and bring your muskets to me. The second son of the emperor, Min Ning, rushed to the front with a gun. Of course, the cold weapons of the militiamen could not resist the muskets of the officers and soldiers, and a volley killed more than half of the militiamen. When the militiamen saw it, they had no choice but to shoot arrows. There was a burst of arrows, and many officers and soldiers fell down. In the end, the muskets of the officers and soldiers won, and the entire militia was wiped out. The internal biography of the Qing palace did not say whether Jiaqing's urgent order was sent by telegram or telephone. How could it be so timely? After Jiaqing came back, he came to the scene of the crime and found that there was an omission in cleaning the battlefield, and an arrow cluster was still left on the "Longzongmen" plaque. He asked to leave the arrow cluster there and make it a warning arrow cluster. Then I went back to my room and wrote an "Edict of Guilt", which was full of "this sudden change is really inexplicable", "However, all the ministers failed to understand and acted carelessly, which led to things that did not happen in the Han, Tang, Song and Ming Dynasties". The second son of the emperor, Min Ning, was the later Emperor Daoguang. Later generations found that the location and direction of the arrow cluster were suspicious, and suspected that Jiaqing shot an arrow himself when he was surveying the scene. Look at this plaque and that arrow cluster.

In addition, there is another arrow cluster from this battle left on the Longzong Gate, which is on the rafters under the eaves inside the gate. I looked around and didn't see it. Forget it, leave it for you to discover.

Although it is called Hengjie, its scientific name should still be called Qianqingmen Square. The most authentic building here is of course the Qianqing Gate facing the Royal Road behind the Baohe Palace.

The walls on both sides of the Qianqing Gate are very important. Outside the wall is the outer court, and inside the wall is the inner palace. Under normal circumstances, foreign officials are not allowed to enter the inner palace; inner relatives are not allowed to come out.

Look at the Qianqingmen in the sunset.

The Qianqing Gate is not a court gate like the Taihe Gate, so it doesn't need to be too big, if it is too big, it will overwhelm the host. Moreover, the emperor works outside, and this is the door of the house when he comes home from work, and the door of the house should look like a door. As a family, Qianqingmen is already very good. Below it is a five-foot-high white stone Xumizuo as the base, and there is a circle of white marble handrails on the base. There are three handrails in front, and the middle one is the royal road walked by the emperor. As far as this pedestal is concerned, the Qianqing Gate is the highest-level house-style gate in the country, and even the Prince's Mansion cannot have such a high-end gate. On the base is the gate hall, five rooms wide and two rooms deep, with bucket arches and beams on the roof, and yellow glazed tiles on the top of the mountain with single eaves. There is Xu Xun's sword stuck in the back of the Zhengji Owl Kiss, a big gold chain is strung around his body, and there are five ridge beasts on the ridge. There are three doors in the middle, gray brick sill walls on the bottom of the tip rooms on both sides, and square sill windows on the top. Many bases in the Forbidden City use this kind of white stone, which is actually white marble. There is a white stone mountain in Laiyuan, Hebei, not far from Beijing, which is part of the Beijing Fangshan World Geopark. There are entire mountains made of white marble. I wonder if these white stones in the Forbidden City were picked from there?

Look inside the gate hall.

On the top is the smallpox of Shuanglong Pingqi, and the words "Qianqingmen" are written in Manchu and Chinese on the gold-painted fighting plaque.

The door leaf is at the position of the rear golden pillar, and the result is that the gate hall looks very large.

A pair of glass horoscope screen walls on both sides of Qianqing Gate are very attractive. The eight-character shadow wall in front of the door is usually to create a square effect in front of the door. This is not only to give more space in front of the Qianqing Gate, but also to fill the visual content of the Qianqing Gate, avoiding the sudden transition from the front three halls to the bare wall too much. unexpected. This screen wall is a yellow glazed xumizuo, a glazed wall, and a glazed single eaves veranda roof. Inside the square box on the wall is a large ornate glass flower basket. Take a look at the colored glaze flower basket.

The pair of gilt bronze lions in front of the gate is the second pair after entering the Forbidden City, the first pair is in front of Taihe Gate. In front of Taihe Gate is a pair of original ecological bronze lions, and the pair of Qianqing Gate is gilded.

The two pairs of bronze lions in front of the two main gates were both made in the Ming Dynasty. The exact date is unknown, but they probably dated to the 41st year of Jiajing (AD 1562). Why are the lion's ears drooping? Everyone knows that this is a symbol of indifference to the secret affairs of the palace.

In addition to the golden lion in front of the Qianqing Gate, there are other gold objects. There are two gold vats next to the golden lion at the entrance, and there are four gold vats sitting under the walls on both sides, and the surface is also full of knife marks. Of course, these gold tanks are used to hold water, that is, fire water tanks. Once the Housan Palace encounters open flames, two teams of eunuchs will run from the east and west sides, one team will jump into the water tank, climb out and then rush into the Qianqing Gate to grab the emperor's handbook. The other team also jumped into the water tank, climbed out and rushed into the Qianqing Gate to grab the queen's jewelry. Where will these manuscripts and jewelry be received after they are snatched out? It is not mentioned in the historical records.

You can see that there is a stone seat under each jar, which is not a seat, but a stove. In ancient times, Guanzao was called "Cuan (Nianchan)". There is a village in Mentougou, Beijing, named Cuandixia because the surrounding mountains resemble Cuandi. In winter, there are boiler eunuchs responsible for adding water to each tank in the palace, lighting a fire in the stove, and covering the tanks. The fire was not removed until the next year's Jingzhe was warm.

Qianqing Gate is the last gate among the five gates of the Zhou system, which is the Lumen, the gate of Luxi.

It was explained earlier that the early court was at the Taihe Gate in the ancient times, and there were regular requirements for the early court. The emperor who loved to sleep late in the Ming Dynasty was Wanli Emperor Zhu Yijun. He did not go to court for 28 years, and of course he did not go to the early court. The most diligent emperor in the Ming Dynasty was Chongzhen Emperor Zhu Youjian, who would come every court.

Before Shunzhi came to power in the Qing Dynasty, the regent listened to the government. He didn't say where it was, but it should be at the Gate of Supreme Harmony. In the ninth year of Shunzhi (1652 A.D.), Fulin listened to the government at the Taihe Gate after taking charge, not every day, but every five days (fifth, fifteenth, and twenty-fifth of each month). After Kangxi came to power, he was very diligent, and he went to court almost every day, and changed to Qianqingmen Yumen to listen to politics. In the early days of Shunzhi, he lived in the Palace of Preserving Harmony, and later moved into the Palace of Heavenly Purity after it was repaired. Kangxi also lived in Baohe Hall in the early days, and then lived in Qianqing Palace, which is very close to Qianqing Gate, and there is no need to go up and down steps. Kangxi was very busy in the early days. I guess he changed the imperial gate to Qianqingmen to save time on the road. Since the Qing Dynasty, he has been listening to politics at the Qianqingmen Yumen. After Kangxi, Yongzheng changed the memorial to a secret book, which is a small report. As soon as there are more small reports, there will be fewer public hearings. Therefore, since the beginning of Yongzheng, the number of government hearings has decreased. After Qianlong, there were even fewer imperial gates to listen to politics. Qianlong reigned for sixty years, with an average of less than 12 times a year. In the Xianfeng period, there were less than five times a year on average.

The Gate of Supreme Harmony is the gate of the court, which can be regarded as the gate of the country. The emperor of the Ming Dynasty listened to the government at the gate of the country. Qianqingmen is the door of the bedroom, which can be regarded as the door of the house. The emperor of the Qing Dynasty listened to the government at the door of the house. The emperor listened to the government at the gate instead of the palace, because he wanted to let God see how he governed. In fact, this is all formalism. Anything you don't want to let God know can still be moved to the temple. The emperor yelled "Pull it out and hit twenty big boards" all in the hall, and the beheading was done quietly with the ink pen.

There is a row of twelve rooms on both sides of the side street outside Qianqingmen, which were built in the Qing Dynasty. The east row is to the east of the inner left gate, close to Jingyun Gate. That is the waiting place for the ministers of the upper court, and it is called Jiuqing's house. This Jiuqing is just a title, not specifically referring to Jiuqing. In the Qing Dynasty, Jiuqing did not include six departments. If it is specified, there is no certain rule, but it usually includes the chief executives of the Metropolitan Procuratorate, Dali Temple, Taichang Temple, Guanglu Temple, Honglu Temple, Taipu Temple, Tongzhengshi, Zongrenfu and Luanyiwei , such as "Taichang Temple Qing".

They waited outside the Meridian Gate when they were listening to the government at the Imperial Gate of Taihe Gate. In the Qing Dynasty, it was changed to wait here after the early dynasty of Qianqingmen. It is more convenient for ministers to come here from Donghuamen. There should have been a kang in this room at the earliest, but the ministers were all standing, not daring to cough or sneeze.

There is another row of twelve rooms to the west of the inner right gate on the west side, which was also built in the Qing Dynasty and is a famous military aircraft office.

In the early Ming Dynasty, Zhu Yuanzhang abolished the prime minister and Zhongshu Sheng, and rolled up his sleeves to govern himself. No one helped, of course Zhu Yuanzhang was tired and dizzy. Later, he made a lot of moths. First, he appointed the fourth assistant officer, but he was actually an assistant officer and could not do any serious work. Then, some grand scholars were arranged in each attic to provide advice and suggestions. After Zhu Di arrived in Beijing, he established a cabinet system. The original cabinet was a scholar of Wenyuan Pavilion, who was still responsible for making suggestions and suggestions, and recording the emperor's oral instructions, which is called passing orders as pens. Later, this cabinet began to draft the imperial decree, and its power became more and more powerful. By the time of Emperor Jiajing, the cabinet was already the chief decision-making body under the emperor. After Shunzhi entered Beijing, the regent Dorgon followed the cabinet system of the Ming Dynasty. The six ministries worked in the verandahs on both sides of the gate of Taihe, and the cabinet worked in the cabinet lobby on the south side of the gate of Xiehe in the east veranda. After Yongzheng ascended the throne, in the seventh year of Yongzheng (1729 AD), he began to send troops to conquer Junggar in the northwest. During the war, Emperor Yongzheng strategized thousands of miles away, and there were frequent exchanges of combat orders and battle reports. The distance between the cabinet lobby outside Xiehe Gate and the Hall of Mental Cultivation is quite far, and there are often outsiders peeping along the way. In order to efficiently transmit information and avoid leakage of military aircraft, a military aircraft department was set up at the position in the picture above in Longzong Gate. This place is the one facing the ground closest to the Hall of Mental Cultivation. The door of the Military Aircraft Office is next to the inner right door. Enter the inner right door and run two steps to the Hall of Mental Cultivation. The personnel in the Military Aircraft Department are called Ministers of Military Aircraft. They are all selected from the cabinet. At the beginning, the Military Aircraft Department mainly dealt with military affairs, which was equivalent to the General Staff. After the war, he began to pre-process the memorials for the emperor, except for the secret ones, which is actually equivalent to the emperor's confidential secretariat. Since then, the Military Aircraft Department has become more and more powerful, and gradually emptied the cabinet, and also abolished the system of discussing the king's participation in politics. The ministers of the Military Aircraft Department are all part-time and have no salary. Everyone knows that the most powerful military minister in the Qing Dynasty was He Shen.

Look inside the Aircraft Office.

In the past, there was a kang in the house, as well as tables, chairs and benches, which were very simple. There is no air-conditioning in summer, and all rely on self-fanning. Because they are all big old men, they are shirtless when they are too hot, and there is nothing decent to say. There is no heating in winter, so you can burn the kang. The Emperor Sanjiu also presented a stove and briquettes, and the ministers burned it themselves, and sugar cakes and salted fish from home were baked on the stove. Those who had nothing to do all gathered around the stove to warm up the fire, and those who wrote went to lie on the table and worked hard. The military aircraft department is manned 24 hours a day, and the military aircraft ministers work in three shifts. Once they have something to do, they will discuss an idea and write it down on paper, then go out from the opposite door in the picture above, run into the inner right door and send it to the Hall of Mental Cultivation separated by two walls. After Emperor Yongzheng moved out of the Qianqing Palace in the Qing Dynasty, all the emperors lived in the Hall of Mental Cultivation.

The Military Aircraft Department began in the seventh year of Yongzheng and operated for 182 years. It was abolished in the third year of Xuantong (AD 1911), and a responsible cabinet system was established. Soon afterward, the Qing Dynasty perished.

Standing on the platform outside the Qianqing Gate, you can see the Qianqing Palace behind it through the gate.

Behind the Qianqing Gate, there is a platform corridor as high as the base of the Qianqing Gate, leading directly to the Qianqing Palace behind it. There are white marble handrails on both sides of the corridor, and the imperial road in the middle of the corridor.

At the end of the corridor is the higher-level platform of Qianqing Palace, which is connected by handrails and Danbi stone in the middle. There is a handrail on both sides of the corridor, leading directly to the ground of Qianqing Palace Square.

Yulu and Erlu are hollow and people can walk away. They are called "Tiger Caves". When the emperor was playing hide-and-seek with the court ladies when he was a child, he often hid here, and the adults couldn't scream.

Of course, there are corresponding decorations on the platform. Like the platform of the Hall of Supreme Harmony, there are also four copper tripod furnaces here, but they are gilded and more advanced.

Look at ancient clocks, sundials.

If there is a sundial, there will be grace. The Jialiang here is round, with gilt copper, which is higher than that of the Hall of Supreme Harmony, and Qianlong imitates Xinmang.

There are bronze cranes on the platform of the Hall of Supreme Harmony, and there are also here.

If you look hard, you can see the difference from the one in the Hall of Supreme Harmony, right? The bronze crane on the platform of the Hall of Supreme Harmony stood directly on the exposed white marble seat, while the one here stands in a copper plate on the exposed seat, with rolling waves and towering peaks in the copper plate, this is a three-dimensional version Seawater River Cliff. Moreover, the mouth of this copper crane is closed, which means that loud noises are not allowed here, so as not to affect the emperor's sleep.

Look at the copper turtle again.

Is it different from the Hall of Supreme Harmony? There is also a copper plate, and there are waves in the copper plate, but there is no cliff, this is not a seawater river cliff. If you look carefully at the water, there are fish, shrimps, and small turtles. This should symbolize the world, and it also represents the country and the country. If you look at this tortoise again, he is not a genuine tortoise at all! The eldest son of the Dragon King is called Bi Xi (Nian Bixie). Legend has it that at first he carried three mountains and five mountains on his back to make troubles everywhere, and was later subdued by Dayu to control the water. The ancients used 嵑屃 to symbolize longevity and auspiciousness. Here it must mean that the country will last forever. The current decorations on the platform should all be from the Qianlong period.

Standing next to the copper tortoise and tilting your head, you can see a small golden temple outside the railing.

It turns out that there are still decorations under the platform, and the small golden hall above is called Jiangshan Sheji Golden Hall.

Step down along the side railing of the platform, and you can carefully appreciate this small golden palace. There is one on each side of the platform. There is a square one-foot-high plain stone masonry base under it, and there is a step to the south, surrounded by handrails. This is not white marble, but white stone. On the pillar is not the head of Yunlong, but a little lion. On the base of the platform is a three-story stone house stacked together, called Wenshitai, which is also made of white stone, and the relief carvings on it are full of seawater and river cliffs. The lower floor is quite high, and an adult eunuch can get in through the small door on the south. The eunuch went in for no other reason than to burn incense in the small golden hall on the roof. The height of Wenshi Terrace is the same as the platform of Qianqing Palace, so standing on the platform, you can see the whole picture of Xiaojin Palace. The small golden hall is very high-end, with gilt copper and imitation wood structure. The square pavilion with four corners and double eaves has four waist eaves on the bottom, a round and pointed top on the top, and a pearl ridge brake on the dew-bearing plate. Each side is equipped with four doors with four wipes, three intersecting and six bowls of lattice flowers, a skirt board with embossed dragons, and double dragons and seals on the horizontal frame. There are bucket arches, beams, squares, purlins, and rafters under the eaves, and there are also many spine kisses, spine beasts, and end beasts on them. The casting of this small golden temple is very delicate, which is amazing. These two Jiangshan Sheji Golden Palaces were added when Shunzhi entered Beijing to rebuild the imperial palace.

Next to the small golden hall, a high-level stuff is also installed.

This stuff is a pedestal, called a sky lantern. Now there is no light pole, and the copper plate is placed inside. Every year on the twenty-fourth day of the twelfth lunar month, when the copper plate is removed, you can see that there is an iron sleeve inside, and a ten-meter-long light pole is inserted into it. There is a cantilever on the top of the light pole. On New Year's Eve, the first day of the new year, and from the 14th to the 16th, a red lantern should be hung on the cantilever, and lantern couplets should be hung on other days. Auspicious words must be written on the lantern couplets. These words were written in the Ming Dynasty and continued to be hung in the Qing Dynasty. There is a sky lantern on one side under the base of the platform, and one on each side of Danchi above the base. The one on the base of the platform is called the Longevity Lantern. The difference between Wanshou Lantern and Sky Lantern is that there are eight cantilevered arms on it, and eight strings of lights should be hung instead of eight lanterns. After Daoguang was cleared, these lights were not hung up. I don't know if the Forbidden City will hang out the sky lanterns and longevity lanterns every year during the Chinese New Year.

Look at the base of the Wanshou lamp on the base of the platform, one on the east and west sides of Danchi.

After looking at the periphery, it's time to take a good look at the main hall of the Qianqing Palace.

The Qianqing Palace was first built by Zhu Di as a sleeping palace. It has been burned for hundreds of years and rebuilt several times. The current hall was rebuilt in the third year of Jiaqing in the Qing Dynasty (AD 1798), and it has been more than 200 years. "Qian" of course means heaven, and Qiankun means heaven and earth. "Qianqing" means that the sky is clean, that is, "there are no clouds floating in the blue sky".

Below the Qianqing Palace is a bluestone base about six feet high. On the base is the platform, with a circle of white marble handrails. The main hall is seven rooms wide and five rooms deep, with bucket arches and beams, surrounded by eaves and corridors. On the top is the roof of the hall with double eaves and yellow glazed tiles, and there are nine ridge beasts on the vertical ridge.

There are painted and gold-plated double dragons and seals on the horizontal square. The Ming room and the East and West rooms are the highest standard six-wipe partition door, three crosses and six bowls with lattice flowers, and Panlong wood-carved skirt boards. There are green brick sill walls and square windows between the east and west ends and the ends. This is what the Qianqing Palace in the Ming Dynasty looked like. When Shunzhi entered Beijing to rebuild the Qianqing Palace, he built a smaller hall at the beginning to house the concubines, and he himself lived in the Baohe Hall in front. Later, the Qianqing Palace was rebuilt according to the Ming system, and he moved in by himself.

During the epidemic, we audiences were not allowed to come close, and could only stand under the steps of the front hall and squint our eyes to look inward through the gate. The inside of the main hall is made of gold bricks, and the east and west ends are closed to make warm pavilions, so the inside of the main hall is much smaller than the previous Hall of Supreme Harmony. In order to increase the space inside the hall, the front golden pillars were subtracted. There is a back screen between the rear golden pillars, and in front of the back screen is a platform of rosewood wood, on which a throne is set. There are some decorations around the throne, including incense burners (multi-layer square pavilions), cranes, and incense burners (should be called 甗, Nianyan), all of which are enamel.

There is a pair of couplets on the back gold pillars on both sides of the back screen, "Ke Kuan Ke Ren, Huang Jian has its extreme", "There is only one essence, and the Tao is extremely in Jue Gong". This is a topic proposed by Qianlong, who said that there must be a heart of benevolence and the rule of law, that is, to pay equal attention to kindness and power. Above the screen is the famous "fair and bright" plaque.

The position of this pair of plaques is amazing. It is not as far-reaching as the plaque in the Hall of Supreme Harmony, but it is not as close to the door as the plaque in the Hall of Central Harmony. Every year around the winter solstice, the sun is at its lowest altitude in Beijing. At around twelve o'clock at noon, the sun flies across the front of the main hall from east to west, and the sunlight shoots into the Qianqing Hall through the Mingjian gate. The sunlight is reflected by the gold bricks on the ground to form a beam of golden light, and this beam of golden light sweeps from west to east on the "Upright and Bright" plaque and the five golden dragons below. This is one of the few scenic spots where people in Beijing gather to take pictures in winter: to see the golden light sweeping across the "righteous and bright" plaque, and another famous place is to go to the Summer Palace to see the "golden light piercing the hole". This year's winter solstice is Monday, and the Forbidden City is closed for one day. I came to watch this wonderful time on the second day of the winter solstice. At 11 o'clock in the morning, a column of photographers had been lined up in front of the Mingjian gate of the Qianqing Palace, and the cameras stood airtight on tripods from low to high. It is said that the one with the best position waited outside the gate of the Forbidden City early in the morning, and rushed all the way here to occupy the C position when the gate opened. I couldn't grab them, so I could only go to the entrance of the next room to enjoy the scene, and also watch the fights between photographers in the middle road. The picture above was taken at 12 noon on August 20, 2020, with scattered light effect. Take a look at the following picture taken at 12:00 noon the day after the winter solstice, the spotlight effect.

You see, the shadow of the wooden dragon head in the middle of the screen hat is just in the middle of the five golden dragons on the five dragon plaques above, the light shines in the middle, and the sides are slightly darker. This most positive moment is 12:04:45 noon. Why not exactly 12 o'clock? The first possibility is that the central axis of the hall is not directly south and north, and is not aligned with the longitude line. The second reason is that the central axis of the Forbidden City is not on the longitude line of "Beijing Time". "Beijing time" is the time at 120 degrees east longitude, and the longitude of Beijing is 116.4 degrees east longitude. Calculated according to this data, it should be 12:14:28 when the sun passes through the central axis of Beijing. I took a picture at 12:14:42, which is as follows.

how? Obviously not in the middle! The front one is closer to the middle, let's say 12:05:00. Why earlier? The exact longitude of Qianqing Palace is 116.397009, while that of Yongdingmen is 116.399361, right? In this way, taking into account the longitude error and the direction error, the time when the middle of the "Fair and Bright" plaque is illuminated is approximately 12:04:45 noon around the winter solstice.

In fact, in addition to the Qianqing Palace, the "Jianji Suiyou" plaque in the Hall of Supreme Harmony will also be illuminated like this. However, "Jianji Suiyou" has too much ancient flavor, and it is not as close to modern Chinese as "Fair and Bright". Therefore, it is more popular to come to Qianqing Palace to see the plaque of "upright and bright". Look at the "Jianji Suiyou" plaque being illuminated by golden light on the winter solstice, the time is 11:00:37 on the winter solstice in 2021.

Why is it 11 o'clock and not 12 o'clock? The "Jianji Suiyou" plaque in the Hall of Supreme Harmony is taller and more far-reaching. In addition, there is a lintel on the Mingjian door to cover it. The sunlight coming in from the main entrance of the Mingjian at 12 o'clock cannot reach the plaque. The above picture I took is the sunlight coming in from the gate of Dongcijian. There is no lintel on the gate of Dongcijian, and the angle of the sun is lower, so it can shine farther. Therefore, the "Jianji Suiyou" plaque was illuminated an hour earlier. Of course, one hour after 12 o'clock, the plaque will be illuminated again, when sunlight enters through the gate of Xicijian.

Upright and bright comes from the Song Dynasty Zhu Xi's saying "If you have the heart of Fan Gong, you will be upright and bright, and you will have no old grudges, and the righteousness of 惓惓 is in the country." It means to look at people from the front, and to look at the places where there is light on the front of people; it means to be open-minded, and to behave without hiding. This plaque was first inscribed by Emperor Shunzhi when the Qianqing Palace was rebuilt in the thirteenth year of Shunzhi (AD 1656). During the Chongzhen period of the Ming Dynasty before Shunzhi, the plaque at this location was "Jingtian Fazu". After Kangxi came to power, when he moved into Qianqing Palace, he saw that his father's plaque was not very bright, so he copied it and made a new one, and stamped "Kangxi's Treasure" with his own hand. When it was rebuilt after the fire in the second year of Jiaqing (AD 1797), the Supreme Emperor Qianlong copied and remade a plaque of "Uprightness and Brightness" and hung it on it, and stamped it with his own hand stamp "Treasure of the Supreme Emperor", marking the "Kangxi Emperor's Treasure". Treasure" has been moved to the upper right corner of the front, which is the replica we see now.

Although this Qianqing Palace has a "fair and bright" plaque, compared with the ceremonies on the table in the Hall of Supreme Harmony, the stories in the Qianqing Palace are not all aboveboard. During the Ming Dynasty, the Qianqing Palace was the emperor's bedroom. There were nine bedrooms upstairs and downstairs, and there were no windows, right? There is more than one bed in each dormitory. The Han people all sleep on the bed, and the Manchu people sleep on the kang later. The emperor may not sleep in a certain room or a certain bed every day, and it is impossible for outsiders to guess. In the evening, when the emperor announced that the queen or a certain concubine entered the palace, there was a secret way to determine whether to go to room 101 or room 203 for pleasure. Don't look at the emperor's tricks, but there must be a sparse one. Jiajing Emperor Zhu Houcong hated politics and liked alchemy, so he wanted to collect the treasures of young court ladies to make alchemy. Legend has it that picking treasures and refining alchemy caused the maids to change their minds. Concubine Cao entered the Qianqing Palace on a dark night, and the court ladies gathered together and sneaked into the Qianqing Palace. After the incident was defeated, Emperor Jiajing not only exterminated these court ladies, but also confiscated the yellow silk to serve as an official. It was the Renyin Palace Change, and the Jiajing Renyin Year was twenty-one years (AD 1542). After the incident happened in Qianqing Palace, Jiajing didn't dare to live in the palace anymore, so he moved to Xiyuan, and the alchemy furnace also moved there. This Xiyuan is not the current Old Summer Palace, but the garden to the west of the imperial palace outside Xihuamen, which is now Zhongnanhai. It wasn't until the penultimate day of his life that he was left on the sickbed and moved back to the Qianqing Palace, and the next day he returned to his roots. This incident illustrates two things. The first is that Emperor Jiajing should not have exposed his whereabouts carelessly; the second is that yellow silk is not as effective as white silk. If the court ladies used white silk at that time, Emperor Jiajing might have died.

In the forty-eighth year of Ming Wanli (AD 1620), after the death of Jiajing's grandson, Emperor Wanli, the prince Zhu Changluo came to the throne as Emperor Taichang. Just ten days after the enthronement ceremony, the thirty-eight-year-old strong man fell ill. He took the imperial doctor away and took a pair of medicines given by the eunuch Cui Wensheng, but the diarrhea was so bad that he couldn't even put on his trousers, and passed out on the toilet. He heard that Li Kezhuo, who is equivalent to the current chief of protocol, Honglusi Cheng, has a magic medicine. He got some red pills from Mount Emei in his early years, so he begged to eat three of them. After this Li Kezhuo brought the pills into Qianqing Palace, he really gave Emperor Taichang "three pills to feed your mother". I didn't want the emperor to get up first and then lie down after taking the clothes, and died three days later, so he only became emperor for a month. Zhu Youxiao, the apocalyptic emperor who succeeded him, investigated the "red pill case" for a year. In the end, because Emperor Taichang asked for the medicine himself, he had to symbolically punish a few ministers who fed the medicine. Emperor Taichang was the saddest emperor in the Ming Dynasty, and few people still remember that there was a year of Taichang in the Ming Dynasty.

When Zhu Changluo ascended the throne, his son Zhu Youxiao and his favorite concubine Li Xuanshi also moved into the Qianqing Palace. After Zhu Changluo's death, his favorite concubine Li Xuanshi relied on the prince Zhu Youxiao to raise him, so she stayed in Qianqing Palace and lingered. She also blocked Zhu Youxiao's accession to the throne, obviously because she wanted to participate in political affairs. At this time, Zhu Youxiao was already sixteen years old, but he still couldn't make up his mind. Li Xuan asked the eunuch to send a message to the cabinet ministers, saying, "Every day the chapter is played, you must read it first, and then you can read it with me, and you must listen to the government and punish it behind the curtain." The following ministers gave a drumbeat, and carried Zhu Youxiao to the Wenhua Palace in a small sedan chair (that is, the shoulder car) to fight with Li Xuanshi, similar to Cao Cao's coercion of the emperor to order the world. In the end, Li Xuanshi was moved out of the Qianqing Palace to retire in the Renshou Palace, the predecessor of the Compassionate Palace, and Zhu Youxiao immediately ascended the throne and became the Emperor of Tianqi. This matter became a case in the Ming Dynasty, called the Yigong case. This eventful year was the forty-eighth year of Wanli, or the first year of Taichang, and finally declared the first year of Tianqi, which was 1620 AD. There were three reign titles in one year, and it almost caused the Ming Dynasty to listen to politics behind a curtain.

Don't look at Zhu Youjian, Emperor Chongzhen at the end of the Ming Dynasty, who was very diligent and listened to the government almost every day; but he was headstrong and indecisive. In the seventeenth year of Chongzhen (1644 A.D.), King Chuang's troops came to Beijing, and Zhu Youjian wrote his will in Qianqing Palace. He sent the princes to their relatives' homes to hide, and the concubines cut themselves with a piece of white silk, and even stabbed the princess. Finally, I went to the old locust tree on the east slope of Jingdong, hanging from the branches of the oblique branches. In the Ming Dynasty, "the world in two hundred and seventy-seven years, once it is abandoned", this is his suicide note written on the yellow robe before he climbed the tree.

After the Manchu Qing Dynasty entered the customs, the Qianqing Palace was repaired twice at the beginning. In the second year of Shunzhi (1645 A.D.), the emperor refused to live in it. In the thirteenth year of Shunzhi, it was repaired again, and the emperor lived in it. After living there for several years, the rain leaked, and the emperor couldn't live anymore. In the eighth year of Kangxi (1669 A.D.), at the request of Empress Dowager Xiaozhuang, Kangxi moved from Baohe Palace to Qianqing Palace. In addition to sleeping here, Kangxi also worked here. Since then, the Qianqing Palace has changed from a bedroom to a bilingual, political and sleeping palace.

Kangxi is very powerful, he has been in politics for 61 years, and Yangshou is 68 years old. Don't think that Kangxi's foreign affairs are good, but his family affairs are very porridge. Those princes stared at each other with black corns and pinched each other, almost turning the sky upside down. In the end, Yinzhen, the fourth son, Prince Yong, who lived farthest from the palace, was edicted to become Emperor Yongzheng. Kangxi's edict was bilingual in Manchu and Chinese, and there were no simplified characters back then, so the theory of "passing on the throne to the fourteen sons" is purely modern nonsense. At that time, it was the princes who had failed to fight for the throne and their accomplices who fabricated doubts about Yongzheng's succession, and they were all suppressed by Yongzheng. These princes and the remnants of their accomplices have continued to create the confusing words of "fourteen sons passing on the throne" in modern times, which is not worth refuting.

After Kangxi left, his coffin stopped in Qianqing Palace according to the regulations. This is the rule of the Qing Dynasty, and it may be the same in the Ming Dynasty. How many days to stop? Maybe, it's not a multiple of seven days, but it must be longer than seven days, it all depends on how well the Shouhuang Hall or Guande Hall behind Jingshan are prepared. No matter where the emperor left, he had to go back to the Qianqing Palace and lie down for a while so that the new emperor could live in the Qianqing Palace to guard his spirit. After Yongzheng came to power, he somewhat resented his father, complaining that his father's arrangement for his succession was not smooth. Yongzheng was unwilling to guard his father's spirit in his heart, and he refused to live in Qianqing Palace, so he ordered the construction office to build the Hall of Mental Cultivation where they worked as a house to live in. His excuse was that Qianqing Palace was the place where his father lived for 60 years, and he couldn't bear to live there, so he had to go to the Hall of Mental Cultivation to keep his filial piety for 27 months. Keeping filial piety is also very serious. During this period, you can't eat meat and drink, you can only eat vegetarian meals; you can't make out with the concubine, you can only face the wall late at night. As a result, the Qianqing Palace is no longer inhabited, but the emperor's daily office. You see, the Qianqing Palace has been burned several times since it was built to the end of the emperor, and its function is also from the emperor's dual-purpose hall to the emperor's daily government affairs.

Yongzheng felt deeply about the danger of his succession, and was heartbroken. As soon as he came to power, he recruited all the officials in the West Nuan Pavilion of the Qianqing Palace to announce that he would secretly establish a reserve, that is, to hide the successor's name in a box, and then publicly put the box behind the "Upright and Bright" plaque in the Qianqing Palace. Then write another copy, take it with you, and tie it to your side. When he was gone, the ministers went together to take out the box behind the "Fair and Upright" plaque, and then untied the other box from his side, and the person pointed to by the name in the two boxes took over. But what if the names in the two boxes don't match? Yongzheng did not say whether he was carrying the person in the box to take over, and the person in the box behind the "Fair and Bright" plaque followed him. However, this has never happened. From then on, whenever the emperor had many sons, these two caskets would determine the successors. Otherwise, there is no need to comply with this system, except for it. In the second year of Jiaqing, there was a fire at the Qianqing Palace, and the upright and bright plaque was burned. If there was a secret storage box behind it, it must have died with this plaque. However, Jiaqing had just ascended the throne for two years, and it may not be time to secretly establish a reserve, so the back of the plaque is still empty. By the time of Emperor Xianfeng, his only son Zaichun succeeded him as Emperor Tongzhi. Since Emperor Tongzhi, the two empress dowagers, Ci'an in the East Palace and Cixi in the West Palace, listened to the government behind the curtain in the Royal Mental Cultivation Hall. After that, Guangxu and Xuantong were not princes, but relatives chosen by Cixi. Therefore, Tongzhi, Guangxu, and Xuantong did not secretly establish reserves, nor did their names hide behind the "Fair and Bright" plaque. You see, behind the seemingly fair and open "Fair and Bright" plaque is actually hidden the biggest secret of the dynasty, which is very ironic.

Here we can count the five schools and three dynasties in the Forbidden City. The five gates corresponding to the Zhou system are Tiananmen of Gaomen, Duanmen of Kumen, Meridian Gate of Zhimen, Taihe Gate of Yingmen and Qianqing Gate of Lumen. The three dynasties corresponding to the Zhou system are the Taihe Gate of the Outer Dynasty (renamed to the Qianqing Gate in the Qing Dynasty), the Taihe Palace of the Zhi Dynasty, and the Qianqing Palace of the Yan Dynasty.

(to be continued)