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.


Last time, it was said that there were "five gates and three dynasties" in Zhouli's palace regulations. After entering the Meridian Gate, you can see four of the five gates, which is also the first of the three dynasties, and that is the Taihe Gate. The gate of Taihe is the gate of response among the five gates of the Zhou system, the gate of response.

In front of Taihemen is Taihemen Square.

Under the five bridges on Taihemen Square is the Neijinshui River, which bends. These five bridges are of course called Neijinshui Bridge. The middle one is the Yudao Bridge, the two sides are the Wanggong Bridge, and the outermost one is the Grade Bridge, as the name suggests, needless to say.

Although the Neijinshui River is curved, it is not blind. It is bent into the shape of a bow. The five bridges are like five arrows on the bow, ready to shoot at the five openings behind the Meridian Gate at any time. Look at it this way, it's a bit of a strongman's ruthlessness here, huh? But you can also regard it as a small bridge and flowing water, so it is quite poetic, right? Red walls, golden tiles and gray cliffs, small bridges and flowing water, and blue bricks with double eaves and stone fences. The imperial style, Zhou Li is like this.

To the west of the square is the Youshun Gate, which was renamed Xihe Gate in the Qianlong period of the Qing Dynasty. Since then, Xihe is a place of harmony and happiness. Xihe Gate is a house-style gate with five rooms and three openings, with yellow glazed tiles and single eaves resting on the top of the mountain, with bucket arches and beams. The door leaf of the couch is solid, and the sill wall and partition window between the tips. It was destroyed by fire in the 23rd year of Qianlong in the Qing Dynasty (1758 A.D.) and rebuilt that year. What you see now is what it looked like after the rebuilding at that time.

Standing at Xihe Gate and looking at the Taihe Gate Square, it is quite large, with a full 26,000 square meters. In Chinese architecture, a square is called a courtyard. Chinese courtyards are usually enclosed and surrounded by houses or walls. The square can be open, such as a city square. The courtyards in the Forbidden City are very large, not comparable to common folk houses, so I would rather call it a "square". The courtyard of the private house is called the court, and the courtyard of the imperial palace is called the court, so there is the saying of the imperial court.

On the east side of the square opposite Xihe Gate is Zuoshun Gate, which was renamed Xiehe Gate in the Shunzhi period of the Qing Dynasty until now. Concord also means harmony and harmony. The Xiehe Gate was burned and rebuilt in the Ming Dynasty, and the last time it was in the Tianqi period, so although what we see now is not Zhu Di's, it is still produced in the Ming Dynasty. The shape is the same as Xihe Gate, but there is a solid wall between the ends.

From the picture above, the entrance and exit on the east side of the Xiehe Gate is not a walk, but a cobbled road. In fact, the west side is also the same. This path is not flat stones or bricks, but oblique bricks, with one edge and one edge, which is good for preventing slipping. This kind of cobbled way is called 礓苏碁道, and the horse path in the Meridian Gate is also like this. The bridle paths of all the ancient city walls in China are like this. Are there any bridle paths in the foreign city walls? There should be, but I have never seen all the castles abroad, or maybe I just look at the city and don't understand it.

The Xihe Gate is the same as the platform under the Xiehe Gate, which is very high. I tried it with my hands, and it was about 2 meters long. This platform runs through the entire side wall of the square, and on the platform is a verandah. In the Ming Dynasty, a group of historians who recorded the history of the emperor wrote in these verandahs. They mainly recorded the emperor's daily activities, which are called "daily notes".

There are also turrets in Taihemen Square, which are much simpler than the turrets of the palace wall, but still very beautiful. A square pavilion with yellow glazed tiles and double eaves on the top of Xieshan Mountain.

The Taihe Gate is very powerful.

Look at the gate hall of the Gate of Supreme Harmony.

The Gate of Supreme Harmony sits on a nine-foot-high white stone Sumeru seat, with platforms in front and back. In the middle of the platform are three-way handrails, and in the middle is the imperial road. The Danbi stone in the middle of the imperial road is engraved with auspicious clouds and five dragons. The steps on both sides of the imperial road are for the ministers to walk on. There are white marble handrails on both sides of the steps and around the platform. The handrails of the Taihe Gate are called "Chan rod railings". The uppermost part is the Zen rod, and the solid one below is the upper and lower squares and the Chinese board in the middle; , there is a relief of Yunlong on the top of the Wangzhu. The handrails of Taihe Gate are relatively simple, and there are no complicated carvings on the railings and columns.

The Gate of Supreme Harmony is a house-style gate, the largest house-style gate in the world. The gate hall is nine rooms wide and three rooms deep, with eaves and corridors at the front and back. The structure of brackets and beams is lifted, with yellow glazed tiles and double eaves on the top of the mountain, and seven ridge beasts. There are seven bright rooms in the middle, three of which are open, and one on each side is closed. Liang Fang is painted with double dragons and seals. This is the gate hall with the highest specification in China. Like the "Widden Gate" plaque, the "Taihe Gate" plaque was originally in both Manchu and Han languages. When Yuan Shikai wanted to become emperor, the Manchu script was removed, leaving only the Chinese script. It was written by Wang Faliang, a calligrapher in the late Qing Dynasty.

There are also handrails on the east and west sides of the platform. These steps do not even leave the ministers, but the maids and eunuchs.

Look at the large door leaf of Taihe Gate, which is also a real couch door, with ninety-nine and eighty-one gold-plated door nails.

Gilt door nails.

The door nail is a component on the solid couch door. The solid couch doors of the Forbidden City are very thick, with a frame in the middle and door panels on both sides. The door nails are used to fix the door panels to the frame to prevent loosening. There are also folk solid couch doors without a frame, and the two door panels are directly welded together with pins. The number of nails on the gate represents the level of the mansion inside the gate. The gate of the imperial palace has nine rows and nine columns, the gate of the prince has seven rows and nine columns, the gate of the palace has seven rows and seven columns, and the following is at most five rows and five columns.

Look at this ornament on the door leaf, it is very gorgeous, it is called Ruyi Yunlong Xizhu gilt lead forged leaf, and there are gilt door nails on the leaf.

The door knocker on the door leaf is also gilt, and the monster on the door knocker is not a tiger, but the seven sons of the dragon called Bi An (Nian Bian).

The door leaf is installed on the back golden pillar, so the front hall is very large.

under the eaves.

There are several bronze ware such as incense burners standing on the ground in front of Taihe Gate, the most famous ones are the two bronze lions in front of the gate.

There are a total of six pairs of bronze lions in the Forbidden City. The pair in front of the Taihe Gate is the largest, and it is the only one without gilding, and the only pair with ears supported. This pair of bronze lions is a full specification, from bottom to top there is a white marble Xumi seat, a bronze base, and then the bronze lion. There are very exquisite carvings on the Xumizuo, the base and the brocade. The bronze lion itself is also very exquisite. This pair of bronze lions is completely different from the other five pairs, and it is very likely that they are original objects from the Ming Dynasty. There are no lions in China, but the ancients saw them in the Western Regions and said, "Suanni, lions also eat tigers and leopards." Legend has it that Suan Ni (Nian Suanni) is the fifth son of the dragon. He doesn't like sports, but likes to smoke and often sits on the incense burner. During the Eastern Han Dynasty, envoys from the Western Regions brought lions as tribute. It is said that lions were used as tribute four times. The lion in front of the door is equivalent to the door god, which means to protect the safety of the house owner. Lions in front of the door usually appear in pairs, a man and a woman, with the man on the left and the woman on the right. The left is the upper hand, and when facing south, the left hand is the east, and the east is the upper hand. No matter how the folks interpret it, the lion in front of the palace should say this: the male lion holding the hydrangea symbolizes mastering the country; the female lion stroking the cub symbolizes the prosperity of the offspring.

In addition to the bronze wares, there are other objects in front of Taihe Gate. There is an ashlar beside the bronze lion on the right hand.

This is a white marble box called Shikui (Niangui). There is a white marble cloud pattern base under it, a cover on the box, and a dragon button on the cover.

Next to the bronze lion on the left is a stone pavilion.

At the bottom is a two-story foundation with a stampede in front, and above it is a xumizuo or "building", on which is a white marble pavilion imitating wood, with a single eaves and veranda roof, which is broken.

In ancient China, there have been records of the book treasure system since the Han Dynasty. The book is the canonized book, and the treasure is the emperor's seal. When there is a honorary title or canonization ceremony, you must first prepare the imperial edict, which is the book; you must also prepare the imperial seal, which is the treasure. A seal is affixed to the book during the ceremony, which is called a seal, and a book without a seal is invalid. The Han white marble box and square pavilion in front of the Taihe Gate are called Baokuiche Pavilion, which are original objects of the Ming Dynasty and should have been erected by Zhu Di. There were many ceremonies in the Taihe Gate in the Ming Dynasty, including the imperial gate hearing and various canonization ceremonies. The book treasure system is a part of the emperor's supreme power, and the Bao Kui Book Pavilion in front of the Taihe Gate is a symbol of the emperor's power in the Ming Dynasty. According to the ancient system, the position of the treasure and the book in the ceremony is the east book and the west treasure, which is the case of the treasure book pavilion in front of the gate of Taihe. The imperial palace of the Yuan Dynasty also once had a Treasure Pavilion, but it is said that the location is just the opposite, indicating that the Mongols have not yet fully understood Chinese etiquette. The Baokuiding Pavilion in front of Taihe Gate has been here since the Ming Dynasty to the Qing Dynasty, and the Pavilion was repaired in the Qing Dynasty. Although the Manchus tried their best to learn Han culture, they didn't know much about the system of book treasures. Emperor Jiaqing of the Qing Dynasty once asked his ministers, "What is this?" The ministers replied, "decorate ears". In the Qing Dynasty, the canonization ceremony was not held at the Taihe Gate, and the imperial gate was moved to the Qianqing Gate. The Taihe Gate lost its function as a court gate and became a decoration.

The Gate of Supreme Harmony was called Fengtian Gate in Zhu Di's palace. One hundred and forty years later, it was renamed Huangji Gate in the 41st year of Jiajing (1562 A.D.) of Ming Shizong Zhu Houcong (Nian Cong). What happened this year that Emperor Jiajing changed the name of Fengtianmen? In the thirty-sixth year of Jiajing’s reign, the Forbidden City was on fire, and Fengtianmen and the first three halls were burned down. It was not until the 40th year of Jiajing’s reign that Fengtianmen and the first three halls were rebuilt. In the 40th year of Jiajing, Qi Jiguang led the Qi family army to fight against Japanese pirates, winning nine battles and nine victories, which is called "Taizhou Great Victory". The great victory in Taizhou quelled the Japanese plague in Zhejiang, and Jiajing Emperor Longyan was overjoyed. The worry of joy is Yan Song (Nian Song), the chief assistant of the cabinet in the court. Not to mention that Song installed relatives in the court as officials, he actually said directly to the emperor when the emperor refused to approve, "This is my relative, let him pick me up." Ben, I can only rest in peace when I die." Isn't this clearly forcing the palace? Jiajing was embarrassed at the time, so he agreed to Yan Song and let his relative become an official. Looking back, the more Jiajing thought about it, the more useless he became. Within a few months, he announced that Yan Song's relatives had ordered him to "retire from office", that is, to resign. This relative took back the emperor's edict ordering him to be an official and showed it to Yan Song, but Yan Song didn't know what it meant! There is no way, in the new year, Jiajing secretly ordered the cabinet minister Xu Jie to go to the rivers and lakes to find an old man to perform Fushi (Nian Ji) in the palace. On this day, Jiajing Xuan Yansong entered the palace, and at the same time asked the old Taoist to sing the Fushi opera by his side. When Yan Song went up to the hall, Jiajing ordered him to read the shaman script, and Yan Song read: "Today there is a treacherous minister playing something." Jiajing pretended to be puzzled, and then shouted: "The guard company took this thief Yan Song down"! After Yan Song was executed, Jiajing believed that strict laws and disciplines were needed, and no one was allowed to despise the emperor any more. He then renamed Fengtian Gate, which had just been rebuilt, Huangji Gate, and Fengtian Hall was also renamed Huangji Hall, and told all the officials, my emperor Lao Tzu is the biggest, and you all be honest. The arrest of Yan Song is a folk joke. In history, Yan Song was sent home for retirement in the 40th year of Jiajing, and his son Yan Shifan, Minister of the Ministry of Industry, was accused and beheaded in the 43rd year of Jiajing.

Fengtianmen is the gate of the imperial palace, that is, the Yingmen, called Chaomen. According to Zhu Yuanzhang's "Ancestral Precepts", every third, sixth, and ninth day, when the fifth drum is sounded, the civil and military ministers in Beijing will gather outside the Meridian Gate to line up and report their names. As soon as the bell rang, the Meridian Gate opened. It was five o'clock in the morning. Civil and military ministers had to walk into the Meridian Gate quietly in two groups with low eyebrows, and stood on both sides of the Emperor Dan under the Fengtian Gate. Coughing, spitting, and blowing your nose are not allowed during this period. If anyone makes a strange sound, the picket team will call the censor to record it and store it in Huangshicheng (also read it) for future use. The emperor actually came out from the Qianqing Palace at five o'clock and walked forward. Because it was far away, he arrived at Fengtianmen later than the ministers. When the emperor was about to arrive, an imperial whip master blew his whip three times. The emperor sits on the chair that has been arranged in advance. This process is called "going to the imperial throne", which is very important. The officials had to bow to the emperor once and three times in unison, and at the last kowtow, the emperor had to shout "Thanks for your hard work" or "Your servants have worked hard" in time to show his sympathy for his courtiers. When saluting, officials from Honglu Temple (Honglu Temple) presided over it, just shouting chant. Honglu Temple is one of the nine temples like Dali Temple, which is good at etiquette. At the end of the ceremony, the officials of Honglu Temple stood in front and read out the award order. The recipients had to walk out of the Meridian Gate and turn around to thank the Meridian Gate. Afterwards, as soon as the officials of Honglu Temple shouted "Start playing", the foremen of each yamen began to play in order. The emperor either approved, or refused, or instructed, or scolded. After everything was played, the whip master blew his whip three more times. The emperor got up and drove back to the palace. This process is the early court, and the daily morning court must be recorded by the censor and stored in Huangshicheng. When Zhu Yuanzhang was in Nanjing, he went to court early in this way, and after Zhu Di moved his capital to Beijing, he followed the instructions of his ancestors and continued to do so. There have been historians in China since the Xia Dynasty, but I have not seen the history recorded by them. The oracle bone inscriptions include "Zuochu" and "History", which means that there have been words to record history since the Shang Dynasty. The early dynasty of Fengtianmen was the so-called "Yumen listening to the government", and the Ming Dynasty has been here. In the early Qing Dynasty, it was also the Fengtianmen, which had been renamed Taihemen, where the imperial gate ruled. Since Kangxi, it was moved to Qianqingmen in the early dynasty. The last emperor's early dynasty in Chinese history was on the 25th day of the twelfth lunar month in the third year of Xuantong (February 12, 1912) in the Hall of Mental Cultivation, when the Empress Dowager Longyu ordered the Qing Emperor to abdicate.

If the emperor feels the wind and cold occasionally, or the stars were unlucky last night, he may skip an early morning visit the next day. The emperor has to notify the ministers early in the morning, but there is no regulation on when to notify. If the emperor had premeditated, he must have notified in advance, and the ministers would not have to gather outside the Meridian Gate early. It was often when the ministers went to the Fengtian Gate that they were notified by Honglu Temple that "today the court will be exempted", and the ministers could immediately turn around and go home early. During the Zhengde period, Zhu Houzhao, Emperor Wuzong of the Ming Dynasty, was indulging in government affairs and indulging in entertainment in the Leopard House. One night drinking exceeded the standard, and the next morning I didn't wake up from the hangover. The ministers stood under the Fengtian Gate and waited for the morning court. They couldn't wait for the Emperor Zhengde. Until the sun was about to set in the afternoon, the emperor woke up and said that he would be exempted from court today. The ministers stood outside the gate for a day, hungry, so they scattered and turned around to run outside the Meridian Gate. This caused congestion at the entrance of the Meridian Gate. One of the old generals was sore and his legs were numb after standing for a day, so he couldn't help plopping down in the opening. The colleagues who rushed up from behind rushed home to eat hot tofu, and each of them kicked, trampling the general on the ground to death. You said, the lethality of this ancient stampede accident is no worse than that of the Shanghai Bund?

After Shunzhi entered the palace, Huangji Gate was renamed "Taihe Gate". Taihe is also called "Dahe", and "Book of Changes" has the meaning of "protecting harmony and harmony, but benefiting Zhen".

The left and right hands of the Taihe Gate are side by side, and there is a commonly called side gate. The right hand side is called the Zhendu Gate. Zhendu Gate is Zhu Di's Xuanzhi Gate. Because this is the door in front of the right road hall, it is also called the front right door.

The front of Zhendu is five rooms wide and two rooms deep, with yellow glazed tiles and single eaves resting on the top of the mountain, with a door open in the middle. The roof is a structure of bucket arches and beams, and the beams are painted with double dragons and seals. The door leaf of the real couch is installed on the central pillar, so the front and rear gate halls are the same size.

The left-hand side of Taihe Gate is called Zhaode Gate, which is the same shape as Zhendu Gate.

The Supreme Harmony Gate is for the emperor and the queen, and the ministers have to go through the Zhendu Gate on the right and the Zhaode Gate on the left when they go to court. The verandah room near the Zhendu Gate was the imperial treasury in the Qing Dynasty, and it was guarded day and night every day. In the Qing Dynasty, there was a tragic Emperor Guangxu. When he was eighteen years old in the fourteenth year of Guangxu (AD 1888), the Empress Dowager Cixi arranged a marriage for him. This relative was really given by Cixi. Cixi chose her niece, Guangxu's cousin, named Yehenala Jingfen, who was later Empress Longyu. The auspicious day calculated according to the almanac is the first month of the 15th year of Guangxu, and the wedding has been planned since October of the 14th year. All kinds of silks and satins, gold and silver jewelry, boxes and cages, bed drawers, rice bowl toilets and so on are stored in the imperial warehouse of Zhendumen. On a windy and moonlit night in the twelfth lunar month of the fourteenth year, the old army guarding the imperial treasury fell asleep by the fire. The roaring north wind blows the ever-burning lamp at night, and the lamp oil inside spills out and ignites the Zhendu Gate. Under the turbulence and fire, Zhendu Gate, Taihe Gate, and Zhaode Gate were all burned down, and all the wedding goods prepared by Guangxu were also burned. Seeing that the emperor is about to get married in more than a month, and the bride has to enter the palace through the Supreme Harmony Gate, it must be too late to build a new gate, and Jingfen cannot enter the palace on scorched earth. There is no way, the Military Aircraft Office secretly played such and such, the imperial approval, and finally built a fake Supreme Harmony Gate with paper shells and linen on the foundation of the Supreme Harmony Gate. On the day of the wedding, Jingfen's sedan chair was covered with red silk, and she couldn't see the scenery and wind and grass outside, so she didn't know if she could smell the smell of "cutting firewood and burning charcoal". The final wedding ceremony was quite successful, but Guangxu couldn't get out of Cixi's shadow since the fire. The reconstruction of the three gates started in June of the fifteenth year of Guangxu, and was completed in the 20th year of Guangxu. The Taihe Gate, Zhendu Gate and Zhaode Gate that we see now are the buildings rebuilt this time, and it has been more than a hundred years ago.

The fire at Zhendu Gate in the 14th year of Guangxu’s reign was really unacceptable. In the Ming Dynasty, a fire tank was set up here. You can see in the picture above that there is an iron tank on both sides of the south side of Zhendu Gate, commonly known as Menhai. It means that there is the sea in front of the door. Step up and take a look.

The words "Daming Hongzhi four years" are clearly engraved on it. Hongzhi is the year name of Ming Xiaozong Zhu Youtang (Niansupport). The fourth year of Hongzhi is 1491 AD. This iron vat has been 530 years ago. After so many years of wind and rain, although it looks rusty, the handwriting is quite clear, which shows that the iron smelting and casting technology at that time was very noble. Even though there were two iron vats filled with water in front of Zhendu Gate, they still couldn't save the fire.

Taihemen Square at sunset.

The sun is shining brightly in the west, the light is gradually dimming, and looking back at the millennium emperor's shadow is dim.

The bronze lion also looked at the sunset and sighed.

The sunset on the west wall is hard to chase, and the lion will never return if it calls again. The survivors of the nobles are sad, and the world has been replaced by brocade brocades.

The golden light shines on the white base.

The blue sky is as warm as washed white jade, and the golden light is as cold as water and green shadows.

The golden light shone on the Supreme Harmony Gate.

Bronze lions and golden halls with red walls, stone steps with yellow tiles and painted squares, blue bricks with Danbi Yunlong. The setting sun is dark, the tourists are scattered, and the emperors of the Ming and Qing Dynasties are without companions.

Standing at the Gate of Supreme Harmony and looking towards the Meridian Gate.

The five phoenixes of the Zhu family still exist today, but the flags and banners of the Qing Dynasty have no soul. The Forbidden City used to be the royal palace, but now the people live in dusk.

Standing on the Neijinshuihe Bridge to see the Gate of Supreme Harmony.

The curved Jinshui River and the shining white jade bridge. Looking at the Golden Palace from a distance, tourists gather in the evening.

As the sun sets, tourists enjoy taking pictures under the last sunset.

The palace of the Qing Dynasty held up the mobile phone, and the dark man held the camera. They are all chasing beauties in the world, not afraid of the yellow wind to shoot the dusk.

The visit to the Forbidden City is about to end for the day, and the radio is urging tourists to leave. The security guards outflanked the last tourist kneeling on the ground to take pictures.

The gate of the palace will be closed, we will rest, and you will not leave even if you leave.

Don't be afraid of ten thousand, just in case. There was still a photographer who slipped through the net and finally took pictures of the lion.

A building, a lion, and a villain are idiots.

Waiting for the Ming Dynasty, waiting for the Ming Dynasty to visit the imperial palace again and show off.

(to be continued)