Corner towers (Jialolou)
At the four corners of the high wall were built corner towers (in 1420, the creation of the Forbidden City). They were rebuilt during the Qing Dynasty (1644-1911). As part of the Forbidden City, they served as defensive towers in the same way as the rampart and the ditch. They rest on at their bases on a Buddhist building surrounded by stone columns. Here is the legend to their subjects. Zhudi, Emperor Yongle of the Ming Dynasty, ordered the construction of these 4 towers, each with 9 beams, 18 posts and 72 edges. The chief commander of the project brought together all the carpenters and gave them three months to fulfill this mission.
The problem was that the work required was really complex, as no one had done so. Worried, a carpenter went to meet an old man who was selling locusts and bought him a locust cage. To his surprise, this delicate cage had 9 beams, 18 posts and 72 bones, so the brave carpenter used it as a model to propose the scheme of the tower. It is said that the old man was the father of builders, Luban. This is certainly not true. However, the four corner towers of the Forbidden City have the flexibility of traditional wooden structure constructions and form a skilful combination between decoration and defensive function of the building. You can also see on this subject the architecture of the Forbidden City, there is a chapter on these 72 beams.
Back to the list of the pavilions of the forbidden city