Gate of Heavenly purity

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Gate of Heavenly purity


Gate of Heavenly purity (Qianqingmen)

The Gate of Heavenly Purity, called in Chinese Qianqingmen, is on the central North-South axis that divides the Forbidden City into two equal parts, but it is also the gateway separating the outer courtyard from the inner courtyard. It serves as the main entrance to the private estate of the emperor. It dates from the construction of the Forbidden City, between 1407 and 1420, and was rebuilt in 1655. It has arcades surrounding it, as for other pavilions. There are 5 on the length and 3 on the width, the gate being 16 meters high. It has a unique roof and rests on a white marble base 1.5 meters high surrounded by a carved stone balustrade.


Gate of Heavenly purity

Gate of Heavenly purity

At the entrance of this gate the visitor can see two magnificent bronze lions, as there are sometimes in other pavilions. These are a little different, they have piercing eyes and ears folded. Settled under the Qinq (1644-1912) dynasty, their role was to prevent women from entering the outer court (where state affairs were forbidden for women) and courtiers to enter the inner courtyard (which was the private domain of the Emperor). They were a little Cerbers of the Forbidden City. Beside the door there are also two very large bronze vats, very bright. Although decorative, their primary function was to contain as much water as possible to cope with a possible fire. Each of these tanks weighs four tons and contains more than two hundred liters of water. Of the three hundred and eight vats distributed in the Forbidden City, twenty-two are of the same design as these.

In 1644, the first emperor of the Qing Dynasty, Emperor Shunzhi (1644-1661), decided that this door would be unused, but the following emperors rehabilitated it by making it a kind of high reception hall. officials and ministers of state. The latter had to arrive at dawn and kneel while waiting for the Emperor who received them on a temporary throne. He listened to them successively in a very specific order: Heads of the boards of directors of the revenues, the rites, the war, the works and the civil bureau. The decisions were of course taken by the emperor and by him alone. Emperor Kangxi, one of the most effective of the Qing dynasty, ruled for 61 years (1662-1722). It is in this room that he made many important decisions. However, after the reign of Xianfeng (1851-1861), the Gate of Heavenly purity was no longer used.



Gate of Heavenly purity

Gate of Heavenly purity


Vue générale de la Gate of Heavenly purity

Vue générale de la Gate of Heavenly purity


Gate of Heavenly purity

Gate of Heavenly purity



See too:

Back to the list of the pavilions of the forbidden city




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