Wednesday, July 21, 2010

The Forbidden City

The Forbidden City was the seat of supreme power for 24 emperors of the Ming and Qing dynasties from 1416 to 1911. The palace was "forbidden" in the sense that, aside from members of the imperial household, no one could enter without an emperor's permission.

This historic wall has nine dragons standing guard. In ancient China, nine was a prestigious number.

I never anticipated the vastness of the place -- 980 buildings covering nearly 8 million square feet. It's listed by UNESCO as the largest collection in the world of preserved, ancient wooden structures.

There are countless hand-carved marble terraces and balustrades:

The edge of each roof is topped with an emperor leading mythical creatures that guard against evil. The more figures, the more important the building:

Here's a closeup shot to show you some detail of a typical building:

Judy Kent, field representative to Mayor Bogaard, and I posed with a Pasadena Star-News at one of the ornate doorways. Red symbolizes good fortune. You may see this shot in the paper one of these days!

Judy took a ceiling shot for me:


Anonymous said...

Oh Ann, you are making me homesick. Maybe I can take a vacation from my furloughed city job and go back to Beijing this summer:-)))

pasadenapio said...

If you do, Anon, I hope you'll blog about it!

Pasadena Adjacent said...

Sooo ornate! I wonder if (in that last photo) the material is wood or tile or cloisonne? Beautiful

Petrea said...

It's magnificent. I hope to visit there someday.

pasadenapio said...

Liz, it'a wood.

Petrea, find a way!

c said...

What I like about the Forbidden City is its yellow-glazed roof tiles, which look like gold bars. It's best to catch a glimpse of it when the sun is rising in the morning because the light makes the roof so shiny.