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: