故宫 Forbidden City

In the same way I find the golden ornamentation and murky heights of St. Peter’s Basilica to perfectly represent the Catholic Church of the Middle Ages, the panoptic and humbling effect of the Forbidden City’s immense scale and unending symmetry epitomize, to me, the long enduring system of imperial China. Construction of the Forbidden City began in 1406 when the Yongle Emperor relocated the capital from Nanjing to Beijing, so it’s strange to realize that the complex only contains about 1/6th of China’s imperial rule. Since I’d last visited the Starbucks had been closed in 2007 due to controversy. You can see in the sequence of these photos that a quick rainstorm swept through while I was there, clearing out the place and briefly creating murky reflections on the large swathes of paving stones. Unfortunately, 文渊阁 Wenyuan Chamber (one of the 7 libraries constructed to house the 《四库全书》 Siku Quanshu, an important subject of my thesis) wasn’t open to the public.

 

P1330880no3P1330898P1330911    P1330916P1330920    P1330914P1330930panosmallP1330952P1330977P1330997no2    P1340006P1340010P1340015P1340026    P1340031P1340045P1340047    P1340057P1340051Above:  Nine-Dragon Screen’s sneaky wooden tile. Story goes, carved to replace a tile smashed during installation, saving the lives of the responsible craftsmen.

 

P1340065no2    P1340091P1340073    P1340097Just an unbelievable amount of detail, on even the most minor structures. Also, modern technology flareups.

 

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