Edwin Moise

Photos Taken in China, July 21, 2002

Beijing: The Imperial Palace (1)

The palace of the Qing Dynasty emperors is a major tourist attraction in the center of Beijing, immediately north of Tiananmen Square.

The Gate of Heavenly Peace (Tiananmen) is the gate the emperors used to enter or leave the palace complex. After the revolution of 1949, the new Communist rulers of China created a huge open space in front of the gate, Tiananmen Square, which could be used for parades and rallies, which they would watch from on top of the gate. This is one of the few locations where a large portrait of Chairman Mao is still on display.

The building above the gate.

The rows of little figures on roof corners were decorative, and symbolic statements of rank (only the emperor could have a row of as many little figures as this), but also they had a practical function, protecting from corrosion the nails that held the roof tiles in place.

A shorter, somewhat unusual row of little roof figures.

I had read that around 1980, there had been garish and unattractive restoration work done on some of China's great cultural treasures. This looks like it might be an example of what the author was referring to.

Additional photos of palace complex

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Copyright © 2002, Edwin E. Moïse. Revised August 29, 2002.