The Way I See It

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The Forbidden City

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It was sprinkling the morning that we were to visit the Forbidden City, and the forecast was not encouraging. But because this was my last day in Beijing, we went anyway, arriving to sparser than normal crowds (thank you, rain!). We got our tickets and made our way in. After a few minutes, guess what? It stopped raining!


This pic represents my fascination with the imperial doors, officially known as “gates”. Massive wood structures held together with, and protected by, giant nail heads, each door holds exactly 81 nails – 9 across and 9 down. The number 9, as I was to find out, had a magical significance. In ancient Chinese numerology, odd numbers were regarded as masculine and even numbers as feminine. Nine, the largest single-digit number, was seen as a representation of the Ultimate Masculine and was therefore symbolic of the supreme sovereignty of the emperor.

 

Old Water Spout at The Forbidden City

A crusty old water spout stands out amidst a row of cleaner reproduction units.

 

Another thing that fascinated me were the giant imperial lions that stood watch at each gate. The more important the building, the larger and more ferocious the beast, it seemed.

 

The Sea of Flagstones

While wandering the fringes of the palace buildings looking for the collection of classic art (thanks, Tien Hui, for the heads up!), I spied this young couple, chilling and watching the crowds go by. Before them is the Sea of Flagstones – the main courtyard where large gatherings and ceremonies – up to 100,000 subjects strong – were held. Five h-u-n-d-r-e-d years of history. Wow.

 

Written by xinapray

October 9, 2010 at 12:48 am

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