So far we have entered the grand Meridian Gate and crossed the five bridges that span the Inner Golden River and the large first courtyard. Across this courtyard lies the Gate of Supreme Harmony. This marks the start of the Outer Court proper.
However, if one simply divides the Forbidden City into two parts - Outer Court and Inner Court - then we now head into the main part of the Outer Court.
The Outer Court consists of three grand halls sitting on a raised marble terrace. In front of the halls and terrace lies a courtyard and the gate to the Outer Court.
The Gate of Supreme Harmony (TaiHeMen), north of the first courtyard, is the main gate of the Outer Court.
The gate is guarded by a couple of bronze lions which aimed to show imperial dignity. The west one is male, with its front right paw resting on a ball, symbolizing imperial power extended worldwide.
The lioness on the east side has its front left paw on a lion cub, indicating a prosperously growing family and the never-ending secession of the imperial lineage.
The Gate of Supreme Harmony is an important place where emperors' wedding ceremonies were usually held. It leads to the three grand halls of the Outer Court.
One of the two side gates.
Looking back towards WuMen.
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