Forbidden City
Hall of Supreme Harmony (2)

The Forbidden City, Beijing, China

The Hall of Supreme Harmony, part 2

太和殿 (2)

As a symbol of imperial power, the sandalwood throne, standing on a two-meter high platform, is located in the center of the hall and encircled by six gold-lacquered pillars painted with dragons.

The golden throne is carved with dragons all over. Around the throne stand two bronze cranes, an elephant-shaped incense burner and tripods in the shape of mythical beasts.

The hall is heavily painted with dragons and has an aura of solemnity and mystery.




The emperor's throne, which is surrounded by various art treasures of symbolic significance, is in the middle of the hall. Above the throne is a gold painted caisson, or coffered ceiling, with dragon designs.

In the middle of the ceiling is the design of two dragons playing with pearls. The pearls were made of glass and painted with mercury.



The 'XuanYuan Mirror'

From the ceiling hangs a special spherical pearl called the XuanYuan Mirror. This pearl was supposed to be able to distinguish right from wrong. It was also said to be able to detect any usurper of the imperial power; if anyone who was not the descendant of the Emperor Huang Di (the first emperor) usurped the throne, it would drop down and strike him to death.


The warlord Yuan Shikai, who attempted to instate himself as emperor after the forced abdication of the last emperor PuYi, was so afraid that the pearl in the caisson may fall and hit him that he ordered the throne to be moved slightly backward. This is why you see that the throne is not directly under the caisson.


Just imagine the majestic and awesome scene in the past when the emperor sat on the throne, the ministers and all their subordinates kneeling down, kowtowing and chanting aloud "Long Live Your Majesty", with incense burning and the sounds of bells ringing and drums beating in unison!


Below are two views of buildings to the side of the hall as seen from the raised platform that the Hall of Supreme Harmony sits on.


Looking north west from the raised platform.

Looking south from one of the side gates.

Next : The Hall of Complete Harmony

Forbidden City

Forbidden City
: Introduction
Forbidden City : History
Forbidden City : Layout
Forbidden City : Map
Getting there

The Meridian Gate (outside)
The Meridian Gate (inside)
The First Courtyard
The Gate of Supreme Harmony

The Second Courtyard
The Hall of Supreme Harmony (part 1)
The Hall of Supreme Harmony (part 2)
The Hall of Complete Harmony
The Hall of Preserving Harmony

The Large Stone Carving

The Gate of Celestial Purity
The Hall of Celestial Purity
The Hall of Celestial and Terrestrial Union
The Hall of Terrestrial Tranquility
The Imperial Garden
The Imperial Garden (part 2)

The Exhibition Halls
The 9 Dragon Screen
Other Places of Interest

Doorways (part 2)
Decorative Tiles
Beams and Ceilings
Windows and Doors
Walls & Screens

Sunset at the Forbidden City

Beijing Guide

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