Forbidden City<>Hall of Celestial and Terrestrial Union

The Forbidden City, Beijing, China

The Hall of Celestial and Terrestrial Union

The Hall of Celestial and Terrestrial Union (JiaoTaiDian), was first built in 1420 and rebuilt in 1655 and 1798. One significance of the name is the desire that the emperor (celestial) and the empress (terrestrial) have a good marriage. This hall resembles the Hall of Complete Harmony (ZhongHeDian) in shape and is its smaller twin. It is the smallest of the three main palaces in the Inner Court.

Usually, empresses would receive formal birthday greetings here. Empresses would also inspect preparations before they went to preside over memorial ceremonies for the Silkworm God and practise sericulture. Emperor ShunZhi's order that eunuchs were to be banned from attending to state affairs was made here.

To the right of the throne, visitors will see an ancient chinese water pot clock - equivalent to an hourglass - and to the left there is a chime clock. These two timers were a reference to the Drum Tower and Bell Tower.

The large chiming clock on the left hand side was built in the Palace in 1798 during the reign of Emperor QianLong and, miraculously, the clock still works. The water clock on the right hand side was built in 1745. It is one of China's most outstanding inventions and dates back about 2,500 years. It wasn't until the mechanical clock was introduced to China after the reign of Emperor QianLong (1736-1795) that the use of the water clock was abandoned.





This hall also holds 25 imperial seals - because Emperor QianLong hoped that the Qing dynasty would last 25 reigns to exceed the East Zhou dynasty, the longest dynasty in China. However history disappointed him, the Qing dynasty only lasted ten reigns.

There is a white tablet at the far end that bears two Chinese characters : 'Wu Wei' - literally, 'to refrain from action' or 'let it be'. This reflects the philosophy of Taoism, a religion which is indigenous to China. The Tao ('the way') taught that we should find and follow our true self and tries to show the beauty of action without effort / struggle.

Taoism is a philosophy that nicely balances rule-based confucianism. However, it was often misused by the feudal rulers as indicating that people should accept their place and to discourage people from taking any action that might disrupt the imperial status quo.




Next : The Hall of Terrestrial Tranquility

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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