January 28 - February 3, 2018: Issue 345


Hall of Preserved Harmony.


By George Repin

The Forbidden City is a Palace complex in Central Beijing.  Once the home of the emperors and their households, as well as the ceremonial and political centre of Chinese Government for nearly 500 years, it was out of bounds to all but the highest officials for centuries.  It is now open to the public.

Gate of Supreme Harmony.

The palace is an example of traditional Chinese palatial architecture and is listed by UNESCO as the largest collection of preserved ancient wooden structures in the world. In 1987 it was declared a World Heritage Site.

Hall of Supreme Harmony.

Covering an area of 250 acres the Imperial palace is surrounded by a wide moat and is protected by a wall 35 feet high.

Ground Plan of The Forbidden City.

The grounds are divided into two sections.  The first section is made up of the three Ceremonial Palaces which are large halls from which the emperors conducted important state ceremonies. It is approached after entering through the Tian An Men Gate and the Tuan Men Gate to reach the largest gate in the complex – the Meridian Gate – which gives entry to the grounds of the Inner Palace, The rear part of the complex is composed of three main palaces, a few smaller “east” and “west” palaces and the Imperial Gardens.  In this setting the emperors divided their time between affairs of state and their families.  The palace was a complex of 980 buildings with 9,000 rooms which housed the emperor, his consort, other wives, concubines, eunuchs, ministers, favoured court officials and thousands of artisans and servants.

In the Imperial Garden.

The complex is now a museum with over a million rare and valuable works of art in the permanent collection.  However, this is not the totality of the items which were in the Forbidden City at the time of the emperors. When it was apparent during the Chinese Civil War that a Communist victory was imminent the Nationalist Government of Chiang Kai-shek shipped 13,491 boxes of the pick of the artefacts to Taiwan.  2,972 boxes are still housed in the National Palace Museum in Taipei where they are on a rotating display in a purpose built gallery.

Bronze head of Dragon.

Dragon statue.

Bronze deer and bronze urn.

Guardian golden lion.

Days could be spent in exploring the Forbidden City marveling at the beauty of the buildings, the lavishness of their decoration, the artefacts spread throughout the precinct and the displays in the museum. The accompanying photographs cannot do justice to the magnificence of the Forbidden City.   

Decorative glazed wall plaque.

Decorative glazed wall plaque.

Decorative glazed wall plaque.

(Photographs by George Repin in 1984 and 2007)
In the Imperial Garden.

Previous Reflections by George Repin 

The Nineteen Thirties  Remembering Rowe Street  The Sydney Push  Saturday Night at the Movies  Shooting Through Like A Bondi Tram  A Stop On The Road To Canberra  City Department Stores - Gone and Mostly Forgotten  An Australian Icon - thanks to Billy Hughes  Crossing The Pacific in the 1930s  Hill End  The Paragon at Katoomba  Seafood In Sydney  How Far From Sydney?  Cockatoo Island Over The Years  The Seagull at the Melbourne Festival in 1991  Busby's Bore  The Trocadero In Sydney  Cahill's restaurants Medical Pioneers in Australian Wine Making  Pedal Power and the Royal Flying Doctor Service  Pambula and the Charles Darwin Connection  Gloucester and the Barrington Tops  A Millenium Apart  Have You Stopped to Look?  Gulgong  Il Porcellino  Olympia  Durham Hall  Sargent's Tea Rooms Pie Shops and Street Photographers The Ballet Russes and Their Friends in Australia  Hotels at Bondi  Alma Ata Conference - 1978 Keukenhof - 1954 The Lands Department Building and Yellowblock Sandstone  The Goroka Show - 1958  A Gem On The Quay  Staffa  The Matson Line and Keepsake Menus Kokeshi Dolls  The Coal Mine At Balmain  The Hyde Park Barracks  The Changing Faces Of Sydney From Pounds and Pence to Dollars and Cents Nell Tritton and Alexander Kerensky  Making A Difference In Ethiopia William Balmain  J C Bendrodt and Princes Restaurant Azzalin Orlando Romano and Romano's Restaurant  Waldheim  Alcohol in Restaurants Before 1955  King Island Kelp  The Mercury Theatre   Around Angkor - 1963   Angkor Wat 1963  Costumes From the Ballets Russe Clifton at Kirribilli  Chairman Mao's Personal Physician  The Toby Tavern The MoKa at Kings Cross  The Oceaographic  Museum  in Monaco  The Island of Elba  Russian Fairy Tale Plates  Meteora  Souda Bay War Cemetery Barrow, Alaska  Cloisonné  Tripitaka Koreana Minshuku The Third Man Photographs and Memories  Not A Chagall!  Did You Listen? Did You Ask?  Napier (Ahuriri, Maori) New Zealand  Borobudur  Ggantija Temples Plumes and Pearlshells  Murano  University of Padua  Ancient Puebloe Peoples - The Anasazi   Pula  The Gondolas of Venice Cinque Terre  Visiting the Iban David The Living Desert Bryce Canyon National Park   Aphrodisias   The Divine Comedy Caodaism  Sapa and local Hill People  A Few Children  Cappadocia  Symi Jean-Marie Tjibaou Cultural Centre   Aboriginal Rock Art on Bigge Island    ANZAC Cove (Ari Burnu) 25 April, 1997  Hotere Garden Oputae  Children of the Trobriand Islands  Page Park Market - Rabaul  Rabual   Kotor, Montenegro   Galleries of Photographs I   Lascaux  Galleries of Photographs II   The Cathedral of St. James – Šibenik, Croatia  Ivan Meštrović  - Sculptor   Delphi   Gallery of Photographs III  The Handicrafts of Chiang Mai Raft Point  San Simeon - "Hearst Castle"  Floriade - The Netherlands - 1982  Russian New Year  Mycenae  "Flightseeing" Out Of Anchorage Alaska  The White Pass and Yukon Route  Totem Poles  Tivkin Cemetery  Krka National Park - Croatia   Tavistock Square and the BMA  Orthodox Easter  Wieliczka Salt Mine  A Walk on Santorini  Indonesian Snapshots Ephesus - The Library of Celsus  Ephesus - Some Places Of Interest  Waimea Canyon and the Kalalau Valley United Nations Headquarters 1958  A Miscellany of Flower Images Gardens Bath St. David's In Wales   Zion National Park Nicholas Himona - Artist  Kraków  Lilianfels  Collonges-La-Rouge  Gingerbread Houses   Cape Sounion   Delos  Wroclaw  Colonial Williamsburg  Gruyères   Strasbourg  Coventry Cathedral  The Roman Theatre at Aspendos  Turkish Carpets The Duomo of Orvieto  Rovinj  The City Walls of Dubrovnik Monaco - Snapshots   Bonifacio, Corsica  Autumn in New England USA  The Great Ocean Road  Pompeii  Didyma  Lawrence Hargrave 1850-1915  The Corinth Canal  Malta  Snapshots of Amsterdam Café Central - Vienna 

Copyright George Repin 2018. All Rights Reserved.