|There are eighteen Ding 鼎 arrayed on the steps and terrace of the Hall of Supreme Harmony. The Ding was a cooking vessel developed during the Bronze Age that stood on three legs. Fire could be placed under the Ding to heat the food. Gradually, Ding became ceremonial vessels and were engraved or embossed with elaborate inscriptions and designs. They became a symbol of sacrifice and power.
The eighteen bronze Ding in front of the Hall of Supreme Harmony stand for the eighteen provinces that existed in the Ming Dynasty. They symbolized the power that the emperor held over each and the greatness of his unified power. They were used to burn incense during special ceremonies. Incense is an offering to the heavens.
Last update: January 2010
© Marilyn Shea, 2009