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Forbidden City
Gate of Heavenly Purity 乾清门

The Gate of Heavenly Purity 乾清门 (Qiánqīng Mén) is the entrance into the Inner Court. Under the Ming Dynasty, the palaces of the Inner Court were designed as the living quarters of the royal family. When you mount the steps and enter through the center door, you are on a raised path with balustrades that leads to the Palace of Heavenly Purity.

The Gate of Heavenly Purity was erected in 1429 and rebuilt in 1655. It was repaired or rebuilt several times due to damage or fire. The current gate was built under the reign of Jiangqing in 1798. In front of the gate, two lions guard the entrance. The wings are decorated with ceramic flowers and designs symbolizing longevity. During the Qing Dynasty the emperors would have a throne placed in the gate and they would receive general ministers there during morning office hours. Kangxi was especially consistent, arriving promptly at eight in the morning. After audiences, he would then work with his close advisors through most of the day.

China Index >> History of Beijing in Pictures >> Forbidden City >> Gate of Heavenly Purity

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Last update: January 2010
© Marilyn Shea, 2009