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Forbidden City
Hall of Union and Peace 交泰殿

On the western side of the Hall of Union and Peace 交泰殿 (Jiāotài Diàn) there is a large chiming clock. The clock was cast in 1798, but is still in good working order. During the Qing Dynasty, the Hall of Union was responsible for announcing the time. They used the sundial to adjust the time of the clock in the Hall of Union. When the clock in the Hall of Union chimed, the drum on the Gate of Military Prowess would be beaten and the bell on it was rung, to announce the time to the Forbidden City. The city heard the time from the Drum and Bell Towers, north of the Forbidden City. In Europe, the bells in churches served the same purpose. In cities, there were often bells managed by the local government, as well. We take time for granted, today. We use atomic clocks to set our watches so we can be on time for trains, meetings, and our favorite TV show. In ancient times, the ability to share time allowed cooperation on tasks, timing of events, a standard pf time that remained consistent on long summer days and short winter days.

China Index >> History of Beijing in Pictures >> Forbidden City >> Hall of Union and Peace

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Last update: January 2010
© Marilyn Shea, 2009