|This is the elaborate roof dragon on the ridge line of the roof of the Palace of Earthly Tranquility 坤宁宫 (Kūn Níng Gōng). The palace was the main living quarters for the emperor's empress during the Ming Dynasty. During the Qing Dynasty, the palace was used as a bridal chamber. The imperial couples only spent a couple of nights here and then the emperor moved to either the Hall of Mental Cultivation or the Palace of Heavenly Purity, depending on the era. The empress had quarters in the west section of the palace. There are no general pictures of the palace at the moment.
During the Ming Dynasty the Palace of Earthly Tranquility burnt down twice. It was rebuilt again during the Qing Dynasty in 1645 during the remodeling of the Inner Court and then again, after another fire, in 1798.
During the Qing Dynasty it was also used for religious rites connected to their Manchu religion. Boar roasting pits served shamanistic rituals of animal slaughter. Animal sacrifice also accompanied Chinese Confucian rituals, but the music, prayers, and dances of the Manchu religion differed from Chinese traditions.
Below, the Palace of Earthly Tranquility can be seen behind the Hall of Union.
Last update: January 2010
© Marilyn Shea, 2009