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Dagaoxuan Palace’s gate opens agin after having been sealed up for 60 years

Popularity 4Viewed 1978 times 2014-8-16 22:58 |Personal category:hot news|System category:News| Dagaoxuan, Palace

Located north of Shenwu Gate of the Palace Museum on the Jingshan Front Street, an ancient royal building attracts passers-by every minute when they walk pass by it. This is the renowned Dagaoxuan Palace. On August 13, 2014, the ancient royal palace having been sealed up for over 60 years slowly opened its arms to welcome outsiders.
Dagaoxuan Palace, covering an area of about 130,000 square meters and built in 1524, was the only royal Taoist temple during the Ming and Qing dynasties and is an important part of the Forbidden City. In 1900, this palace had always been serving as the military camp for the French army, and large numbers of Buddhist statues, religious musical instruments and sutras were stolen. After the Xinhai Revolution, this palace was still possessed by the imperial family. After 1924 when the warlord Feng Yuxiang expelled the last emperor of China Pu Yi, this palace has been part of the Palace Museum. Since the end of 1950s, the palace has been used by the army until today. During the time, some ancient buildings in it were used as repair workshops, where many sundries, inflammables, smoke detectors, lightning protection equipments and others were stored and they seriously threatened the safety of the cultural relics. But this is also applausive, for the palace has been occupied by the important departments of the army, and so it was never damaged during the Great Leap Forward and the Cultural Revolution. Now the buildings inside it still basically retain the appearance of the reign of Emperor Qianlong.
When you step into the mysterious Dagaoxuan Palace, you will see a bell tower and a drum tower. Walking around a terrace, you will be welcomed by the ancient building Dagaoxuan Hall. In front of it are some weeds and the stone steps which have already lost their original beauty and look fragile. Although the large slab between the steps has been damaged a bit, the carvings made of a dragon and cranes on it still look very clear and elaborate.
Out of the Dagaoxuan Hall, you may sidle into the back yard. The back hall named “Nine Heaven Great Supernatural Power Thunder Altar” is a single-hipped roof top building, as wide as five royal rooms, with green glazed tiles and yellow roof edges where round petal-shaped color paintings are drawn. In front of it is a terrace, surrounded by white marble railings. In the beginning one emperor’s statue called Zhenwu the Great was set inside the hall, attached by a hall on either side, with a gablet roof covered with green glazed tiles. The current condition of the Nine Heaven Yingyuan Thunder Altar looks somewhat pale compared with that of the Dagaoxuan Hall, the color paintings and the white marble stone railings having been damaged relatively a lot.
The last layer of the Dagaoxuan Hall is a two-story building symbolizing “a round sky and a square earth”, with the second floor named Qianyuan (heaven) Pavilion and the first floor named Kunzhen (earth) House. The second floor is round and the first is square. Therefore, it symbolizes a round sky and a square earth (This is the traditional theory about heaven and earth held by the ancient Chinese). The whole building has a neat layout, and looks magnificent and elaborate. 
In ancient China Dagaoxuan Palace was once the imperial Taoists’ workplace. So, the roof tiles are all blue and the yellow ones are used to decorate the edges of the roof, which differs from the building style of the Forbidden City. During the Ming dynasty, one lazy emperor called Jiajing visited this palace many times to ask heaven for longevity; the maids who believed Taoism also sang palace songs inside it; and during the reigns of Emperor Yongzheng and Qianlong (son of Yongzheng), the two emperors also worshiped the god of heaven to rain for the people.
In May 2013, Dagaoxuan Palace was officially returned to the Palace Museum, but its restoration project will last one year and a half. The palace is expected to open for free to the public as a cultural square for the citizens in 2016.
(This is an article made of translation and writing.)

(Opinions of the writer in this blog don't represent those of China Daily.)




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Comment Comment (6 comments)

Reply Report 财神 2014-8-17 12:30
Majestic palace!
Reply Report liu5222512 2014-8-17 23:29
Nice job, good translation.
Reply Report ampraxu123 2014-8-17 23:53
liu5222512: Nice job, good translation.
Reply Report wingless 2014-8-18 15:02
It really is majestic.
Reply Report ampraxu123 2014-8-18 17:30
wingless: It really is majestic.
Yes, it is.
Reply Report arishu2014 2014-8-19 18:00
nice palace.

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