The Hall of Preserving
The Hall of Preserving Harmony
(BaoHeDian), sits on the northern end of the three-tier
marble terrace of the Outer Court, similar in style but a
bit smaller than the Hall of Supreme Harmony but
larger than the Hall of Complete Harmony.
It was first built in 1420, rebuilt in
1625 and renovated in 1765.
During the Ming dynasty,
emperors would often prepare for ceremonies here,
practicing speeches and changing clothes; for example,
before the ceremonies of conferring the title of Empress or
Crown Prince. During the Qing dynasty, imperial banquets
would usually be given here. To celebrate a princess's
marriage, emperors would invite high officials, the
bridegroom and his father, and any relatives who have
served the imperial government to a banquet. Every New
Year's Eve, banquets would be held to feast and honor
margraves, Mongol princes and civil and military
down from the raised marble platform.
The Hall of Preserving Harmony can be seen on
on the left is the Hall of Complete Harmony.
In 1789, during the middle
of the Qing dynasty, Emperor QianLong moved the Palace
Examination, the highest level and final stage of the
nationwide imperial examination system, from the Hall
of Supreme Harmony to this hall. Emperors would read
the papers of the top ten candidates to honor them.
There were four levels of
examinations, namely: the county level, the provincial
level, the national level and the Palace Examinations.
Those who survived the palace exam would get the title of
'Doctor' (Jin Shi), and their status and wealth were
assured. This examination system started in the Han
Dynasty. It was suspended every now and then and was
finally abolished in 1904.
In 1898, the Capital
University (Beijing University) was established, and
about the same time, China sent students to study in
foreign countries like Japan and France. In 1911, QingHua
University, a well known university both at home and
abroad, was also established. Thus, the modern Chinese
education system began.