Hall of Celestial and Terrestrial Union
The Hall of Celestial and
Terrestrial Union (JiaoTaiDian), was first built in
1420 and rebuilt in 1655 and 1798. One significance of
the name is the desire that the emperor (celestial) and
the empress (terrestrial) have a good marriage. This hall
resembles the Hall of Complete Harmony
(ZhongHeDian) in shape and is its smaller twin. It is the
smallest of the three main palaces in the Inner Court.
Usually, empresses would receive formal
birthday greetings here. Empresses would also inspect
preparations before they went to preside over memorial
ceremonies for the Silkworm God and practise sericulture.
Emperor ShunZhi's order that eunuchs were to be banned
from attending to state affairs was made here.
To the right of the throne, visitors
will see an ancient chinese water pot clock - equivalent
to an hourglass - and to the left there is a chime clock.
These two timers were a reference to the Drum Tower and
The large chiming clock on the left
hand side was built in the Palace in 1798 during the
reign of Emperor QianLong and, miraculously, the clock
still works. The water clock on the right hand side was
built in 1745. It is one of China's most outstanding
inventions and dates back about 2,500 years. It wasn't
until the mechanical clock was introduced to China after
the reign of Emperor QianLong (1736-1795) that the use of
the water clock was abandoned.
This hall also holds 25
imperial seals - because Emperor QianLong hoped that the
Qing dynasty would last 25 reigns to exceed the East Zhou
dynasty, the longest dynasty in China. However history
disappointed him, the Qing dynasty only lasted ten
There is a white tablet at the far end
that bears two Chinese characters : 'Wu Wei' - literally,
'to refrain from action' or 'let it be'. This reflects
the philosophy of Taoism, a religion which is indigenous
to China. The Tao ('the way') taught that we should find
and follow our true self and tries to show the beauty of
action without effort / struggle.
Taoism is a philosophy that nicely
balances rule-based confucianism. However, it was often
misused by the feudal rulers as indicating that people
should accept their place and to discourage people from
taking any action that might disrupt the imperial status
: The Hall of Terrestrial Tranquility