The Temple of Heaven
Download The Temple of Heaven...
The Temple of Heaven : legitimizing the Emperor's rule The temple for emperors of the Ming and Qing dynasties to perform worship to the God of Heaven and pray for good harvests.
History The Temple of Heaven Tiantan, the Temple of Heaven, was established in 1420 during the reign of Ming EmperorYongle (1403-1424), who also founded the Forbidden City.
The temple was originally established as the Temple of Heaven and Earth Ming Emperor Jiajing (1522-1566) built separate complexes for the earth, sun, and moon, as what we see today.
The Purpose of The Temple of Heaven In ancient China the emperor was regarded as the "Son of Heaven" who administered matters on earth on behalf of celestial beings. The temple was built as a sign of respect to worship heaven and pray for a good harvest. The emperor conducted elaborate and most exalted sacrifices addressed for "the Supreme Ruler of the Universe."
The Temple of Heaven The emperor visited the temple 3 times a year: in the first lunar month to pray for a good harvest; during the summer to pray for rain; In the winter to give thanks for a good harvest. In each ceremony, the emperor offered sacrifices to the ancestors, gods of the sun, the moon, the clouds, wind, rain and thunder and lightning.
The Map of the Temple of Heaven
The Architecture of The Temple of Heaven
The most unique & well-known wood structure The Temple buildings and the parklands reflect ancient Chinese religious beliefs that imagine heaven as round and earth as square.
The Hall of Prayers for Good Harvests The Circular Mound, the Hall of Abstinence, the Echo Wall
The Architecture of The Temple of Heaven The buildings in the Temple of Heaven are round, like the sky. The foundations and axes of the complex are rectilinear, like the earth.
An empty three-tiered plinth that rises from a square yard. The number of stones in the various tiers are all multiples of three.
The Hall of Prayer for Good Harvest, the Main Building in The Temple of Heaven Color of the building Originally, the triple eaves were painted in different colors. The top was blue, which symbolized Heaven. The middle was yellow to symbolize the emperor. The bottom was green to represent commoners.
During the Qing Emperor Qianlong's reign (1736-1795), all the eaves were painted blue to follow the color of the sky.
The ceiling of the Hall of Prayer for Good Harvests is painted with an exquisite design of nine dragons and is supported by 28 wooden columns
The Circular Mound Altar The Temple of Heaven The sacrificial altar for ceremonies held on winter solstice. The altar is encircled by two walls. The inner wall taking a round shape to resemble heaven. The outer one squared to symbolize earth.
The Imperial Vault of Heaven The Temple of Heaven The Imperial Vault of Heaven, a wooden building, was the place where the tablets of the gods were kept. Its dome is supported by eight columns without crossbeams.
The Vermilion Steps Bridge connects the Hall of Prayer for Good Harvest and the Imperial Vault of Heaven. The emperors believed that they could go to heaven through this Bridge.
The Hall of Abstinence The Temple of Heaven
A bedroom in the Palace of Abstinence
Before each ceremony, emperors of the Ming and Qing dynasties held a three-day fast during summer and winter solstice. The emperors spent two days fasting in the Forbidden City and completed the three-day fast in the Palace of Abstinence.
The Beamless Hall, main hall of the Palace of Abstinence
The History Of Worship Ceremony This ceremony was first performed in the Zhou dynasty (1100-771 B.C.).
The last time it was performed (December 23, 1914) when a republic had been founded by Dr. Sun Yentsen. Yuan Shikai wore the imperial robes of the emperor to restore the feudalism.
The History of the Worship Ceremony By the end of the Ming dynasty, the population of the country had been reduced by about half through starvation. While reviving NeoConfucianism the rites and rituals, they forgot the Confucian ideal that good government takes care of the needs of the people first.