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Palace of Earthly Tranquility(Kunninggong)

 

Kunninggong (Palace of Earthly Tranquility) is one of three palaces in living zone of Forbidden City, and it was established in 1420. Both in 1514 and 1596, Kunninggong(Palace of Earthly Tranquility) was destroyed by fire disasters, and in 1605 it was rebuilt. In 1798, it was also restored. Qianqinggong traditionally is representative of Yang and Kunninggong(Palace of Earthly Tranquility) is yin. These two palaces are built together to show the harmony and oneness of heaven and earth.

Kunninggong (Palace of Earthly Tranquility) backs on north and faces south. It is covered with yellow glazed tiles and belongs to the double-eave Wuduanding. In Ming Dynasty it was the living palace of empress. In Qing dynasty, Emperor Shunzhi changed it to be the religion center for worshipping and sacrificing of Shamanism(萨满教,Shamanism is a range of traditional beliefs and practices concerned with communication with the spirit world. A practitioner of shamanism is known as a shaman. There are many variations of shamanism throughout the world and several common beliefs are shared by all forms of shamanism. Shamans are intermediaries between the human and spirit worlds. They can treat illness and are capable of entering supernatural realms to provide answers for humans.). And it was changed in architectural style and inside layout. It was reconstructed in accordance with the Qingninggong (清宁宫, Palace of Pure Tranquility,which is the old palace of Shengyang and used to be the royal palace of Emperor of Qing dynasty before their entered Shanhai Pass) in Shenjing (盛京, today Shenyang, the provincial capital of Liaoning). Two rooms at the east side of Kunninggong(Palace of Earthly Tranquility) were used as the nuptial chamber of Emperor’s wedding. The inner wall was painted in red paint and on the ceiling, the palace lanterns were hanged. The chamber has east gate and west gate. In front of the gates, there were two wooden walls pasted golden Characters”喜” for auspicious meaning.

At the northwest corner of the nuptial chamber, a newlywed’s bed in China called “龙凤喜床 (Dragon-Phoenix Bed)”was put. The mosquito net and quilt were all embroidered and made elaborately by handcrafters in Southern China. On the mosquito net and quilt, there are hundreds of playing boys with different expression, so they were also called Hundred-Son Bed and Hundred-Son Mosquito Net. During the emperor’s wedding period, Emperor needed living in Kunninggong(Palace of Earthly Tranquility) for two days, and then moved to other palaces. But the emperor married before his enthronement, he would not have such a treatment. Hence in Qing dynasty, only Emperor Kangxi, Emperor Tongzhi and Emperor Guangxu once used this chamber for wedding. By the way, the wedding of Emperor Puyi was also held here. After the reign of Emperor Yongzheng, the emperors all moved to Yangxindian, and empresses did not live in Kunninggong (Palace of Earthly Tranquility) either. Hence in fact, Kunninggong (Palace of Earthly Tranquility) became the special place for sacrifice and worshipping of Shamanism.




 


Writer: David from Seeraa International
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