The Temple Of Heaven Essay, Research Paper
The Temple of Heaven is located in the southeast of Beijing. It was built in 1420 and expanded under the Qing emperors. The Temple of Heaven was founded in the first half of the 15th century. It is a respected complex of fine cult buildings set in gardens and is surrounded by historic pinewoods.
The Temple of Heaven has become the symbol of Beijing. The temple represents the perfection of the Ming Dynasties architecture. The shape, colour and sound have symbolic importance. It is designed for the communion between heaven and earth.
The Temple of Heaven is a place where dynastic rulers in China worshiped heaven. Chinese emperors called themselves Tianzi or sons of heaven. They had supremacy to heaven by terms of abiding. The Temple of Heaven originally functioned as a large stage of solemn rites performed by the son of heaven. They came to the temple to pray for good harvest, seek divine clearance, and atone for the sins of the people. Emperors each year offered sacrifices to heaven. The Temple of Heaven is believed to be the closest place to heaven.
Every year in winter solstice and in the first month of the lunar calender (December and January or February in the solar calender). Ming and Qing emperors came to worship and offer sacrifices to heaven and pray for good harvest. It is now the largest architectural group where sacrificial ceremonies were held.
An important part of Chinese architecture was to create a world in between Humankind and God. Chinese architecture extends harmonisation between the building with its site. The entrance is determined by the ancient art of Feng Shui and its regard to spiritual influence with environmental features such as mountains and rivers.
The Hall of Prayers was used by emperors to pray for Good Harvests. The main temple hall is a circular wooden and brick structure, with a triple conical (cone) roof set with deep blue glazed tiles to reflect the sky. The hall is supported by 28 wooden pillars. It is called the beamless hall . The ceiling is beautifully painted in patterns of traditional Chinese style. The hall is very symbolic. The twelve outer columns stand for the twelve months of the year. The four columns in the centre represent the four seasons, and the square beam on the top of the column is earth, which is topped by a round beam representing heaven. This is a form of Chinese traditional belief, that heaven was round and the earth was square. The dragon symbolises strength and the phoenix symbolises peace.
The South if the Hall is the Circular Mound Altar. It is another famous building in the park. This site is where the emperors of the Dynasties held ceremonies and offered sacrifices to heaven. Looking from the sky the Altar consists of 3 concentric circles all of different diameters.
Originally the temple of Heaven had only one main gate. This gate faced the west, but after the park was made public in 1949, entrances were opened on the northern, southern and eastern side.
Parts of the Tiantan (The Temple of Heaven)
* The Danibi Bridge is the main road to get into the temple. It is 360 meters long and 29.4 meters wide.
* The Imperial Vault of Heaven is where the wooden tablets were kept for worship. It is entirely built of wood and is sustained by eight pillars.
* The Echo Wall is one of the most impressive sites at the park. If one person speaks against the wall at one end, another person can hear the voice at the other end.
* The Nine-Dragon Cypress tree was planted outside the Echo Wall 500 years ago. The branches look like nine dragons.
* The geometry of the Circular Mount Altar revolves around the number nine.
* The Hall of Abstinence is a hall on a white marble substructure of bricks without a pillar or beam. The emperor used the hall to accept court officials. The Sweet Spring Well is outside the hall. The water form the well tasted sweet and was used to make soup for the sacrificial ritual.