5 Amazing Things You Have to See at the Forbidden City

From dragon thrones to lion statues

By The Palace Museum

The throne inside the Hall of Supreme HarmonyThe Palace Museum

1. The Dragon Throne in the Hall of Supreme Harmony

Golden dragon designs dominate the Hall of Supreme Harmony's exterior and interior décor. The Hall of Supreme Harmony and the terrace below the Three Great Halls features over 10,000 dragons. 

Dragon spouts (chishou, lit. “chi-dragon head”)The Palace Museum

2. Over 1,000 Dragon spouts (chishou, lit.“chi-dragon head”)

Water cascading from the mouths of the dragon spoutsThe Palace Museum

The dragon spouts (chishou, lit. “chi-dragon head”) installed around the three-tiered sumeru-terrace of the Hall of Supreme Harmony are used as drainage spouts to prevent water accumulation around the hall. During torrential rains, water cascades from the mouths of the over 1,000 dragon spouts in an impressive display.

Towers of Reverence (Chong lou)The Palace Museum

3. Towers of Reverence (Chong lou)

Towers of Reverence (Chong lou) are found at the four corners of the three-hall sector in which the Hall of Supreme Harmony (Taihe dian) features prominently; only the highest-ranked architectural courts were designed with such towers.

The endpiece on the uppermost roof ridge on the Hall of Supreme HarmonyThe Palace Museum

4. The Largest Ridge beasts (dawen, lit. “great osculation”)

The endpiece, known as a ridge beast (dawen, lit. “great osculation”), on either side of the uppermost roof ridge on the Hall is the largest found on extant ancient architecture. Towering 3.4 meters high and weighing 4.3 metric tons, the endpiece consists of 13 individual glazed-tile components.

The bronze lion on the east side of the Gate of Supreme HarmonyThe Palace Museum

5. The 7 pairs of lions

The largest pair of cast-bronze lions in the palace can be found in front of the Gate of Supreme Harmony, which aimed to inspire awe and respect. 

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