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Imperial Palaces of ChangAn during Tang Dynasty


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#1 snowybeagle

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Posted 26 April 2005 - 02:42 AM

It started out with me trying to find out more information about the Imperial Palaces of ChangAn (长安) during the Tang Dynasty. But the voluminous information proved too interesting to just throw away, and I thought the best means to keep it would be to post it here. There's enough info on ChangAn itself to warrant a separate thread ... something to consider.

Info on ChangAn

The city was briefly renamed DaXing City (大兴城) under the Sui Dynasty (隋朝), and then reverted back to ChangAn under the Tang.

It was 9721 metres from east to west, and 8651 metres from south to north, with an area of 8600 hectares.

That %#$!@#!@#$$&&^% Yun, if only he could share directly the virtual ChangAn program online. :P (jesting, okay?)

Layout of the city
http://img98.exs.cx/...mage=an25gi.jpg
http://img98.exs.cx/...image=an1gm.jpg

An artist's reconstruction of the main city gate of Chang An (southern Ming De Gate)
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(唐朝长安城明德门复原图)

TaiJi Palace, aka Western Inner (Palace) / 太极宫 (西内)
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This was the main palace of the city at the founding of the dynasty. It was also named DaXing Palace (大兴宫) under the Sui, the renamed to TaiJi Palace under Tang.
There were two main meeting areas:
(1) TaiJi Hall / 太极殿 - for the primary sessions of the Imperial Court, and
(2) LiangYi Hall / 两仪殿 - for smaller meetings.

DaMing Palace, aka Eastern Inner (Palace) / 大明宫(东内)
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唐朝大明宫玄武门复原图 (Northern Gate of the DaMing Palace)

This is not to be confused with the Eastern Palace (东宫), which was the eastern portion of the TaiJi Palace, resident of the Crown Prince.

This was built by Emperor TaiZong (唐太宗) for his father, the retired Emperor GaoZu (唐高祖). During summer, ChangAn became unbearably hot and humid. Emperor TaiZong would move his court to the cooler JiuCheng Palace (九成宫) away from ChangAn in the highlands north of the Wei river (渭北高原).

However, Emperor GaoZu of Tang did not like to go to JieCheng Palace, reportedly because the late Emperor Wen of Sui (隋文帝) had passed away there.

In AD 634, at the suggestion of Inspector General Ma Zhou (监察御史马周) for Emperor TaiZong to display his filial piety, another palace was commissioned the north(east) of ChangAn, constructed upon the dragon's head elevation (龙首原高地) of the Imperial gardens/parks (禁苑). It was initially named as YongAn Palace (永安宫), or Permanent Peace Palace. In the second year, it renamed as DaMing Palace (大明宫).Emperor GaoZu died seven months into its construction and the work was halted.

Work was resumed under the reign of Emperor GaoZong of Tang (唐高宗) after more than 20 years, and completed in AD 663. The emperor could not wait to move in with his family. There, Empress Wu ZeTian (武则天) gave birth to Li Dan (李旦), the future Emperor RuiZong of Tang (唐睿宗).

Two reasons were given for the hasty move.
(1) The humidity of the TaiJi palace, given its relatively low elevation, which gave the emperor migraines, and
(2) Empress Wu getting away from the ghosts of the original empress of Emperor GaoZong and Concubine Xiao (萧淑妃), whose deaths she had caused.

In AD 662, additional works were added and the place was renamed FengLai Palace (蓬莱宫), after the mythical island of FengLai in the eastern ocean.
AD 670, it was renamed HanYuan Palace (含元宫).
AD 701, it reverted back to DaMing Palace.

From the reign of Emperor GaoZong, it became the primary residence of the Emperor and the assembly of the Imperial Court.

It suffered great devastations from military conflicts in AD 883, AD 885 and AD 896, and subsequently became an abandoned ruin.

Sources :
http://bbs.club.sohu...guoxue&a=522021 (pictures of ancient Chinese cities/palaces)
http://www.gotoread....02-2766DC3BA84A
http://heritage.news...9/22-57741.html
http://www.hjclub.co...c.asp?id=484422
http://www10.epochti...29/n675185p.htm
http://zhengjian.org...2/7/2/6178.html
http://www.kepu.com....rse/cou108.html

Edited by snowybeagle, 26 April 2005 - 03:27 AM.


#2 snowybeagle

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Posted 26 April 2005 - 03:15 AM

More on DaMing Palace, aka Eastern Inner (Palace) / 大明宫(东内)

Layout
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There were a total of 11 gates to the palace, with three left wings and three right wings of the Imperial Guards stationed at the eastern and western walls, which created a two-wall defence line, protected by numerous archers who would shoot to kill any intruders.

The HanYuan Hall (含元殿)
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唐朝含元殿复原图

The main entrance to the Palace was the DanFeng Gate (丹凤门), or Vermillion Phoenix Gate.

A Dragon's Head Channel (龙首渠) cut through the open compound, with a bridge leading to the HanYuan Hall, which was the Outer Court (外朝) and main assembly area for special court sessions and coronation ceremonies.

XuanZheng Hall (宣政殿) was the middle Court (中朝), 300 metre north of the HanYuan Hall. Here, formal daily audience with the ministers and affairs of the state were conducted. Outside the gates to the Hall (宣政门) were the offices of the Imperial bureaucracy.

95m north of the XuanZheng Hall was the ZiChen Hall (紫宸殿), or Purple Apartments Hall, considered part of the Inner Court (内朝), right next to the Inner Palace (内庭) where the living quarters of the emperor and his harem were located. This Hall was used for conferences with the cabinet or smaller body of senior ministers in private audiences.

LinDe Hall (麟德殿)
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唐朝麟德殿复原图

In the western part of the Inner Palace was LinDe Hall (麟德殿) which was used for banquets hosted by the emperors and for entertaining foreign dignitaries.

A profile of the Hall (Click on image to get a larger picture to get an idea of its size).
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麟德殿立面复原图 (http://zhengjian.org...6-lddlmfyt1.jpg)

#3 Yun

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Posted 26 April 2005 - 04:43 AM

That %#$!@#!@#$$&&^% Yun, if only he could share directly the virtual ChangAn program online.  (jesting, okay?)


You mean this one? http://www.nus.edu.s.../research22.htm
http://www.arch.nus....ges/content.htm

You have to buy the CD for the full version. I didn't ;)
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#4 snowybeagle

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Posted 26 April 2005 - 04:46 AM

You have to buy the CD for the full version. I didn't ;)


How much does it cost? I don't think the price was mentioned on the website.

#5 Yun

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Posted 26 April 2005 - 04:50 AM

For enquiries, please write to :

  Prof Heng Chye Kiang
  Chang'an Multimedia Project
  Department of Architecture
  National University of Singapore
  4 Architecture Drive
  Singapore 117566
  Republic of Singapore


  or email : akicamm@nus.edu.sg


There's also a copy at the Asian Civilisations Museum in Singapore.
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#6 Jiang Qin

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Posted 30 May 2005 - 07:50 PM

Wowow ... that's really great ... nice pics there. Is the HanYuan Hall really a monstrous structure?

#7 phoenix_bladen

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Posted 30 May 2005 - 09:35 PM

Wowow ... that's really great ... nice pics there. Is the HanYuan Hall really a monstrous structure?

View Post



Would CHina reconsider rebuilding a replica of it?

History cannot be lost....
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#8 snowybeagle

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Posted 30 May 2005 - 11:03 PM

Would CHina reconsider rebuilding a replica of it?
History cannot be lost....

I thought I saw a report once that China is planning to rebuild the destroyed Da Ming Palace, or, at least some portions of it, which included the Han Yuan Hall.

But all these things cost $$$$$$$$$$$$$

Foreign investors would only be interested if they are given a relatively free hand to run it as an attraction, but guarantees from PRC are not easily trusted in cases like these ...

#9 yehzhaofeng

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Posted 01 June 2005 - 12:39 AM

Now I know where the palace in mulan came from..

葉兆峰


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#10 Merchant

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Posted 05 June 2005 - 12:41 PM

Woo, I like the drawings. I noticed the difference in roof style of Tang palace and Palaces of the later dynasties. Most of the surviving historical building of later dynasties have decorative figures on the roof lines. Depending on the resident's status, the number of decorative figures are different. The most famous figure I heard is call the "saint rides the rooster". These figures are not on Tang or earlier buildings.
Does anyone know the significent of those figures and when they started to appear on buildings?

#11 Yun

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Posted 05 June 2005 - 12:44 PM

I noticed the difference in roof style of Tang palace and Palaces of the later dynasties. Most of the surviving historical building of later dynasties have decorative figures on the roof lines. Depending on the resident's status, the number of decorative figures are different. The most famous figure I heard is call the "saint rides the rooster". These figures are not on Tang or earlier buildings.


This is also why such decorative objects on the roof are not seen in Japanese architecture. The Japanese borrowed from Tang architecture and stuck more faithfully to it.
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#12 Borjigin Ayurbarwada

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Posted 06 June 2005 - 08:01 PM

How do we know what these palaces look like? Were there descriptions of their shape and colors?

#13 Howard Fu

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Posted 08 March 2006 - 12:49 PM

Would CHina reconsider rebuilding a replica of it?

History cannot be lost....

There is still Xingqing Palace(兴庆宫) in Xian. I don't know whether it is the original one.
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