Travel Study Material GoodChinese

故宫 The Palace Museum

紫禁城是皇帝的住所,所以又名皇家的宫殿。在封建社会,皇帝的住所是禁止普通人进入的,故名紫禁城。

The Palace Museum was the living place of the emperor, so it was also called the imperial palace. In the feudal society, the common people were forbidden enter the city, hence the name, Forbidden City.

故宫为长方形,面积为72公顷,52米宽的护城河和10米高的城墙环绕着,四个角各有一个角楼,在古代为重兵所把守。

The Palace Museum is rectangular in shape, covers an area of 72 hectares, with 52 meters wide moat and 10 meters high city wall surrounded, each corner of the city wall built a watch tower, which was heavily guarded in the old days.

故宫始建于明朝初年,也就是1420年。当时建成故宫后,明朝的首都马上就从南京移动到了北京。从明朝初年到清朝末年,一共有24位皇帝住在这里,其中14个在明朝,10个在清朝。在600年的时光中,故宫见证了许多的变化在明清时期。1911革命之后,清朝被推翻,末代皇帝浦仪也被赶出了故宫。1925年,故宫作为博物馆向公众开放,后来被称为故宫博物馆。

The Palace Museum was first built in early Ming dynasty that was 1420. When the construction of The Palace Museum was completed, the capital of the Ming dynasty moved from Nanjing to Beijing. From the early Ming dynasty to the end of Qing dynasty, alt="" titleogether 24 emperors lived in here, 14 emperors in Ming dynasty and 10 emperors in Qing dynasty. In 600 years, The Palace Museum witnessed many changes in the Ming and Qing dynasties. After the 1911 Revolution, the Qing dynasty was overthrown. In 1925, The Palace Museum became the historical museum and opened to the public, so it was also called the palace museum. And in 1987, The Palace Museum listed in World Cultural Heritage by the UNESCO.

午门是故宫的正门,在中国古代时期,一般的建筑正门都是南门,午门是专门为皇帝通过的门,主要用于皇帝去天坛祭天等。午门的命名是皇帝认为它的宫殿建在子午线上,是宇宙的中心。门前的小广场是皇帝颁布新年历法的地方在每年的十月初一,当将军从战场回来时候,献俘大典也在这里举行。

The Meridian Gate is the main entrance and the front gate of The Palace Museum. In ancient China, the front gate of the large-scale constructions usually is the south gate. The Meridian Gate mainly served as the passage for the emperor only, which want to go to the Temple of Heaven to worship the god of heaven. It was called Meridian Gate because the emperor believe that the Meridian Line went through The Palace Museum and his residence was the cosmic center. A small square located in front of the gate, it was the place to announce the new lunar calendar on the first day of 10th lunar month every year. When a general returned from the battle, his captives would be offered on a ceremony here.

走进午门就进入了故宫,故宫是世界上最大的皇家宫殿建筑群。据民间的传说,故宫有9999.5间房子,它分为外朝和内廷两大部分,外朝为政务区,内廷为皇帝的生活区。太和门是外朝的入口,门前内金水河流过,它的主要功能是防火,而五座石桥跨于内金水河之上,代表着孔子所提倡的五德:仁、义、礼、智、信。孔子就是中国最著名的哲学家,生于春秋时期,也就是公元前7世纪。五座石桥中,中间的是皇帝专用的。它的栏杆雕刻是龙,而其他的石桥的栏杆雕刻是荷花。龙是一种想象中的动物,说到龙这个词,中国人马上就可以想到一个巨大的牛头,鹿角,虾眼,鹰爪,蛇身和狮尾,整个身子被鱼鳞覆盖的动物。在中国的传统中,龙被认为是权力的象征,凤凰被认为是幸运的象征。在封建社会,皇帝就是龙的化身,而皇后则是凤凰的化身。因为龙生活在水中,龙可以控制水,所以在中国有水的地方,人们都会修建一座龙王庙来祈求平安。在故宫中你可以看到数百万只龙,它们分布在彩绘、雕刻、服装、装饰中,你可以自己去寻找它们在故宫内。

Enter the Meridian Gate; you have come into The Palace Museum. The Palace Museum is the largest imperial construction in the world. According to the common people saying, The Palace Museum has 9999.5 rooms. It consists of two parts, which are the outer court and the inner court. The outer court is the political quarter and the inner court is the living quarter. The Gate of Supreme Harmony is the entrance of the outer court. The inner golden river comes across here, with five marble bridges spinning over it. They were symbolizing the five virtues by Confucius, benevolence, righteousness, rites, intelligence and fidelity. Confucius is the most famous philosopher in China. He born in 7th century BC, at that time it was also called the spring and autumn period. In the five marble bridges, the middle bridge used for emperor only. Its railing carving is dragon, and the other bridges’ railing carvings are lotus. The dragon is an imaginary animal. Saying about the word of the dragon, Chinese people definitely think of a gigantic best with the head of ox, the horns of deer, the eyes of shrimp, the claws of hawk, the body of snake and the tail of lion, whose whole body is covered by fish scales. In Chinese tradition, the dragon was the symbol of power, and the phoenix was the symbol of lucky. In the feudal society, the emperor symbolized dragon, and the empress symbolized phoenix. Because the dragon live in the water, can control the flood, so you can see lots of the dragon temple built the place nearby rivers or lakes. Therefore more than one million dragons in The Palace Museum, they are appearing in paintings, carvings, clothing and decorations. You can look for the dragon pattern by yourself in The Palace Museum.

进了太和门,这里可以看到游览图,在古代中国,所有的建筑都有中轴线,最好最重要的建筑都是沿着中轴线而建的。

Entering the Gate of Supreme Harmony, there is a sketch map. In ancient China, all of the constructions have central axis. The most beautiful and important buildings are built along the central axis.

太和殿the Hall of Supreme Harmony

穿过太和门,你将看到中国最大的宫殿,它叫太和殿,它是用来举行大的仪式的地方。例如,皇帝生日、皇帝大婚,战争胜利,召见外国使节等。当仪式开始后,所有的文武百官都要跪在地上扮演三拜九叩。

Go through the Gate of Supreme Harmony, you will see the largest hall in China. It named the Hall of Supreme Harmony. It was the place where hold some important ceremonies, like the ceremony of emperor birthday, the emperor marriage, ceremony about success war, receive foreign country’s envoy. When the ceremony began, the civil and military officials all performed the three kowtows and nine prostrations on the square.

另外,你可以看到屋顶的琉璃瓦都是黄颜色的,在中国,屋顶的颜色有三个等级,最高的为蓝色,象征蓝天,只有在天坛才可以看到;第二等是黄色,象征皇帝,这可以在一些皇家建筑中看到,比如故宫或明陵等;第三等是绿色,象征大臣,是大臣家允许用的颜色。而普通人家的屋顶只允许用灰色瓦,如果使用其他颜色,就是犯罪,会被杀死的。

In addition, you can see the color of the glazed tiles on the roofs of all buildings is yellow. Saying about the colors of the roof, they can be divided into three rankings: the highest ranking is blue, symbolize sky, you can see it only in the Temple of Heaven; the second ranking is yellow, symbolize power, it used in some imperial constructions, such as The Palace Museum or Ming Tombs; the third ranking is green, symbolize official, the families of high ranking official can be allowed used this color. The common people only allowed use the grayer tiles. If you use another colors of the tiles, you would commit a crime, will be killed.

在太和殿下面的石台基,我们把它叫做须弥山。这名字来源于佛教,在佛经里说,须弥山是宇宙最高的山。所以这里叫须弥山是为了说明上面的太和殿的至高无上的地位。在台基上拜摆放的是香炉,当大典开始时候,会烧一些松柏,制造出烟雾,下面的人看到太和殿在云雾之中,好象天上的宫殿,给人以庄严的感觉。

A large marble terrace beneath the Hall of Supreme Harmony, we called it Xumi Mountain. The name comes from Buddhist scripture. According to scripture, Xumi Mountain is the highest mountain in the cosmic. So, here we called it Xumi Mountain in order to show that the Hall of Supreme Harmony is the place having the highest power. There are 18 incense burners placed on the triple marble terrace. When ceremony began, burning some pine and cypress, to make smoke. The officials on the square find the hall was in the cloud. It can make state atmosphere.

在台基上可以看到东边摆着的是日晷,西边的是嘉粮,它们放 这里是象征着皇帝的公正与无私。铜龟和铜鹤象征着长寿,它们实际上也是香炉。

On the marble terrace, you can see the sundial on the eastside, and the imperial grain measure on the west. They placed here to symbolize the emperor’s justice and rectitude. The copper tortoise and stork symbolize longevity. In fact, they are all of incense burners.

大殿就是太和殿,为木结构建筑,所有的木材都是运自于西南中国的,所有的柱子都是单根的木头。你可以去看看大殿内的布局和摆设,在正中央有个木台子,上面是龙椅,后面有屏风,前面几个是景泰蓝的香炉,地上铺着一张有龙图案的真丝地毯。

This is the Hall of Supreme Harmony. The wood materials of the building come from the southwest China. Each pillar is single branch. In front of the hall, you can see inside decoration. In the hall, a sandal wood terrace built in the center; the dragon chair on it, some cloisonné incense burners placed front side, a big carpet with dragon pattern in front.

由于故宫大多数建筑都是木结构的,很容易着火,因此,故宫内有很多大缸,功能是储水防火,其中有18个为镏金的,但在1860年英法联军侵入北京,他们在故宫里抢走了很多的珍宝,最后士兵发现了这水缸上的金子,他们用刺刀把缸表面的金子全部刮掉了,现在你还可以看到刺刀留下的痕迹。

Because there are lots of wooden buildings in The Palace Museum, catch fire easily. Therefore, many big vats in the city in order to store water against fire. Some of them were gilded, but in 1860, when the Anglo France allied forces invaded Beijing, they break into The Palace Museum and robbed a lot of treasures. Lastly, some soldiers discovered the gilded vats; they scrape off the gold from the surface of the vats by their bayonets.

中和殿the Hall of Complete Harmony

中和殿的作用是作为休息室。当皇帝举行大典之前,皇帝要在这里休息。在皇帝去天坛祭祀天神之前,他要在这里读祭祀的文章。里面的摆设和前面差不多,也都是龙椅、香炉和地毯等。

The function of the Hall of Complete Harmony actually is the retiring room. Before the emperor held big ceremony, he had a rest in there. And it was also the place where the emperor read the sacrificial scripture before he went to the Temple of Heaven to worship the god and his ancestors. The layout inside of the hall same to that hall, also has dragon chair, incense burners and carpet. You can have a look and take some pictures.

保和殿the Hall of Preserving Harmony

在古代,保和殿就是人民大会堂的宴会厅,在每年春节的时候,皇帝要在这里举行宴会,宴请蒙古王公和外国使节。在清朝,保和殿也作为皇家考试的场所。在封建社会里,国家的考试分为四等,童试、乡试、会试和殿试。殿试是当时等级最高的考试,当通过了这种考试,你就可以成为大官了。

In early time, the function of the Hall of Preserving Harmony likes the banquet hall of the Great Hall of the People in nowadays. Traditionally, the emperor would hold a banquet to the Mongolian nobles and envoys in the spring festival. In the Qing dynasty, there also served as the place to hold the imperial examination. In feudal society, the national exam can be divided into four rankings, which are the county exam, province exam, capital exam and imperial exam. The imperial exam is the highest-ranking examination. If you can pass it, you could be a high-ranking official.

在保和殿的后面有一块石雕,长16米,宽3米,厚1.7米,超过250吨重,雕有云和龙,是故宫内最大的单块石雕。这块石头是从距离北京70千米的南面运输来的。以前运输这么大的石头是非常困难的,冬天是运输它的好时期,因为我们可以每500米就挖一个井,然后把水泼在地上结成冰,用滑木放在石头底下,很多人推着石头,所以运输石头是一个非常困难的事情。

There are big stone carving behind of the hall. It is the largest stone carving in The Palace Museum, with 16 meters long and 3 meters wide, 1.7 meters thick, more than 250 tons. The stores were transported from the southwest Beijing, about 70 kilometers. In early time, we transported the big stone very hardly. Winter is the good time to transportation because we must dig out a well every 500 meters and took the water throw to earth to make it slippery. Used the rolling wood beneath the stone, many people pull and push. So, it is really a very difficult work.

养心殿the Hall of Mantel Cultivation

下面我要带你去参观皇帝的卧室,外红墙的外面有两个长方形的房子,在古代,这里是军事大臣商议军务的地方,现在呢,西边这个是纪念品商店,而东边那个是星巴克咖啡。

There are two buildings out of the red wall. They used to be the military office. The military officials discussed the military affairs in there before they met emperor. Now, the two buildings have changed another functions, the west one become a souvenir shop, and the east one become the Star Buck coffee.

皇帝的卧室叫做养心殿,在门口你会看到一件玉雕,这是由一整块玉雕刻而成的,外面罩有一个非常精致的龙雕刻的青铜罩,玉是方形的,中间有一个圆孔。在古代中国的意识里,天空是圆形的,而地是方形的。这个东西摆在这里是根据中国的泥土占卜学而定的,而且玉是自古的权力象征,可以辟邪,我们中国把这种学问叫做风水学。另外,比如我们要建房子、陵墓等建筑前,都要请一个风水家来看看这块土地是否可以来建设,如果不好的话,那么还要重新选择。即使房子建成了还要请风水家来看,哪里位置不吉利还要再摆放一些东西以辟邪,玉器是最常用的东西,因为它本身具有磁场,可以转变人的运气。养心殿这个小院子,在故宫中不是最大的,但却是最有名的,因为这里集中了皇帝的办公室、卧室和皇后的卧室等。左边的房子四皇帝和军事大臣商议军务大事的地方,你也知道,军务对一个国家来讲非常重要,所以在窗外有特别建设了一道墙来防止外人的偷听。里面那间房子是皇帝专门收藏书法作品的地方,因为中国的书法是一门艺术,古代中国的一些书法家留下的书法非常珍贵,一个字超过百万美圆。不知道你对中国的电影有多少了解,可能你会看过末代皇帝、卧虎藏龙、英雄等影片,还有一部中国电影同样非常有名,叫做垂帘听政。电影讲述了在清朝末年的一个非常有权力的女人,叫慈禧太后,她控制着儿童皇帝,处理国家的事务,电影里描述的这些事件就发生在东房间。这里有一丝帘子,帘子后是一张大椅子,为慈禧太后的座位,前面的小椅子是儿童皇帝坐的地方。看起来是皇帝上朝,实际上,真正的权力是在帘子的后面。

Ok, later I will guide you to visit the bedroom of the emperor, which called the Hall of Mantel Cultivation. Firstly, everybody look here. Here is a big jade carving placed in front of the gate. This is a single piece jade that comes from the western China, square in shaped with an around hole in the center. In Chinese ancient people’s mind, heaven is around and the earth is square. The carving placed here is according to Chinese geomancy. And the jade is also considered can ward off the evil spirits. In China, we called the knowledge is Fengshui, the science of the wind of water in English. This courtyard is not the largest one, but it is really the most important one. The front building is the office of emperor, and the rear yard is the bedrooms of emperor and empress. The west chamber of the front building is the military office; emperor and military officials discussed military affairs in there. Because the military affair is very important in a whole country, built two special walls ward off overhear. The inner chamber is the special room for emperor collected the art about calligraphy, because it very valuable in China. We often called it one-character costs one million dollars. Sir, have you seen any Chinese movie? Maybe you tell me yes, like Crouching Tiger and Hidden Dragon, the Last Emperor, Hero, etc. But what I want to point out is another movie named Power Behind Hinging; it’s also very famous in the world. The movie describe that a very powerful woman, Empress Dowager Cixi, she controlled the child emperor and controlled the whole country. Some cases in that movie were took place in the east chamber. Here, you can see the silk hanging. There’s a big chair for the Empress Dowager Cixi behind the hanging, and a small chair for the child emperor in front of it. In the chamber, seem as the emperor handle state affairs. But it is really power behind hinging.

后院是皇帝和皇后居住的地方。院子中央放着一块水晶,象征洁白无暇。在里院是皇帝的卧室,而外院的这排房子是皇后的卧室,屋内的摆设维持原来的模样,你可以看到当时皇帝的喜好,包括钟表、玉雕、丝绸、金银器、珍珠等,有一种蓝色的工艺品叫景泰蓝,是北京的独有的手工艺品,过去仅仅为皇家专用。院子东边有一排房子,我们把它叫做等候室,在古代,每天晚上会在这里有五个妃子等候皇帝的挑选,每个房子里有一个。为了安全问题,所有的妃子都不许穿衣服,全身赤裸,然后用一条丝毯裹着被送到这里。到傍晚时,皇帝会慢慢走过这条走廊,看见哪个妃子满意就在窗前放一个玉雕,那么当天晚上这个妃子就可以跟着皇帝就寝了。在明清时期,皇帝只有一个皇后,但却有很多妃子,数量最大的时候超过了三千人。她们通常用耳朵上的珍珠来区分大小,最大的珍珠我们叫做珠王,是专门供皇后佩带的。

The rear yard is the living quarter of emperor and empress. A big crystal placed in the center of the yard, symbolize chastity. The inner yard is the bedroom of emperor, and the north chamber is the bedroom of empress. Today we preserved the inside layout of these chambers from late Qing dynasty. You can see what is emperor’s favor, such as clocks, jade carvings, silk, pearl and so on. One of them is special thing that we called it cloisonné, which is beautiful handicraft that is imperial ware only in Beijing. There are five chambers located on the east side; we called them the waiting chambers that each chamber has a concubine wait for emperor in everyday evening. Because of the security problem, all concubines must bare and no clothing on their bodies, a silk carpet around their bodies and sit in the waiting chambers. When the emperor finished his daily affairs, he would like to walk along the corridor and select a concubine. If he find the best one, he would place a jade carving in front of the window of the chamber, which the best one sit inside. This concubine has the right to sleep with the emperor. In the Ming and Qing dynasties, emperor has only on empress, but he has abundance of the concubines. The largest number is more than 3000 concubines; even some concubines haven’t one chance to met emperor in their whole life. In early time, you can differentiate the ranking from the small concubine to empress by their pearl earring. The empress has the largest one; we called it the Queen of the Pearl.

御花园the Imperial Garden

参观完养心殿后,我们就要去故宫的最后一个景点御花园了。这个花园规模比较小,皇帝每天都有大量的日常事务需要处理,非常繁忙。如果他有一天的自由活动时间,他会去颐和园度假;如果他有半天的时间,他会去北海或者景山散步;如果他仅仅有两个小时的空闲时间的话,他就只能这里活动了,一般就是和妃子聊天、下棋等。这里有许多的山石,都是人工的。这种奇怪的树我们叫它龙爪槐,是中国特有的品种。另外有一些古树,年龄都超过了500年。

After we visited the Hall of Mantel Cultivation, we will go to visit the last attraction, which is the Imperial Garden. The scale of the garden is so small. In early time, the emperor is very busy, which has lots of state affairs to handle. If he has over one day to relax, he would like to go to the summer to enjoy holiday. If he has half day for rest, maybe he would to go to the Beihai imperial garden or the Coal Hill garden to walk. If he has only 2 hours, he hasn’t enough time to go out of The Palace Museum, can but go here to play Chinese chess or chat with concubines. There are some rockeries built in the garden that all be man-made. And some fantastic trees in the garden, their name is Dragon Claw Tree. Some cypresses are very longevity, aged over 500 years.