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Hall of Literary Glory & Hall of Martial Valor

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Hall of Literary Glory (Wenhuadian)
Initially built in the early Ming Dynasty (1368 - 1 644), Hall of Literary Glory (Wenhuadian) is located to the east of the Gate of Unified Harmony (Xiehemen) in the outer court of the Forbidden City. The original hall was ruined at the end of the Ming Dynasty. Then it was rebuilt in the reign of Emperor Kangxi of the Qing Dynasty (1644 - 1911) according to the constructions of the Hall of Martial Valor (Wuyingdian) which stands opposite it and to its west.

At first, Hall of Literary Glory was the palace of the crown prince. The Theory of Five Elements tells that the east part where this hall is located belongs to wood and is green in color, representing growth. Thus, the roof the hall was covered with green glazed tiles. Later, the hall was changed into the rest hall of the emperor, since the crown princes were too young to handle state affairs. The glazed tiles were then changed into yellow.

In the Ming and Qing dynasties, the Classics Colloquium Ceremony was held at the Hall of Literary Glory twice a year in spring and in autumn. Before the ceremony, the emperor had to write a theory to explicate his give-and-take from the Four Books and Five Classics. Then during the ceremony, he would explain his theory to the civil ministers who were kneeling down to listen to him. The Emperors Kangxi, Yongzheng and Qianlong of the Qing Dynasty were very knowledgeable, so they would appoint some ministers to further discuss together some points over when they were excited.
In layout, Hall of Literary Glory is the right wing of the three palaces in the outer court of the Forbidden City, while it is the compliment of the three palaces functionally. In front of the hall, there is the Gate of Literary Glory (Wenhuamen). Behind it, there is the Hall of Significance and Respect (Zhujingdian). On both sides of it, there are side halls. On its east, there is also a small courtyard named Chuanxin Hall which was the place for worshipping Confucius before the Classics Colloquium Ceremony. The present Hall of Literary Glory has been made into a pottery gallery displaying over 400 pieces of Chinese pottery treasures.

Hall of Martial Valor (Wuyingdian)
Located to the west of the Gate of Prosperous Harmony (Xiehemen) opposite the Hall of Literary Glory, Hall of Martial Valor (Wuyingdian) was also built in the Ming Dynasty. It sits on a Xumi Base (the pedestal or base of a Buddhist tower, or temple) and is surrounded by rails of white marble. There is a platform in front of the door of the hall, and a gravel path leading to the Gate of Martial Valor. There is a back hall behind it named Hall for Respect and Thinking (Jingsidian). The two halls are connected through a corridor. There are also side halls and veranda rooms on the eastern and western sides of the hall. In the northwest of the courtyard of the hall is Yudetang which is where civil ministers edited, inscribed and decorated the books.

In the Ming Dynasty, the Hall of Martial Valor served as the emperor's study where he consulted with his ministers. In the reign of Emperor Chongzhen (1610 - 1644), the ceremony of the empress' birthday, the New Year’s Day and the Winter Solstice were also held in this hall.

In the early Qing Dynasty, the Hall of Martial Valor was turned into the office of Prince Regent Dorgon, the fourteenth son of the Manchu leader Nurhaci. Later, the hall was changed into the rest hall of the emperor. Some small-sized ceremonies of congratulation, reward and sacrifice were also held in this hall. In the 8th year of Emperor Kangxi’s Reign, the emperor lived in the hall for a short period of time when the Hall of Supreme Harmony and the Palace of Heavenly Purity were under renovation. Then this hall was again changed into the imperial publishing room until in the 8th year of Emperor Tongzhi, it was burnt down and rebuilt in the same year.

In 2005, the Hall of Martial Valor received a large scale renovation. The present hall serves as the painting gallery of the Forbidden City, exhibiting world-renowned paintings by the ancient Chinese celebrities.

 Go to the Next Attraction: Gate of Supreme Harmony 

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