china edition


Forbidden City - Hall of Mental Cultivation

Hall of Mental Cultivation, also called Yangxindian, was the most important building besides the Hall of Supreme Harmony in the Qing Dynasty. Starting from the reign of Emperor Yongzheng, the Qing emperors held private audiences and handled state affairs here.

Hall of Mental CultivationThe main hall of Hall of Mental Cultivation was used as the audience chamber, where the emperor read documents, granted audience to officials and summoned his ministers for consultation.

The emperor's throne is in the center of the hall. Behind it are bookshelves on both sides, keeping books on the experiences and lessons that the preceding emperors had drawn in ruling the country. The plaque hanging above the throne bears the Chinese characters meaning "just and benevolent" in Emperor Yongzheng's handwriting.

The west chamber of the Hall of Mental Cultivation was the place where the emperor read reports, signed the documents and discussed military and political affairs with his officials. In 1746, Emperor Qianlong kept his 3 precious calligraphy masterpieces by Wangxizhi, Wangxianzhi and Wang xun in this chamber, hence the name "Room of Three Rare Treasures". The east chamber was the place where empress Dowager Cixi Gave audience behind a screen during the reigns of Emperor Tongzhi (1862-1874) and Guangxu (1875-1908).

North of the front hall of the Hall of Mental Cultivation is a covered corridor, which connects the front and back halls. The back hall comprises the emperor's bedchamber. On the east of the chamber is Tishuntang (the Hall of Manifest Compliance)- the residence of the empress. A piece of crystal stone was placed in the courtyard to remind the empress to be honest and upright. To the west is Yanxitang (the Hall of Festive Joy), the waiting room for concubines and palace maids called upon to wait on the emperor.