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Hall of Great Harmony

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Introduction
The Hall of Supreme Harmony is the largest hall within the Forbidden City in Beijing, China. It is located at its central axis, behind the Gate of Supreme Harmony. Built above three levels of marble stone base, and surrounded by bronze incense burners, the Hall of Supreme Harmony is one of the largest wooden structures within China. It was the location where the emperors of the Ming and Qing dynasties hosted their enthronement and wedding ceremonies. The name of the Hall was changed several times throughout the past few centuries, from its initial Fengtian Dian (奉天殿), later to Huangji Dian (皇极殿) in 1562 and to the current one by the Shunzhi Emperor of the Qing dynasty in 1645.

Together with the Hall of Central Harmony and Hall of Preserving Harmony, the three halls constitute the heart of the Outer Court of the Forbidden City.

History
The Hall of Central Harmony was built during the Yongle Eighteen Years (1420) and the early Ming people called it the "Hua Gai Temple". During the Jiajing Year in the Ming Dynasty, the hall caught fire and was then rebuilt; it was later renamed as the "Zhong Ji Temple". Nowadays, the ceiling of the Hall of Central Harmony is left with the remains of the Ming Dynasty. In the first year of the Shunzhi reign in the Qing Dynasty, the Qing royal family entered the Forbidden City then, in the second year, it was renamed as the "Hall of Central Harmony".

Structure & Function
Set into the ceiling directly above the throne is an intricate caisson decorated with a coiled dragon, from the mouth of which issues a chandelier-like set of metal balls, called the "Xuanyuan Mirror", a reference to the Yellow Emperor, a mythological Chinese ruler. According to legend, the metal balls will fall and strike dead any usurper to the throne.

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In the Ming dynasty, the emperors held court here to discuss affairs of state. During the Qing dynasty, emperors held court far more frequently. As a result, the location was changed to the Inner Court, and the Hall of Supreme Harmony was only used for ceremonial purposes, such as enthronements, investitures, and imperial weddings.

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The original hall was built in 1406 during the Ming dynasty, destroyed seven times by fires during the Qing dynasty, and rebuilt for the last time in 1695–1697. After a reconstruction in the 16th century, the dimensions of the hall was reduced from around 95m by 48m to its present measurements;

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