Monday, April 13, 2009

Looking For The Last Emperor

It's huge! The Forbidden City, or Imperial Palace as they would like to call it now (in an effort to give China an impression of being more "open") is simply massive. While I don't want this to sound like a tourist brochure (read all about it in Wikipedia!), let me just give you ample warning that the whole structure is city-like indeed. Unless you want a rough-shod sprint across the grounds, set out more than a half day for this.

No, it's small! Haha.

The entrance of 40 CNY does not cover the side galleries, but don't forget to take a look - there are plenty of great artifacts hidden in the labyrinthine eastern grounds. Jade carvings aplenty, the finest porcelain, and other curios are on display in the grounds. I skipped the clocks display, but found this piece interesting: a golden globe, not of the earth, but of the astronomical sky with pearls as the stars. Just look at the excitement on the patrons.

It's so large, this tourist just conked out in the middle of the day.

If you don't like red, well, China is not the place for you, and and its centerpiece landmark is just fully cloaked in it. The Forbidden City is elegantly splashed in Chinese red, from its walls to its alleyways and hidden corners. It's great for a photo shoot that requires a red background.

Red lanes all around!

There is a permanent exhibition on the western galleries with artifacts, but I would like to recommend the eastern corridors instead - they're 9 sections depicting life in the Forbidden City, on how the guards were distributed, their defense arrangements, meal preparations during festivals, and even how the concubines were, errm, housed. Plus details on how the North-South axis is important in a city laid out on a grid.

The moat surrounding the grounds

My host told me that in order to fully appreciate the purpose and significance of the grounds, I must watch Bernardo Bertolucci's epic The Last Emperor. Anybody got a copy? I couldn't find one anywhere. Anywhere cheap that is.

1 talkbacks:

grumpyurbanslacker said...

whoa! nice nice pic!! galeng! :D