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Temple of Heaven, Beijing, China (1406)


Project Location: China

Figure 1: The front view of Temple of Heaven ( Source )
Figure 2: The bird view of the site ( Source )
Figure 3: Plan of the temple and surrounding architecture ( Source )
Figure 4: Elevation of the temple ( Source )
Figure 5: Section diagram of the temple ( Source )
Figure 6: The Hall of Prayer for Good Harvests has four inner, twelve middle and twelve outer pillars, representing the four seasons, twelve months and twelve traditional Chinese hours respectively. Combined together, the twelve middle and twelve outer pillars represent the traditional solar term. ( Source )
Figure 7: Interior of the temple ( Source )
Figure 8: On the grounds, there were stables for sacrificial animals. ( Source )
Figure 9: Pattern on the beams ( Source )
Figure 10: Dougong of the building structure ( Source )
Figure 11: Dragon and dark blue tiles on the wall surrounding the Circular Mound Altar ( Source )
Figure 12: Gates north of the temple ( Source )
Figure 13: Night view of Temple of Heaven ( Source )

Classical, Traditional

Primary Material(s):
Brick, Tile, Wood

No Function Assigned.

Related Website(s):

Significant Date(s):

Additional Information:
The Temple of Heaven is used for annual ceremonies of prayer to Heaven for a good harvest. The temple complex was constructed from 1406 to 1420 during the reign of the Yongle Emperor of Ming Dynasty, who was also responsible for the construction of the Forbidden City in Beijing. It is currently located in Dongcheng Beijing, China. The complex was extended and renamed Temple of Heaven during the reign of the Jiajing Emperor in the 16th century. Jiajing also built three other prominent temples in Beijing, the Temple of the Sun (日壇) in the east, the Temple of Earth (地壇) in the north, and the Temple of Moon (月壇) in the west. The Temple of Heaven was renovated in the 18th century under the Qianlong Emperor. By then, the state budget was insufficient, so this was the last large-scale renovation of the temple complex in imperial times.

The temple was occupied by the Anglo-French alliance during the Second Opium War. In 1900, during the Boxer Rebellion, the Eight-Nation Alliance occupied the temple complex and turned it into the force's temporary command in Peking, which lasted for one year. With the downfall of the Qing, the temple complex was left un-managed. The neglect of the temple complex led to the collapse of several halls in the following years.

In 1914, Yuan Shikai, then President of the Republic of China, performed a Ming prayer ceremony at the temple, as part of an effort to have himself declared Emperor of China. In 1918 the temple was turned into a park and for the first time open to the public.

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