Palace of Heavenly Purity

The Palace of Heavenly Purity, or Qianqing Palace, is the main hall in the Forbidden City in Beijing, China. This palace originally served as a sleeping palace for the emperors during the Quing and Ming Dynasty and was later utilized to receive foreign diplomats. It is the first of the three imperial harems situated inside the Gate of Celestial Purity. The name of this palace means “lucid sky,” which is meant to symbolize national stability and the emperor’s noble behavior.


The Palace of Heavenly Purity was constructed in 1420. It was destroyed and rebuilt several times during the Qing and Ming dynasties. The structure we now see dates from the year 1798. There is an imperial throne in the middle of the palace and warmth chambers on each side. If you walk into the palace, you will see a sign with four characters written in Chinese that read “Zheng Da Guang Ming,” meaning be decent, honest, and magnanimous. These characters were written by Emperor Shunzhi.

The Structure

This palace has a hip roof, double eaves, and yellow glazed tiles. On the eaves there are nine animals adorned with golden dragons. The palace is cemented with gold brick. On the front side of the palace, there is a copper crane, a copper turtle, a grain measurer and a sundial.


As the most significant palace in Forbidden City, the Palace of Heavenly Purity was used to hold important ceremonies. Additionally, the palace also served as the funeral home of the Qing Dynasty emperors. Regardless of where the emperor died, the coffin would be brought to this palace and kept there for a number of days.

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