The Purple Forbidden City

M. A. Aldrich

in The Search for a Vanishing Beijing

Published by Hong Kong University Press

Published in print March 2008 | ISBN: 9789622097773
Published online September 2011 | e-ISBN: 9789882207585 | DOI:
The Purple Forbidden City

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Located in the heart of Old Peking, the Purple Forbidden City is inevitably included in every traveler's itinerary. For that reason, it loses much of its charm from the huge volume of sightseers that visit it each day. When constructing the Purple Forbidden City, the architects of emperor Yong Le never contemplated that thousands of people would traipse through the massive courtyards and up to the dragon throne each week. The chapter specifically discusses the author's visit in this city. By the mid-nineteenth century, most of the eunuchs in the Forbidden City had been recruited from the ranks of those volunteers who agreed to be castrated. The Palace of Heavenly Purity was the site of celebrated imperial banquets hosted by Kang Xi and Qian Long in a show of reverence for age. It was also the focus of political intrigues during the closing years of the Qing. In 1923, as a response to corruption, theft and arson by the attendants of the imperial household, Pu Yi expelled hundreds of eunuchs from the Great Within. For most of these exiles, they had known of no home other than the Purple Forbidden City.

Keywords: Purple Forbidden City; Old Peking; Yong Le; Palace of Heavenly Purity; Pu Yi; Kang Xi; Qian Long; Qing

Chapter.  7678 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Asian History

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