Palace of Celestial Favor (Chengqiangong)

The Palace of Celestial Favor (Chengqiangong) lies among the Six Eastern Palaces in the Forbidden City, situated at the second row, north of the Palace of Great Benevolence (Jingrengong), west of the Palace of Eternal Harmony (Yonghegong) and south of the Palace of Accumulated Purity (Zhongcuigong). Being the residence for concubines from 1420 to 1924, this palace is most well-known for witnessing the love between Noble Concubine Dong’e (1639-1660) and the Shunzhi Emperor (1638-1661). Now, Chengqiangong is dedicated to the display of historial bonzewares.
 

History Date Back to 1420

Chengqiangong was built in the eighteenth year of the Yongle Period in the Ming Dynasty (1420). At that time the palace was called Yongninggong. In the fifth year of the Chongzhen Period in the Miny Dynasty (1632), it was renamed Chengqiangong, which literally means "obeying god". This palace was repaired in 1655 and 1832 during the Qing Dynasty (1644-1911).
 

What to See inside Chengqiangong

Front Hall

Chengqiangong consists of a front hall and a back hall. The front hall has five rooms covered by gable- and hip-style roof. The roof is paved with yellow glazed tiles and is supported by bracket sets. The edge of roof is adorned with five statuettes of animals. The roof beams are painted with colorful dragon and phoenix images. Except for the largest room, the other four rooms are equipped with wooden hollowed-out windows and doors. The floor of the front hall is paved with square bricks and the ceiling is painted with two phoenixes. The front hall also has a large balcony and six side halls, three to the east and three to the west. The gabled roofs of the side halls are paved with yellow glazed tiles as well. The roof beams of the side halls are decorated with a swirling pattern of flowers.
 

Back Hall

The back hall has five rooms and a gabled roof, covered by yellow glazed tiles. The roof is supported by bracket sets and the beam is painted with dragon and phoenix designs. The back hall has adjacent rooms on both sides. The configuration of its side halls is the same as those of the front hall. There is a pavillion on the southwest side of the back yard.
 

Bronzewares Exhibition

The Palace of Celestial Favor has been turned into a bronzeware gallery by the Palace Museum. The exhibited bronzewares were mostly made during the Shang Dynasty (17th century BC-1046 BC) and the Zhou Dynasty (1046-256 BC). Most of them are weapons and ornaments used at that time. Some famous exhibits are the Dagger Ax with Kui-dragon Pattern, Crooked-headed Broadsword, Great Battle Ax with Beast-mask Design, Three-pronged Dagger Ax of Lord of Han, and Sword of Lord of Yue.
 

Pear Tree

The pear tree in Chengqiangong was planted during the Ming Dynasty, thus boasts a long history. It is said that when the Noble Concubine Dong’e lived in this palace, she liked the pear blossoms very much. Now, the pear tree has become another famous attraction in Chengqiangong. If you come here in March or April, the white pear blossoms will surely please your eyes.
 

Who has lived here?

 1. Noble Concubine Tian (1611-1642)
Tian was the concubine of the Chongzhen Emperor, the sixteenth emperor of the Ming Dynasty. The Chongzhen Emperor showed great affection for Tian because of her versatility. She was good at painting, calligraphy, playing the pipa (a four-stringed Chinese instrument), and performing on the flute. After giving birth to four children with Chongzhen, Tian received unparalleled affection from Chongzhen. However, such treatment incurred too much jealousy, and other concubines plotted against her. In order to achieve peacefulness in the inner court, the Chongzhen Emperor had to act indifferent to Tian. Unfortunately, three of Tian’s kids successively died within a year, which was another fatal blow for her. She got more and more depressed and died of illness in the Palace of Celestial Favor.
 
 2. Noble Concubine Dong’e (1639-1660)
Dong’e was the favorite concubine of the Shunzhi Emperor, the third emperor of the Qing Dynasty. It is said that she was very beautiful and considerate and always acted with decorum. Shunzhi loved her so much that it only took one month for her to become a noble concubine from an ordinary maid. In 1660, Dong’e gave birth to a son. Unluckily, this child only lived for a few months. Noble Concubine Dong’e was so distraught that she passed away later that the same year. Shunzhi couldn’t accept such a lost and even wanted to convert to Buddhism. The emperor, however, finally followed Dong’e to the grave and died in 1661. As a beloved concubine, Dong’e only spent four years with Shunzhi, a truly regrettable situation.
 
 3. Concubine Wan (1717-1807)
Wan was the concubine of the Qianlong Emperor, the sixth emperor of the Qing Dynasty. Compared with other concubines, Wan was not cherished by Qianlong and didn’t have a child by him to raise her status. But it was also why she was able to avoid being involved into rivalries. Thanks to such a peaceful state of mind, she lived longer than any concubine in ancient China.

 4. Noble Concubine Quan (1808-1840)
Quan was the favorite concubine of the Daoguang Emperor, the eighth emperor of the Qing Dynasty. She came into the Forbidden City at the age of thirteen, and was elevated to noble concubine after only one year, which proved Daoguang’s affection for her. She gave birth to two daughters and one son with Daoguang, and Daoguang chose this son as the future emperor. After Noble Concubine Quan passed away, Daoguang conferred upon her the title Empress Xiaoquancheng, and even requested that her coffin be moved into his own mausoleum.

 5. Concubine Lin (1822-1866): the concubine of the Daoguang Emperor

 6. Concubine Jia (1816-1890): the concubine of the Daoguang Emperor

 7. Concubine Yun (?-1855): the concubine of the Xianfeng Emperor, the ninth emperor of the Qing Dynasty

 8.Concubine Wan (1835-1894): the concubine of the Xianfeng Emperor
 

See more Six Eastern Palaces

- Last modified on Jul. 06, 2020 -
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