Hall of Supreme Harmony (Taihedian)

After visiting the Gate of Supreme Harmony (Taihemen), one will see the Hall of Supreme Harmony (Taihedian) across a spacious square, which covers 30,000 square meters. Standing on a three-tier marble terrace, this grandest timber framework ever in China is overwhelming.

It was erected in 1406 and has undergone many later repairs. As the heart of the Forbidden City, the so-called Golden Carriage Palace, used to be the place where emperors received high officials and exercised their rule over the nation. Grand ceremonies would be held here when a new emperor ascended the throne. Celebrations also marked emperors' birthdays, wedding ceremonies and other important occasions such as the Winter Solstice, the Chinese New Year and the dispatch of generals into fields of war.
Our Tour Group at Hall of Supreme Harmony
Our Tour Group at Hall of Supreme Harmony
Taihedian Square
Taihedian Square,
Forbidden City
Alongside the flights of steps which ascend the three tiers of the terrace, there are eighteen bronze Dings, a kind of ancient Chinese vessel, representing the eighteen national provinces of those times. On the luxuriously balustraded terrace, stand a bronze crane and a bronze tortoise, symbols of everlasting rule and longevity. The marble Rigui, an ancient sun dial on the eastern side and the Jialiang, an ancient measuring vessel on the western side demonstrate that the emperor was both just and fair. In front of it, there are a couple of gilded bronze vats, which were used to hold water in case of fire.

Since it was symbol of the imperial power, it was the highest structure in the empire during the Ming and Qin dynasties. No other building was permitted to be higher any where in the empire. The heavily glazed hall is 35.02 meters high (37.44 meters including the rooftop decoration). It is 63.96 meters in width and 37.2 meters in length respectively. There is a total of 72 pillars, in six rows, supporting the roof. The doors and windows are embossed with clouds and dragons.
Sundial before the Hall of Supreme Harmony
Hall of Supreme Harmony
Hall of Supreme Harmony
Inside of it, the floor is paved with special bricks which were fired long and then polished by being soaked in tungoil. As a symbol of imperial power, the sandalwood throne, standing on a two-meter high platform, is located in the center and surrounded by six thick gold-lacquered pillars decorated with dragons. Dragons are carved all over the golden throne. Around the throne stand two bronze cranes, an elephant-shaped incense burner and tripods in the shape of mythical beasts. It is heavily decorated with dragons, giving an aura of solemnity and mystery. In the middle of the ceiling is the design of two dragons playing with pearls. They were made of glass and painted with mercury. The pearl was said to be able to detect a usurper of the imperial power. If anyone who was not the descendant of the Emperor Huang Di usurped the throne, the pearl would drop down and strike him dead.


Go north to visit the Hall of Central Harmony (Zhonghedian).

 Further Reading:
How to visit the Forbidden City
Miraculous Sundials in the Forbidden City
Mysterious Animals on the Palace Roofs of the Forbidden City
Interesting Animal Statues in the Forbidden City
Special Caisson Ceiling Designs in the Forbidden City 
Smallest Palace in the Forbidden City

- Last updated on Nov. 27, 2023 by Kate Liu -
Questions & Answers on Hall of Supreme Harmony
Asked by fiona from AUSTRIA | Sep. 07, 2023 20:59Reply
what was the forbidden palaces purpose?
Answers (1)
Answered by Jenny | Sep. 10, 2023 22:53

It was the royal palace for the emperors of the Ming and Qing dynasties. Common people were forbidden to enter it, hence the name.
Asked by Anonymous from ANONYMOUS | Nov. 08, 2015 21:26Reply
What is the length and width of the roof of the Hall of Supreme Harmony?
I need the measurements for a project and I can't find the measurements anywhere. The measurements I need the top length, the bottom length, and the height of the roof. Please answer as soon as possible. Thank you.
Answers (1)
Answered by Lias from THAILAND | Nov. 09, 2015 02:14

Here is some info about the hall:
Height (including the basis): 35.5 meters (116 feet)
Length: 64 meters (70 yards)
Width: 37 meters (40 yards)

I cannot find further detailed statitics about the roof, hope this would be helpful.
Asked by mmc10 from CANADA | Feb. 10, 2015 11:21Reply
Dimensions of the hall of harmony
To whom it may concern,

I am currently doing a grade 12 drafting and design project on the hall of supreme harmony. To do so I require detailed dimensions of the hall. Like the thickness of the exterior walls, the diameter of the pillars, the diameter of the arches, the length of each segment of the roof, the height and width of the doorways, and much more dimensions. I would be eternally grateful if you could help me find more specific dimensions of the hall so I can draw it for my project.

Sincerely, a very interested high school student
Answers (1)
Answered by Lisa from CANADA | Feb. 14, 2015 01:50

Well, I just know these data:
The length / width / height of the hall: 64 meters / 37 meters / 26.92 meters;
The height of the white marble stone carving pedestal: 8.13 meters;
The diameter of the stelae (inside the hall): 1 meter;
The diameter / height of the stelae (outside the hall): 1.06 meters / 12.7 meters;

Hope these could be helpful.
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