Culture

Why is the Forbidden City's Yang Xin Hall always damp? Experts pry open the floor tiles and discover the mystery

Thanks to the modern emphasis on the conservation of ancient relics and the use of high technology, the Palace Museum in Beijing - by far the best preserved ancient complex in the world - is now reborn and attracts thousands of visitors from all over the world every day, so much so that it has since been restricted daily to prevent abnormal damage to relics caused by excessive crowds.

Visitors who have been to the Palace Museum always have a question in their mind, why is the Palace of the Perpetual Damp? Later, during a major renovation of the Palace, experts pried open the floor tiles to discover the mystery.

Why is the Forbidden City's Yang Xin Hall always damp? Experts pry open the floor tiles and discover the mystery

Demystifying the dampness of the Yixin Hall

The Forbidden City is now the Palace Museum in Beijing. After the Ming Dynasty destroyed the Yuan Dynasty, it came to the time of Ming Chengzu, Zhu Di because the Mongolian cavalry was still eyeing the Ming Dynasty at that time, he made the decision of the Son of Heaven to guard the gates of the country and moved the capital to Beijing, his own land of dragon prosperity.

Yongle four years (1406), he began to Nanjing Palace as a blueprint, he called up the construction of Nanjing Palace of Jiangnan craftsmen and skilled craftsmen throughout the country, which took fifteen years, until the eighteenth year of Yongle (1420) finally completed the layout of the Forbidden City is rigorous and magnificent.

Why is the Forbidden City's Yang Xin Hall always damp? Experts pry open the floor tiles and discover the mystery

Compared to the Alhambra, Weiyang Palace or Daming Palace, the Forbidden City is not considered the largest, but it is the most elegant and beautiful.

Now the Palace Museum has been through six hundred years of wind and frost, according to the basic pattern of the left ancestors and right rituals, built on the central axis of the Taihe Hall, Zhonghe Hall, Baohe Hall is the place where major ceremonies, plus the east and west of the Wenhua Hall and Wuying Hall, which is the former dynasty.

The inner court mainly has the Qianqing Palace, Jiaotai Palace, Kunning Palace and the six palaces in the east and west, the Qianqing Palace is the emperor's daily review and deal with political affairs, Kunning Palace is the Queen's Palace, the layout and the three halls of the previous dynasty is basically the same, but less solemn and more beautiful and elegant.

There is a special palace in the harem, and that is the Yangxin Hall on the west side of the Qianqing Palace, south of the six palaces in the east and west, the name is not a random one, it means: "to nurture the nature of the sky", from Mencius' "save its heart to nurture its nature to serve the sky".

Why is the Forbidden City's Yang Xin Hall always damp? Experts pry open the floor tiles and discover the mystery

The Hall of the Heart is not the beginning, in the Ming Dynasty, Jiajing sixteen years (1537) added to build, Jiajing the emperor in history is still quite controversial, early wise and diligent government, the late excessive faith in Taoism ignore the imperial government, but also a waste of people's power to engage in infrastructure, the Hall of the Heart is the place he built for alchemy, so the initial Hall of the Heart is relatively simple.

After many repairs in later years, especially in the 22nd year of the Ming Dynasty Wanli, the first year of the Qing Dynasty Yongzheng, the 15th year of the Qianlong era, the 12th year of the Tongzhi era, we now see the Yang Xin Hall is a separate courtyard surrounded by red walls, including 18 buildings such as the Yang Xin Hall, the Gongzhi Gallery, the back hall and the Meiwu.

But since the Hall of the heart opened for tourists to visit, there are many times: even if the sun shines outside, the heat is unbearable, a walk into the Hall of the heart, let people feel very humid, and cold.

Why is the Forbidden City's Yang Xin Hall always damp? Experts pry open the floor tiles and discover the mystery

At first we thought it was the reason for the installation of air conditioning, after getting the denial of the staff, all kinds of speculation, a moment of diverse opinions, after all, there were three emperors passed away here, only Qianlong is the end of life, Shunzhi and Tongzhi are sudden illness and death, not to mention that Tongzhi was only nineteen years old.

The staff is actually puzzled and distressed, there is a lot of wooden furniture in the Hall of Health, as well as wall painting, framing and other damage because of the perennial humidity, just have not been able to find the root cause.

Waiting for a major renovation of the Forbidden City, experts pried open the floor tiles of the Palace of the Yang Xin, only then it dawned on them.

Why is the Forbidden City's Yang Xin Hall always damp? Experts pry open the floor tiles and discover the mystery

Beijing is located in the northern region, a typical temperate continental climate, with cold and dewy winters, hot and humid summers, and very dry winters.

In the absence of air conditioning in the ancient palace cooling heating is particularly important, summer ice cooling is relatively simple, after all, every winter in the palace will be responsible for the amount of ice in place enough for the next summer, and saved in the cellar for the next year, it is said that the preservation of ice in the cellar is now converted into a restaurant, business is still very good.

However, in the winter, heating could only be done by charcoal stoves or kang, but because the emperor generally lived in a wide hall pavilion, the heating area of the stoves was too localized, and the emperor could not stay on the kang all day long wrapped in blankets to approve documents and meet with ministers, which required a large area to be heated at all times.

So seeing the rows of ancient pipes made of bricks and tiles, the experts had to marvel at the wisdom of the working people in ancient times.

Why is the Forbidden City's Yang Xin Hall always damp? Experts pry open the floor tiles and discover the mystery

Experts examining and analyzing, these ancient pipes should be divided into two functions, one is the water pipe and the other is the floor bed flue.

The use of water pipes should be injected into the summer cool water in the entire underground circulation of the temple pavilion, warm and cool as the water rafting; winter into the hot water that is a proper floor heating system, the emperor does not have to nest every moment in the kang, can be warm and comfortable mood happy to deal with the state affairs submitted by the ministers and the harem concubines jealousy, even if sometimes anxious not to be furious.

This job should have been taken care of by a special person every day, so that under normal operation, the comfortable environment inside the Hall of the Core was kept cool in summer and warm in winter until the last emperor left his home.

Why is the Forbidden City's Yang Xin Hall always damp? Experts pry open the floor tiles and discover the mystery

The former noble Forbidden City has been empty, there will no longer be people to care about a hall of cold and warm, the last injection of water has been quietly sleeping in the ground, slowly lost, a long legacy of water vapor has become the culprit of the perennial dampness of the Hall of Health.

There are also some of the drains set too close to the external walls of the building, the internal accumulation of residual rainwater not only makes the external walls near the drains damp and moldy, growing moss, but also through the underground soil and the external walls to the inner walls of water vapor, thus leading to the rise of humidity inside the entire Hall of the Heart.

If the floor flue is in use, it must be very dry, but after years of abandonment, the vacant floor flue becomes a conduit for underground hidden water vapor, which is transmitted to the floor tiles of the whole temple pavilion, and the floor tiles will return to moisture and cause the indoor floor to remain dry for years.

Why is the Forbidden City's Yang Xin Hall always damp? Experts pry open the floor tiles and discover the mystery

Finally found an important reason for the perennial dampness of the Hall of the Heart, visitors breathed a long sigh of relief, and finally do not have to think about the brain to fill the gods and strange things.

Experts are also greatly relieved, because the eight emperors after Yongzheng lived here for a long time, accumulating from generation to generation, and the furnishings in the Hall of the Core are very rich and exquisite.

In particular, the painting and calligraphy-loving Qianlong emperor, in the Sanxi Hall, named for the collection of Wang Xun's "Bo Yuan Paste", Wang Xianzhi's "Mid-Autumn Paste" and Wang Xizhi's "Quick Snow Time Clear Paste", ordered various famous artists to paint figures, flowers and landscapes on the walls, beautifully painted and finely framed, before the perennial humidity in the Hall of the Nurtured Heart, many of the interior decorations already had great hidden problems.

Why is the Forbidden City's Yang Xin Hall always damp? Experts pry open the floor tiles and discover the mystery

There are also a variety of rosewood furniture, ornaments, which can not have the slightest damage, but the humidity is a hard injury, not to mention the wood products, even the floor tiles will be damaged, some damage to a certain extent will not be able to repair.

Now that the problem has been found, then just fundamentally solve the problem of diffusion of water vapor transmission from underground pipes can be, on August 22, 2016, the research restoration project of the Hall of the Cultivated Heart was fully launched, I believe that relying on traditional techniques and modern high-tech technology, the project will be completed after a brand new Hall of the Cultivated Heart will be presented in front of the world.

Why is the Forbidden City's Yang Xin Hall always damp? Experts pry open the floor tiles and discover the mystery

Reviewing the history of the Yixin Palace

During the Ming Dynasty, the presence of the Palace is not strong, not in the Qing Dynasty, the first emperor after the entry of Shunzhi, because the Qianqing Palace was burned, just entered the Forbidden City is living in the Palace of the Palace, Kangxi years, the Palace of the Palace of the Palace of the Palace of the Palace of the making of imperial items.

To Kangxi died when Yongzheng succeeded to the throne, he lived in the Palace of the Heart and did not move into the Qianqing Palace, said out of respect for his father Kangxi, the specific reasons only Yongzheng's own heart is clear, after all, his reign is still controversial.

With the beginning of Yongzheng's fist of filial piety, the emperors have followed suit, so in the Qing Dynasty, a total of eight emperors lived in the Hall of the Core, which became a veritable bedchamber for the emperors of the Qing Dynasty.

Why is the Forbidden City's Yang Xin Hall always damp? Experts pry open the floor tiles and discover the mystery

As the emperor's bedchamber, of course, is not purely a place to sleep, but also to have the emperor to review documents, discuss state affairs with ministers, draft all kinds of decrees, leisure time to read, worship Buddha, rest place.

The palace building office was later moved out of all, and the Yang Xin Hall has been renovated and added several times.

Yongzheng moved into the first year after the renovation and layout of the Yangxin Hall, the front hall in the bright room requires the emperor "moderate and upright, love and harmony" of the "Zhongzheng Renhe" plaque and the West Nuange in the "diligent and pro-virtuous" plaque are handwritten by Yongzheng.

Yongzheng was arguably the most diligent emperor in Chinese history, as can be seen from the famous couplet he admired most: "Only one person rules the world, not one person is served by the world", which said he wanted to be a good emperor who ruled the world himself, not just a lazy emperor who was served by the world.

Why is the Forbidden City's Yang Xin Hall always damp? Experts pry open the floor tiles and discover the mystery

In order to quickly deal with the military affairs of the Junghar, while preventing the leakage of secrets he set the military room in the seventh year of Yongzheng in the Longzong Gate, only 50 meters from the Palace of the Heart, the next year, renamed the Office of Military Affairs, for more than 180 years thereafter, the cabinet of cautious and secret officials in here to assist the emperor to deal with urgent military and political affairs.

For the sake of unity and harmony among the officials of the Military Academy, Yongzheng wrote the plaque of "a harmonious group" which is still hanging in the room of the Military Academy until the establishment of the Cabinet of Responsibility in April of the third year of Xuanzong, when the Military Academy, an institution that strengthened the imperial power and made the development of the centralized power of the Qing monarchy, was abolished.

When the Qianlong emperor lived in the Hall of the Core, it was extensively repaired, and the entire Hall of the Core was richer and more luxurious than the Yongzheng period, thus establishing the Hall of the Core's Manchu-Chinese unity with a Confucian cultural connotation, and thus the basic pattern of the imperial power center for nearly 180 years after this was set.

Why is the Forbidden City's Yang Xin Hall always damp? Experts pry open the floor tiles and discover the mystery

In early December of the 10th year of the Qianlong reign, Emperor Qianlong knelt down to receive the initiation of Master Zhangjia in the Zhongzheng Hall. Although people thought that this scene was shocking, but who called him the emperor, he had the capital to be capricious.

In order to satisfy his wish to build a "Buddhist temple that he could take with him", in the first month of the eleventh year of the Qianlong reign, the West Nunnery in the front hall was converted into the Changchun Study Hall from the Xian Building in the first year of the Qianlong reign, and was passionately devoted to the reconstruction of the Xian Building Buddhist temple, but due to insufficient time for preparation, the furnishings of the Xian Building Buddhist temple seemed very rushed and not perfect.

In this way, a Buddhist temple, accessible at all times in the morning and evening, was born in the Hall of the Nurtured Heart, the bedchamber of an emperor, and Qianlong lived in the Hall of the Nurtured Heart for three years until his death.

"I believe we are all familiar with the 48-year-long dictatorship of the Western Empress Dowager Cixi in the East Nunnery of the Yangxin Hall.

After the death of Emperor Xianfeng in 1861 in the summer palace in Jehol, Cixi plotted to collude with Prince Gong Yixin to launch a bloody Xin You coup, the last eight appointed by Emperor Xianfeng to assist the Crown Prince's ministers were slaughtered and two given to death and five others were dismissed or exiled, followed by the two Empress Dowager in the Palace of the Yang Xin to implement the draped government to hold the court.

Why is the Forbidden City's Yang Xin Hall always damp? Experts pry open the floor tiles and discover the mystery

And not much management of the Eastern Dowager Empress Cian died, Cixi took sole control of the dynasty, after the failure of the Hundred Days Reform, she simply removed the curtain to sit directly behind the yellow satin case on the throne, the Guangxu Emperor became a puppet, sitting on her left on a much smaller seat, and the minister only face Cixi play things.

So a scourge of the country and the people's decisions issued from the Palace of the Heart, step by step, the Qing Dynasty took the road to destruction.

Finally, the Xinhai Revolution wave led by Dr. Sun Yat-sen in the third year of Xuan-Tong was higher than one wave, and on February 12, 1912, her own niece, Empress Dowager Longyu, took the six-year-old Xuan-Tong Emperor to formally issue an imperial edict of abdication in the Hall of the Nurtured Heart, declaring the demise of the Qing Dynasty and ending China's feudal-imperial era of more than 2,000 years.

Once the highest power center of the empire and the entire Forbidden City together with the silence, the former majesty of the hustle and bustle like a white horse passing through the clouds.

In 1987, the Forbidden City in Beijing was inscribed as a World Heritage Site. After 600 years of vicissitudes, the Forbidden City has now been given a new lease of life and is no longer a symbol of imperial power, but a gateway where people can explore the life of the emperors and appreciate the essence of Chinese civilization, a priceless historical testimony of Chinese civilization in the Ming and Qing dynasties.

Why is the Forbidden City's Yang Xin Hall always damp? Experts pry open the floor tiles and discover the mystery

Reference.

2018 Zhao Zhongnan The Journal of the Forbidden City

2018 Definitive Boundary "The Forbidden City Illustrated