Constructed through the Ming dynasty, Tiantan, generally referred to as the Temple of Heaven, is without doubt one of the largest temple complexes in China and a model of Chinese architectural stability and symbolism. It was right here that the emperor, after a ceremonial procession from the Forbidden Metropolis, would make sacrifices and pray to heaven on the winter solstice. Because the Son of Heaven, the emperor might intercede with the gods on behalf of his individuals and guarantee a superb harvest. Off-limits to the frequent folks through the Ming and Qing dynasties, the Temple of Heaven is located in a big park that now attracts early morning practitioners of Tai Chi.
The temple is replete with cosmological significance. All the most important constructions lie on the favored north-south axis. The traditional Chinese language saying “sky round, Earth square” is represented by the interaction of squares and circles. Heaven is recommended within the spherical, conical roofing and the blue tiles of the Corridor of Prayer for Good Harvests and the Imperial Vault of Heaven. The Spherical Altar symbolizes heaven, whereas Earth is there in its sq. enclosure.
Additionally essential is numerology, with odd numbers being probably the most lucky, therefore the triple eaves of the Corridor of Prayer for Good Harvests and the Spherical Altar’s three tiers.
The emperor would carry out the ceremonies on the Temple of Heaven following pure disasters, which required the appeasement of heaven, or to make sure rain and good harvests. After fasting for 3 days, he can be conveyed in a spectacular procession from the Forbidden Metropolis to spend the night time earlier than the sacrifice within the Palace of Abstinence. The subsequent day, earlier than daybreak, he could be ceremonially robed. Then, continuing north to south, with sacred music and dance, he would ascend the Spherical Altar to burn a freshly killed ox and bundles of silk earlier than an array of wood spirit tablets (shenpai), together with these of his ancestors, who had been thus additionally “taking part.”