The Temple Of Heaven : An Overview

1533 WordsDec 10, 20167 Pages
An imperial complex is constructed in the south-eastern central part of Beijing alongside the Forbidden City right in the middle of China’s Ming dynasty. Described by some as “one of the greatest eras of orderly government and social stability in human history”, the Temple of Heaven was a sign of the opulence in the country at the time and consolidated the power of the Yongle Emperor--Zhu Di. However, hidden behind the Taoist facade lay political unrest as the temple became the hub for governmental conflict. This paper will examine the temple along its intended purpose as an Imperial Sacrificial Altar with respect to the shift in politics and economy as guided by the notion of religion. Constructed in 1420 CE, as a result of the power struggle in Nanjing to re-establish Beijing as the new imperial capital, the birth of the temple was catalyzed by the copulation of politics and religious zeal, which helped take over and maintain control of the empire by the Yongle Emperor. The paper will first address the background of the Ming dynasty and the motivations and conflicts which occurred during the construction and reconstruction of the temple. It will then lay out the architectural accoutrements of art, sculpture, and symbolism throughout the structure which played a role in emphasizing political and economic hierarchy of the empire. Finally, the paper will discuss the occupants through the Ming dynasty and into modernity as manifestations of the change and significance of the
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