Gugong – the heart of the Chinese empire

China and Gugong

More and more of our tourists go to China – one of the most amazing and richest countries, rich not only in money, but in history and impressions that a tourist can get here. Much of modern China is a mixture of ultra-modern construction, a metropolis like Manhattan, with a huge history museum. In one and the same place in China, it is easy to find the peculiarities of the life of Ancient China and cutting-edge technologies. And in order to draw from this bottomless well of impressions, you do not need to travel far – it is enough to turn your attention to Beijing, the capital of the country.

What is Gugun?

In the very center of Beijing is Gugong – the largest complex of palace buildings in history. In fact, this is a whole huge city, consisting of individual palaces, residential areas, museums, administrative and military premises. Now this entire colossal complex has been completely transformed into a real modern museum, accessible to the general public.

The reserves and bins of this grandiose museum are much richer than the Louvre and the British Museum in terms of the number of items stored, but at the same time only artifacts of Chinese traditional culture are preserved here, as well as those gifts from other powers or things obtained in other lands that were stored in the imperial palace. Most of the Gugun collection consists of things that were stored here even during the time of Ancient China. But a significant part is already finds or the contents of other Chinese museums or private collections, transported to this huge storehouse. It is known, by the way, that for a long time none other than the last Chinese emperor Pu Yi himself worked as a janitor in Gugong, who spent a long time in correctional camps during the advent of communist rule.

When viewed from above, Gugong is a colossal regular quadrangle, which symbolized the connection with the forces of the Earth, on which the Chinese emperor was the guardian and ruler. But most of the objects inside the palace itself are round or oval shapes, which served as a symbol of Heaven – the source of justice and all wealth in the Middle Kingdom. Chinese natural philosophy, that is, the doctrine of the Elements and Primary Sources of Being and their reflection in ordinary life, was extremely developed and rich, became the basis for philosophy, advanced mathematics, perfect medicine, as well as chemistry, metallurgy and other sciences.

What is worth seeing in Gugun on your first visit?

It should be borne in mind right away that during one visit you can only “get to know” this museum, because it is impossible to see everything, living on its territory permanently for more than six months!

The grand reception halls, the main imperial hall and the main chambers, through which the main road crosses Gugun from south to north. Everything that we most often see in Chinese historical films, as well as in films about wushu, for example, is concentrated here;
A collection of paintings and traditional, mainly Minsk (Ming era, 12th – 17th centuries) porcelain. Differs in extraordinary beauty, and for the most part almost everyone has heard the expression or read in books about “Minsk porcelain”, but never saw the real;
Halls of the most ancient archaeological finds and antiquities – sacrificial fossils of bronze tripods, religious objects, utensils, the oldest copper and bronze weapons. It is interesting that this is all that can be seen only in photographs in all encyclopedias and textbooks, and it has been kept here, in the imperial palace, since the times when all this was actually used!

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