Imperial Palaces of the Ming and Qing Dynasties 
in Beijing and Shenyang (1987, 2004)
China

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In Shenyang, it has been inscribed as an extension of the Imperial Palace of the Ming and Qing Dynasties site inscribed in 1987. The property is now to be known as the Imperial Palaces of the Ming and Qing Dynasties in Beijing and Shenyang. The Imperial Palace of the Qing Dynasty in Shenyang consists of 114 buildings, constructed between 1625-26 and 1783. It contains an important library and testifies to the foundation of the last dynasty that ruled China, before it expanded its power to the centre of the country and moved the capital to Beijing. 

This palace then became auxiliary to the Imperial Palace in Beijing. This remarkable architectural edifice offers important historical testimony to the history of the Qing Dynasty and to the cultural traditions of the Manchu and other tribes in the north of China. 

Hong Kong (China) 2007. The Imperial Palace of the Ming Dynasty.

China 1956. Great Throne Hall, The Forbidden City. Scott #294.

Deep in the center of Beijing, far from the ordinary people, was the Forbidden City, where the emperor resided and carried out affairs of state. Spread out over a large area were audience halls, libraries, and theaters, all covered in tile roofs glazed in a yellow hue reserved solely for the emperor. Surrounding this area was the Imperial City, with granaries, temples, residences for high officials, and workshops of artisans who provided services and goods for the imperial household. Circling that was the Tartar City, occupied by Manchu bannermen; and to the south was the Native City, where the Chinese resided. Each of these cities within cities had its own walls, which clearly organized and defined the status of its residents. 

China 1985. Set of four se-tenant stamps depicting The Forbidden City.

The city of Beijing took form over a very long time, under various rulers. Two contiguous rectangles, the Inner City and the newer Outer City, each embrace several square kilometers. The Inner City contains the Imperial City, which in turn contains the Forbidden City, which sheltered the imperial court and the imperial family. The entire development adheres to symmetry along a strong north-south avenue -- the apotheosis, on a grand urban scale, of the Chinese house.

Stone, brick, tile, and timber are available in both China and Japan. The most characteristic architectural forms in both countries are based on timber framing. In China, the wooden post carried on its top an openwork timber structure, a kind of inverted pyramid formed of layers of horizontal beams connected and supported by brackets and short posts to support the rafters and beams of a steep and heavy tile roof. The eaves extended well beyond column lines on cantilevers. The resulting archetype is rectangular in plan, usually one story high, with a prominent roof. 
  • China 1985. Set of four se-tenant stamps depicting The Forbidden City. 

The construction of the Shenyang Imperial Palace was started in 1625, and finished in 1636. A palace built and resided by the founders of the Qing Dynasty Nurharchi and Huangtaiji before the dynasts entered inside the pass (the area to the west of Shanhaiguan or to the east of Jiayuguan), it is one of the two ancient great palace building complexes preserved in good condition in China.

The front part of the Imperial Palace was built on the ground, while the rear part was on a 4-meter-tall support; showing a link to the customs of the Nuzhen people who lived on mountain slopes. Differing from the palace Museum in Beijing, the Shenyang palace widely uses the five-color glazed tiles and its gables are made of bricks. 
  • China 1996. Shenyang Imperial Palace. 

China 1996. Shenyang Imperial Palace.

Poland 2006. Golden Chalice, 18th century, Qing Dynasty.

Meanwhile it boasts of a double-heating system by using "kang ( heatable brick beds)" and heatable floors. For example, there are "Wan Zi Kangs" in the west four rooms of the Qingning Palace. The kangs are connected to each other in the south, west and north sides. 

This reflects the old living customs of the Manzu people. After the collapse of the Qing Dynasty, the Shenyang Imperial Palace became a museum, known as the domestic Palace Museumˇ. Now it is called the Shenyang Palace Museum. 

In 2006 China and Poland issued jointly a set of stamps dedicated to art. The Polish issue is shown here, featuring 18th century art from the Qing Dynasty, illustrating perfectly the lavish splendours of the Imperial Palaces. 

  • Poland 2006. Golden Chalice, 18th century, Qing Dynasty. 

Sources and links: 

Other World Heritage Sites in China (on this site). Inactive links are not described on stamps. Please refer to the UNESCO-listing, section China for further information about the individual properties.  

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Revised 24 jun 2007  
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