The Palace Museum in Beijing, also known as “The Forbidden City,” was the Emperor’s Palace in both the Ming and Qing dynasties (AD 1368-1912). And it’s one of China’s famous landmarks. It is one of the most brilliant masterpieces of ancient architecture in the world.
The Yongle Emperor, Zhu Di of the Ming Dynasty, had the Palace Museum built in the north, as well as many structures built on Mount Wudang, another of China’s famous landmarks, in the south, so both areas belong to the same period.
However, their architectural styles are very different. The central axis of the Forbidden City was very clear, precise, and well organised, whereas the buildings of Wudang were built on the tops of cliffs.
This reflected Taoist belief in the unity between man and nature. The Forbidden City was a place for the emperor to deal with the affairs of state, while Mount Wudang was an imperial temple for worshiping Emperor Xuan.
In ancient times, many government officials and Taoist believers went to Mount Wudang to pray for favourable weather, as well as for peace and prosperity. Mount Wudang was not only a famous mountain of Taoism, but also a “sacred mountain” full of mysterious stories of history and culture.
In ancient legends, it was said that the prince of Jing Yue went into Mount Wudang to cultivate the Tao when he was only 15 years old. One day he wanted to give up and go home.
On the way home, he saw an old woman sharpening an iron pestle at the well. The old lady said to the prince: “Just like the iron can be ground into a needle, with diligence, success will come naturally.”
Upon hearing this, the prince immediately realised that he should return to the mountain to continue his cultivation. Eventually, he attained the Tao, went to Heaven, and became the Emperor of Taoism, also known as Emperor Xuan. For this reason, Mount Wudang became a famous Taoist mountain.
World Heritage Site
The Purple Palace is one of the best-preserved temples on Mount Wudang, and it is also the one that is the most like The Forbidden City in Beijing. What’s different from The Forbidden City is the color of the buildings.
The palace at Mount Wudang had red walls and green tiles, while The Forbidden City had red walls and yellow tiles, because only emperors could use yellow tiles in ancient China.
Mount Wudang’s ancient architectural complexes became listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in December 1994. This cemented Mount Wudang’s place as one of China’s famous landmarks.