Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Gilded bronze guard lion Forbidden City, Beijing.China

Gilded bronze guard lion Forbidden City, Beijing.ChinaThe Forbidden City at Beijing. Image ID: mvey0529, NOAA's Small World Collection. Location: People's Republic of China. Photo Date: 1979 Fall. Photographer: George Saxton, NESDIS, NOAA.

Gilded bronze guard lion outside of the Gate of Celestial Purity (Qianqingmen), entrance to the Inner Court, Forbidden City, Beijing.China.
The imperial palace complex Beijing, China. Was commissioned in 1406 by the Yongle emperor of the Ming dynasty, it was first occupied in 1420. It is known as "The Forbidden City" because access was denied to most subjects.

Lions in the Forbidden City occur in pairs, the female with cub symbolizing fertility of the royal family. The male with orb, representing the imperial power.

Bronze lions in front of a residence identify the occupant as an official. First rank officials have lions with 13 bumps on their heads. These decrease with the official's rank, eight being the least number of bumps on the head. Officials of rank seven and below were not allowed lions at their gates.

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Credit: National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration/Department of Commerce unless otherwise instructed to give credit to the photographer or other source. NOAA Photo Library

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