The structure symbolism in Temple of Heaven

structure symbolism in temple of heaven

The Temple of Heaven in Beijing, China, is not only a magnificent architectural masterpiece but also a site of great symbolic significance. The structure symbolism of the temple reflects the traditional Chinese beliefs and values related to the relationship between heaven and earth and the harmony between nature and humans. Here are some of the main structure symbolisms of the Temple of Heaven:

Circular design: The Temple of Heaven is designed with a circular shape, which represents the concept of heaven in Chinese philosophy. The round shape symbolizes the infinite and eternal nature of the universe and the cosmos.

Three-tiered structure: The main building in the complex, the Hall of Prayer for Good Harvests, has three tiers, which represent the three realms of heaven, earth, and humanity. The three tiers also symbolize the three virtues of Confucianism: compassion, wisdom, and courage.

Color symbolism: The Temple of Heaven is decorated with colorful paintings and tiles that have symbolic meanings. The roof of the Hall of Prayer for Good Harvests is blue, which represents the sky and the color of the heavens. The Imperial Vault of Heaven has a green roof, which symbolizes the earth and the color of vegetation. The Circular Mound Altar has a white marble balustrade, which symbolizes purity and spiritual enlightenment.

Number symbolism: The Temple of Heaven has numerous symbolic numbers. For example, the Circular Mound Altar has 9 concentric rings of stones, which represent the 9 levels of heaven. The center stone, which is surrounded by the rings, symbolizes the emperor as the center of the universe. The number 9 is considered a lucky number in Chinese culture and represents good fortune, completeness, and eternity.

Material symbolism: The materials used to construct the Temple of Heaven are also symbolic. The wooden structures represent the natural world and the balance between humanity and nature. The bricks used in the Imperial Vault of Heaven represent the earth and the stability of the universe.

In summary, the Temple of Heaven’s structure symbolism reflects traditional Chinese beliefs and values. The combination of the circular design, three-tiered structure, color symbolism, number symbolism, and material symbolism creates a powerful and meaningful architectural masterpiece.

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