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The Taiji Palace complex

Ancient palace ruins unearthed in China

Archaeologists have uncovered the ruins of an ancient imperial palace in Henan Province, China, dating back at least 1,700 years.  According to historical records, the Taiji Palace was built by Emperor Ming of the Wei State during the Three Kingdoms in 235 AD, and was used as the major palace in the capital city.

The discovery follows three years of consecutive excavation work carried out by the archaeological research institute of the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences.  A set of new technologies and measures, including three dimensional scanning and image restoration, were used during the exploration and excavation.

Liu Tao, a research with the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences said the Taiji Palace complex covers 6,000 square meters and was the centre of the ancient capital city of Luoyang in the Han Dynasty (206 BC-220 AD) and the Wei State during the Three Kingdoms period (220-280).

The palace marked a new era in the construction of ancient Chinese capital cities.  It was the first time that ancient capital cities were built in an axial structure with the main palace in the centre, symbolising the supremacy of imperial power. Previously, ancient capitals were built with multiple imperial palaces.

The most important imperial activities were carried out there, such as the New Year celebration, the enthronement of new emperors, and political decision making. Emperor Ming, who commissioned the palace, was well known for being a support of the arts and architecture. He devoted many resources into building palaces and ancestral temples.  The Taiji palace may well have been one of his greatest works.

The excavation work has not yet been completed as archaeologists are still working to unearth the annex of the palace.

Featured image:  The Taiji Palace complex ruins discovered in Henan province. Photo source .

By April Holloway

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