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Notes on the Geography of China: Beijing: Imperial Palaces: Photo 6

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This palace, on the other hand, is open, and it's probably the most imposing of the flanking palaces. At the southeast corner of the Inner Court, this Hall of Imperial Supremacy (Huangjidian) was the home of the Qianlong Emperor after his retirement in 1795. At the age of 84 and after a reign of 60 years, he retired in the manner, one might say, of Singapore's Lee Kuan Yew, which is to say that he remained very influential, even though his son was now the emperor. In layout and ornament, this palace echoes the Hall of Supreme Harmony. Note, however, that it rests on a single Sumeru terrace, not three.

Occupied for only four years before the Qianlong Emperor died, the hall was abandoned for a century, until the famous dowager empress Cixi began using it during 1889 as a reception hall. She herself lived in a more modest building behind it.

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