Thursday, April 12, 2012

The Forbidden City

The Last Emperor Theme by David Byrne played in my mind as I walked into the Forbidden City for the very first time. So affective was the composition that I’d almost descended the stairs of the Gate of Supreme Harmony to its rhythm.

The city, or palace, was built during the Ming dynasty, centuries before the adjacent Tiananmen Square materialized. A huge portrait of Chairman Mao hangs high at the south entrance, or the Heavenly Peace Gate, overlooking the square.

In the inner city, it’s a step back into imperial China, more specifically, the Ming and Qing dynasties. The opulent, now unoccupied halls and rooms leave a lot to the imagination. Distancing myself from the boisterous tourists, I was left pensive; thinking of the intricate lives lived behind these protective yet restraining walls.

At the age of eight, The Last Emperor wasn’t of any interest to me. Though award-winning, I couldn’t sit through the whole movie. Now, with better understanding of its colourful past, I think I can...with much enthusiasm.