Posted by Imperial Harvest on 24 November 2023
Estimated Reading Time: 5 mins
Every year, millions of tourists are captivated by the allure, mystique, and grandeur of the Temple of Heaven in Beijing. This expansive structure remains the largest building in Beijing and is renowned as the home of Imperial Feng Shui.
Our story begins at Mount Tai, also known as Taishan (泰山), regarded as the foremost mountain of the Five Sacred Mountains of China.
Dating to as early as the Shang dynasty (1600 to 1046 BC), successive emperors have made pilgrimages to this mountain, offering prayers for peace and prosperity. During that era, Taishan served as the sole altar for the elaborate and costly Fengshan (封禪) sacrifices, conducted on the summit and foot of the mountain to worship Heaven and Earth, respectively.
The spiritual and cultural significance of Taishan was so profound that numerous emperors opted to undergo enthronement ceremonies or commemorate significant events on its sacred grounds. Qin Shi Huang (秦始皇), the inaugural Emperor of China, notably proclaimed the unity of his empire in a sacred ceremony held on the summit at the Jade Emperor Peak.
Such was the spiritual and cultural importance of Taishan that many emperors chose to be enthroned here or to mark important occasions. For example, Qin Shi Huang (秦始皇), the first Emperor of China, proclaimed the unity of his empire in a sacred ceremony on the summit, at the Jade Emperor Peak.
When the Yongle Emperor of the Ming Dynasty established Beijing as the capital city of his empire, an entire city — including the Forbidden City and the Temple of Heaven — was constructed over a period of 13 years. Despite Taishan remaining the traditional birthplace of Heaven-Earth worship, it was symbolically relocated to the Temple of Heaven. The Seven Star Stone, representing the seven peaks of Taishan, was placed within the East Heaven Gate as a significant element of this symbolic transfer.
Given the sacred importance of the Temple of Heaven, it was meticulously planned, designed and constructed according to rigorous Imperial Feng Shui principles. Drawing on its divine power, the sovereign power of the Emperor was protected and amplified.
In accordance with the Confucian Records of Rites, the Temple of Heaven was constructed in the southern suburb of the capital based on principles of Yin and Yang, Heavenly Stems and Earthly Branches. This was further supported by I Ching — the Book of Changes — which prescribed a southern location to harness the beneficial Yang force of the universe.
The choice of the southern suburb of Beijing for the Temple of Heaven was guided by the concept of Yang. Utilising the 24 Mountain compass, the South-1 direction corresponds with Bing Fire (丙火) of the ten Heavenly Stems, concentrating all elements of Yang. This optimal positioning in the South-1 direction was deemed optimal for the construction of the Temple of Heaven, aligning with the principles of Imperial Feng Shui.
The Temple of Heaven is located just east of Beijing’s renowned central North-South axis, including Tiananmen, the Forbidden City, the Drum Tower, and the Bell Tower. Reflecting the concept of a circle symbolising Heaven and a square symbolising Earth, the temple exhibits this symbolism in its design. Notably, the northern wall forms a semicircle, while the remaining three walls enclose a square. The major buildings within the temple feature perfectly circular ground plans, situated within square yards, embodying the symbolic harmony of Heaven and Earth.
The Temple of Heaven features two significant altars: the Circular Mound Altar and the Hall of Prayer for Good Harvests. At the Circular Mound Altar, Ming and Qing emperors conducted sacrifices to express gratitude to Heaven and seek the prosperity of their empire.
The altar is approached through the Zhaoheng Gate, with its outer square wall representing Earth and inner circular wall representing Heaven. Built in accordance with the Rites of Zhou (周禮) and Imperial Feng Shui principles, the altar’s design incorporates sacred odd numbers, particularly the imperial number 9. This is in line with the belief that odd numbers held heavenly significance, the number 9, being the highest single-digit odd number, symbolised eternity and imperial authority. Consequently, the count of balusters, steps, and slabs all align with multiples of 9.
The structure stands at a height of five meters and is constructed on three concentric platforms. Surrounding each platform are marble balustrades adorned with intricately carved dragons.
At the centre of the altar lies the Heart of Heaven, also known as the Supreme Yang. This smooth stone dais slightly protrudes from the middle of the altar. During sacred rituals, the Emperor would stand on this stone, and the circular design of the altar would amplify their words, allowing them to echo reverently all the way to Heaven. Adjacent to the altar lies the Hall of Prayer for Good Harvests, a grand circular building symbolising the cosmic trinity of Heaven, Earth, and Human luck.
Linked by the Vermilion Steps Bridge, the hall served as the site for winter solstice worship, featuring a three-tiered roof and a caisson ceiling adorned with dragon and phoenix reliefs, representing the emperor and empress. The entire hall, constructed without nails, is supported by 28 pillars denoting seasons, months, and traditional Chinese hours.
The Imperial Harvest Bliss of Harvest jadeite ring collection is a celebration of more than 600 years since the completion of the renowned Temple of Heaven, showcasing our highest level of skill and craftsmanship.
Arguably the brand’s most iconic collection, the Bliss of Harvest ring pays homage to the renowned Hall of Prayer for Good Harvests within the Temple of Heaven. The collection exemplifies historic links between Imperial Harvest and our rich Imperial Feng Shui heritage and traditions.
The Imperial Harvest Bliss of Harvest collection was conceptualised by Master David, whose visionary guidance upholds the pinnacle of Imperial Feng Shui standards. The exquisite 18K solid rose gold rings — formulated from a proprietary blend of pure gold, copper, and silver — symbolise heaven, earth, and human elements, and stand as a testament to our commitment to excellence.
Over time, the lustrous rings develop a heightened beauty, mirroring the vibrant red tones found throughout the Temple of Heaven, a colour deeply synonymous with prosperity and auspiciousness.
Crowning each Bliss of Harvest ring is the finest jadeite cabochon, perfectly round, glistening and lustrous, resembling the gilded orb that tops the Hall of Prayer. It takes hours of finely honed craftsmanship to harvest the cabochon from a jadeite boulder, before shaping it to perfection and meticulous hand-polishing to accentuate the jadeite’s natural hues.
Elegant in form and robust in construction, the intricate tri-band design of the Bliss of Harvest collection takes its inspiration from the Hall of Prayer. Much like the Bliss of Harvest ring, the roof of the Hall of Prayer is formed of three circular tiers that build upon each other, rising to a crescendo and merging into one magnificent creation.
(Singapore Design Patent No.30202109016U)
Bearing a tasteful contrast of matte and mirror finishes, the first ring in the collection subtly draws reference from the harmonious existence of yin and yang – the combined essence of heaven and earth. Accented by four handcrafted screws placed equidistant from one another, this ring alludes to the four innermost pillars of the Hall of Prayer for Good Harvests.
(Singapore Design Patent No.30202109013S)
In contrast to the subtle elegance of the first Bliss of Harvest ring, the next addition to the Bliss of Harvest collection features a stunning diamond-studded inner band. The infinite luminescence of this design element serves as a source of inspiration for the imminent successes awaiting its destined owner, symbolising a future illuminated with hope and promise. The four structural pillars strategically positioned along the ring band mirror the configuration of the four inner pillars within the Hall of Prayer.
(Singapore Design Patent No.30202109015T)
A gleaming, hand-burnished mirror finish elegantly accentuates three distinct bands in this Bliss of Harvest ring. A tribute to the revered Hall of Prayer for Good Harvests, eight brilliant-cut diamonds form four pillars to represent the Hall of Prayer’s four innermost pillars. A recurring design theme throughout the collection, these four pillars form a captivating frame for the ring – alluding to both physical and metaphoric support.
(Singapore Design Patent No. 30202109011Q)
The Imperial Harvest Bliss of Harvest ring showcases a strikingly geometric design that resonates with the square yard where the Hall of Prayer stands. Drawing inspiration from the Chinese proverb, “Round Heaven and Square Earth” (天圆地方), this design symbolises the interconnected relationship between Heaven and Earth. A contrast between matte and mirror finishes brings a tasteful contemporary elegance, alluding to a harmonious balance between yin and yang.
(Singapore Design Patent No.30202109010V)
Rounding up the Imperial Harvest Bliss of Harvest collection, this ring features a minimalist yet abstract tri-band design that stands out from the previous four designs. Employing the art of perspective, this band achieves a unique aesthetic by seamlessly blending and folding into a structurally robust yet discerning tapestry that exudes a restrained sense of power.
Imperial Harvest’s expert consultants are always on hand to guide you on your journey and provide you with insights to help you realise your fullest potential. Book a complimentary consultation today or contact us at +65 91221826.
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