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Beijing Postcards: Five Things You Didn’t Know About Tiananmen

On October 9, Beijing Postcards will be hosting “The Story of Tiananmen, Gate of Heavenly Peace,” at The Bookworm. Drawing on historical photographs and extensive research, the Beijing Postcards team will peel back the surface of one of the world’s most recognizable public spaces.

Check here for more information about the event, including ticketing.

Here, Beijing Postcards’ Lars Ulrich gives a sneak peek.

By Lars Ulrich

Every body knows Tiananmen gate. The imperial gate with Mao’s picture on is probably the most defining piece of architecture in the city of Beijing. Nevertheless there is a lot to the Tiananmen gate that is not commonly known. Below is 5 things you might not know about the gate of heavenly peace :

1. When the yellow glazed tiles on the roof of Tiananmen were replaced in 1969 the symbol on the tiles was changed from the Imperial dragon to a sunflower. New China wished in this way to free itself from its Feudal past.

2. Mao was not the first leader of China to hang on Tiananmen gate in fact his arch enemy Chiang Kai-Shek hung there from 1945 to 1948 and before him Sun Yat-Sen had also hung on the outer walls of Tiananmen.

3. After Liberation in 1949 Mao’s picture did not hang permanently on the gate. It was only on special occasions like May 1 or Oct 1 that chairman Mao’s picture was hung on the wall.

4. When Mao’s picture started hanging permanently on the gate at the start of the Cultural Revolution. His portrait was displayed on both sides of the Gate. Not only on the South side like today

5. After Mao announced the establishment of the communist republic of China from Tiananmen. Mao and the gate became inseparable. During the Cultural revolution when the Mao cult was at its highest Tiananmen was completely torn down and rebuild This was probably done in order to further emphasize the importance of this single piece of architecture from where the New China proclaimed. The new Tiananmen is actually just about a meter than the original one.

 

 

 

 

 

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