Qingning Palace


Qingning Palace, built during the reign of Tiancong of the Later Jin Dynasty (1627-1636), is a building with a five-bay-width front, a flush gable roof, and front and rear porches. With a gate open in the eastern side bay, it is commonly known as the Pocket House, and in it is a kang (a traditional heated platform for general living, working, entertaining, and sleeping) connecting the southern, western, and northern sides of the palace, whereas in the middle is a place for shamans’ sacrificial ceremonies. In addition, Huang Taiji handled ruling affairs and held banquets to entertain important guests here. The Eastern Branch Room was the residence of Huang Taiji and his empress Zhezhe. In 1643, Huang Taiji “passed away without any illness while sitting” in the East Chamber of Warmth at the age of 52. In the courtyard facing the gate of Qingning Palace towers the Sauron pole, a divine pole with a height of nearly four meters and an object of worship during a sacrifice for heaven held in the palaces of the Qing Dynasty. 

The residence area in which the Qingning Palace is located sits on a platform with a height of 3.8 meters, as opposed to the Chongzheng Hall built on a flat ground, resulting in a situation where the residence area is located higher than the ruling palace. This is an architectural form following the Manchu customs in which tribal leaders lived on higher grounds in the mountainous areas.