“Hall of Prayer for Good Harvests”
“The Hall of Prayer for Good Harvests” is the symbol of Beijing. If you watched the 2008 Olympics, you saw it. There are lots of pictures of it on the Internet. Visiting it is a lot like the the Lincoln Memorial or “The Mona Lisa”, lots of people. This is a detail of the first of three roof levels. You reach this view after climbing three tiers of steps. There are 12 pillars like the two you see and the circumference is about 100 meters. These 12 pillars represent the 12 two hour periods in a day. Inside of them is a circle of 12 more pillars representing the 12 months. Finally, inside those are the 4 main pillars representing the 4 seasons. It is 39 meters high and 32 meters in diameter. I have no idea how many or what kinds of dragons and phoenixes are gilded on it. Here is the part that interests woodworkers. Except for the tile roof, the whole building is wood and no nail or metal fasteners were used, it’s all mortise and tenon. Hand cut. The wooden pillars are Nanmu which most think is cypress but it’s not, its deciduous. Like cypress though, it is rot resistant and grows straight. The Hall is visually overwhelming and I suspect it was intended to be.