Site Visit: Forbidden City

On March 23, 2018 the Yenching Academy visited the Forbidden City, a Ming and Qing Dynasty palace-complex located in the center of Beijing. With the help of a Peking University PhD student that has spent six years interning at the Forbidden City, the students were given in-depth information about the landmark’s historical significance.


The tour began with a hands-on engagement session. During the session, a volunteer from the Forbidden city gave the students a twenty minute presentation on the Eight Banners system and its importance as a military/administrative division system in Qing Dynasty. After the presentation was finished, the students were given the opportunity to design their own military banner dolls. Each doll represented a separate military banner. The students felt that this activity was not only informative, but also, fun and relaxing.


After the engagement session concluded, students were given a guided tour of the Forbidden City. As the students walked around the landmark, they were provided information on each building’s significance and function. The students were also welcomed to ask questions during the tour.  A number of students were curious as to the layout of the Forbidden City and what type of people were allowed to enter it during the Qing Dynasty. They were informed that very few people were allowed to enter the Forbidden City and that each entrance was reserved for a specific class of person.


All in all, the students enjoyed their experience. Many students said that they had come to the Forbidden City before, but they thought that this session offered more in-depth insight than their previous visit. A number of students remarked that they’d learned new information that would help inform their study as China scholars.


By Alexandria Williams