the forbidden palace


The fictional country of Xing in Fullmetal Alchemist is heavily inspired by the real-life country of China. From the weapons, food, flora, fauna, clothing, architecture and art, we can see the Chinese influence.

Xing is a country made of 50 clans, ruled by an Emperor. Similarly, China is a country made of 56 different ethnic groups, and had a monarchy for thousands of years until the end of the Qing dynasty in 1912. In Fullmetal Alchemist, we know three of the clans: Yao, Han, and Chang. The Yao (瑶族)is an acutal ethnicity in China that lives in the South and Southwest, with a population of 2 million. The Han (汉族)  is also an ethnicity, who are the majority of the Chinese, with a population of 1.2 billion and making up 92% of China’s population. The Chang clan is fictitious, however, from the Chinese translation, the clan’s name is “张”, a common Chinese last name, commonly transliterated as Zhang.

The form of alchemy, called alkahestry, in Fullmetal Alchemist is also likewise based on Chinese alchemy. Chinese alchemy is similar to Western alchemy as both seek to create gold from common base metals and finding the elixir of life. The elixifir of life was thought to be created from gold and cinnabar (mercuric sulfide). There is also a focus on herbal and medicinal treatments in Chinese alchemy.

Other forms of Chinese culture influencing the country of Xing is Ling’s dao sword, Xiao Mei the panda (pandas are only found in China), and Fu and Lan Fan’s masks, which resemble the masks used in Beijing Opera.


Forbidden City gives official response to “paranormal events”

The Forbidden City, for the first time, gave an official response to the so-called “paranormal events” which have been rumored to have taken place at the tourist site for years.

The official conclusion is that there are no ghosts in the ‪‎Forbidden City‬ and all the talk is simply rumors.

Over the past few years, though no one has seen a ghost or confirmed any paranormal activity, many Chinese people still believed there’s something “spooky” about the western part of the imperial structure. Even worse, online writers tend to use the western part of the Forbidden City as the setting of their ghost stories.

Trying to stop the tales of paranormal events, the Forbidden City declared that people who believe in the rumor had not been familiar enough with this part of history, and that all of the rumors will grind to a halt when the area opens on October 10.

An expert studying the Forbidden City said to a local newspaper that staff there had never seen any paranormal event at work and all of the tales were made up by people.

Since the official clarification was exposed, it has inspired Chinese netizens’ curiosity about the historical and mysterious palaces again.

“It is suggested that the Forbidden City should be open at night to let visitors verify if there are ghosts or not,” commented @Depengyou.

“The Forbidden City underwent hundreds of years, where conflicts and injustices frequently happened inside. Who knows if there are ghosts or not,” said @Xiamang_.

“Being invisible does not mean not existing. There exist invisible angles and blind spots for human eyes.” posted @Manki_517.

Built in 1420, the Forbidden City was ever home to 24 emperors in the Ming and Qing dynasties.


Beijing’s Forbidden City turns into winter wonderland

The stunning photographs of China’s Forbidden City blanketed with snow have captivated the Internet. The Palace Museum’s official Weibo account uploaded the series of images from today’s snowfall in Beijing.  

The flurries started to fall in Beijing since early morning on Sunday. All across the capital, people were seen posing for photographs at famous landmarks such as the Forbidden City, the Summer Palace and around the Shichahai Lake area.  

Though parts of Beijing looked like a winter wonderland after the snowfall, it is rare for the capital to experience heavy snowfall in November, the Beijing Youth Daily quoted meteorologist Li Huan’an as saying. Such snowfall was last reported in 2012 and before that in 2002.

China Meteorological Administration has forecasted precipitation and snow until Nov 22 for many parts of northern China, including Beijing, with more than 10 centimeters of snow cover.  

Due to safety concerns, schools in some of Beijing’s suburban districts will be suspended on Monday.


Lights illuminate Forbidden City

Next time you visit the Forbidden City, dim light will not stop you appreciating the glittering palaces and halls.

The Palace of Museum, located in the Forbidden City, introduced a new lighting system on Tuesday for the first time since it was established as a public space in 1925.

Around 120 lights have been fixed in six palaces and halls in the axis of the Forbidden City, including three main halls and three palaces in the Inner Court - the space of the imperial family.

Named “Lighting up History”, the project is aimed at giving visitors a better view of the interior of the former imperial palace. It will be continued until 2020, according to the administration of the museum.

Experts from the museum this year decided on the most appropriate kind of light to use, after multiple rounds of research and analysis on data from 2014 on sunlight and indoor beams.

All the lights installed are LED lights and excel in durability.  They give out a stronger beam than the average light, and are also characterized by both lower power consumption and lower temperature. To ensure the ancient structures and showcased antiques are fully protected, special ultraviolet proof filters have been installed on the lights.

The lights will be kept on during opening hours and will be adjusted to complement the changing sunlight.