This Chinese plan of Peking shows a city little changed since 1421, when the Ming Emperor Yung-lo planned his imperial capital. The map appears to be a close copy of one made in 1829 to accompany A description of Peking by Father Hyacinth Bitchurin of the Russian Ecclesiastical Mission.
The Chinese, or southern, city can be seen separated by a wall from the Tatar, or northern, city. Within the Tatar city, surrounded by a wall (coloured red) is the Imperial City, and at the centre the Forbidden City (coloured yellow). Government offices are shaded yellow, palaces and great houses pink. By the southern wall of the Chinese city can be seen the Temple of Agriculture (left) and the Temple of Heaven (right), their walls curved to deflect evil spirits from the north. The legation quarter, besieged for 55 days during the Boxer Rebellion, was established in 1860 and is visible, shaded grey, bottom right of the Forbidden City.
- Article by:
- James Elliot
- Transforming topography, Town and city
James Elliot explores the development of town plans through technical and social change during the 19th century.