Imperial College


Beijing, China

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Artist's Description

This continues to be one of my favorite spots in Beijing, China along with the Confucius Temple next door. I ended up going there twice this week, in the cold, and enjoyed both times. It is serene, beautiful, and permeates with the spirit of all the students who passed through here, studying hard to achieve in their lives (sometimes as many as 13,000 at a time). China was the first country in the world to develop a national exam that anyone could take to earn a government job instead of only being given to those born into it.

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Beijing’s Guozijian Imperial College in Guozijian Street, originally built in CE 1306 in the 10th year of the Dade (CE 1297-1307) reign of Emperor Chengzong of the Yuan (CE 1279-1368) Dynasty, was China’s highest-ranking and most prestigious national educational institution for over 600 years, spanning a period of three dynasties: the Yuan, Ming (CE 1368-1644) and Qing (CE 1644-1911) Dynasties.

The college’s main entrance, Jixian (“Gathering of Virtuous People”) Gate, its glazed-roof memorial archway, Taixue Gate, its main building, Piyong (where the emperor traditionally gave a lecture each year), its Yilun Hall and Jingyi Pavilion all form a central axis. On either side of this main axis are distributed four chambers and six halls, following the traditional Chinese symmetrical layout. Guozijian Street is lined on both sides by large Japanese pagoda trees (Sophora japonica). The street is further special in that it has a painted archway at either end, and a painted archway on either side of the main gate, making it the only street in Beijing, if not in all of China, adorned in this unique manner.

Beijing’s Guozijian Imperial College is the last remaining university dating from China’s ancient past that is still under the direct administration of the central government.

I is for Imperial College, taken Jan. 15, 2010
Canon 7D

Featured in Unique Buildings of the World, 12 Great Features-Challenge Themes Only and True Colors of Asia

Artwork Comments

  • John  Kowalski
  • KLiu
  • Anthony Mancuso
  • KLiu
  • Linda Sparks
  • KLiu
  • Bob Culshaw
  • KLiu
  • Cat2be
  • KLiu
  • Donna Adamski
  • Dean Mucha
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