You are welcomed into the China Pavilion by a ceremonial gateway that translates Gate of the Golden Sun. It’s based on a similar gateway at the Emperor’s summer palace near Beijing. It is a triple gateway because the number three is important for luck in Chinese numerology. The Hall of Prayer for Good Harvest is a half-scale version of the original. The original Hall of Prayer for Good Harvest in Beijing sits on a three-tiered marble terrace. Its construction began in 1420 and it has been visited by all emperors since. The building is held together through carpentry alone; there are no nails. Pre-dating Taoism, it was built for the worship of Heaven, from where the Emperor was believed to have come. Visitors approach on a long walkway that increases in height as they get closer. In ancient times the Emperor would enter the Hall of Prayer wearing a special robe and would abstain from meat. He would then personally pray that Heaven would bless the coming harvest. The ceremony had to be done without error, as the slightest mistake could be a bad omen for the next year for the whole nation. When you enter the Temple of Heaven at Epcot’s version of the Hall, you will see the same architectural details, albeit half the size of the original. Heaven is signified by circles and Earth by squares. You will see the round motif repeated throughout the building. You may notice upon entering that the floor has tiles laid in a circular pattern, but then your eyes will be drawn to the dramatic ceiling. In the center there is a round gold medallion. On the medallion are images of a dragon and a phoenix, which are both important in Chinese culture. The dragon represents power, while the phoenix represents peace and prosperity. Together, they represent marriage. Step onto the center of the floor, look up at the medallion, say something in your normal voice range, and listen! This Hall of Prayer has other agricultural representations, such as the 12 exterior columns representing both the 12 months of the year and the 12-year cycle of Chinese culture. The four interior columns represent the four seasons. Moving farther inside you will find several rows of seats where you will wait to enter Reflections of China and the Tomb Warriors exhibit. The red seen throughout the pavilion represents happiness in Chinese culture, and the gold represents the Emperor. The blue tiled roof is common for Taoist temples. The street outside leading to the rear of the pavilion is the Street of Good Fortune. Enjoy all the crowded shop fronts as you stroll down the street. Many architectural styles are represented. Notice the upper levels, statues, unique lighting, and giant bell on display. Nine Dragons Restaurant is at the front of the pavilion on the left. On the corner of the roof there are clay sculptures. One is of a man riding atop a hen, which represents Prince Min, a harsh 3rd century ruler who was hated and eventually hanged for his cruelty. It has become a tradition to feature him as a warning to others who would seek to lead that tyranny will not be tolerated. The other animals are there to keep Min from getting away.
Photo Gallery Architecture and Gardens China Pavilion
Architecture and Gardens China Pavilion Images