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One of the “Nine Great Gates” of ancient Beijing

(PEKING). Walled Entrance to the Forbidden City

Peking, ca.1880

Albumen print, 8 x 10 ½ inches.

A fine 19th century photograph of the Zhengyang Gate, one of the “nine great gates” of ancient Peking, taken from on top of the Tartar Wall.

This is a fine early photograph of the Zhengyang Gate, one of the “nine great gates” of ancient Peking, taken from an exceptional vantage point. The Zhengyang Gate was located at the front entrance of the Forbidden City during the Ming and Qing Dynasties and is commonly referred to as the Front Gate. The “nine great gates” of Peking were built in the reign of Ming Emperor Yongle.

This photograph taken from on top of the Tartar Wall offers a dramatic view of the dynamic daily life at one of great gates of Peking during late Imperial China. The gate was bustling with carts and the constant flow of traffic from local officials and merchants with their retinues.

$2,100