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Empress Wu Zetian
The only woman to have ruled China in her own right was Empress Wu Zetian. Other Empresses rose to great power but they tended to do that from 'behind the curtain'. The dangerous precedent of an Empress caused her life and achievements to be somewhat distorted by later historians. As far as can be gathered she seemed to have ruled wisely if autocratically. Her downfall was due to infatuation with two young men who rose to great power and influence. Read More
Temple of Heaven
The Temple of Heaven served a particularly important purpose in Imperial China. The Emperor as Son of Heaven had to perform rituals at New Year and start of Spring to ensure the good fortune of the year ahead. He would plough a ritual furrow to indicate the start of the agricultural year. The Temple of Heaven is round - symbolizing the circular vault of heaven set in a square park - symbolizing the square, flat earth. The Imperial number nine was extensively used in its construction. Read More
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