Photo Gallery

Chaotian Palace (established Ming era, rebuilt late 1800s onward)

This palace was built on the site of a Tang-era town that was famous for its swords. When the first Ming emperor, Hong Wu, made Nanjing his capital, a palace was built on this site. It was used primarily by members of the �royalty� for veneration of ancestors and for the training of their children in court manners and court ceremony. The palace was burned down along with much of the rest of Nanjing during the struggle for succession to the throne after Hong Wu�s death and was rebuilt for use as a Confucian academy and temple. It must have been a semi-private one, because the official state temple to Confucius was the one now called Fuzimiao by the banks of the Qinghuai River. It was not uncommon for such academies to be built by extended clans and other organizations to educate promising young scholars in preparation for the civil service exams. The complex was used as the palace of Yang Xiuqing, who was given the title of �King of the West� during the Taiping occupation of Nanjing beginning in 1853. It was later burned down when the Qing army retook Nanjing in 1864. The current buildings date from the late 1800�s, though they have been renovated and restored since then. The main hall of the temple, which was used as a library and formal classroom, is now used to house the Museum of the Six Dynasties. The back hall, which housed the spirit tablets of Confucius and other important sages and where the veneration ceremonies were performed, is closed

Map of Chaotian

Above: Plan of Xiaoling Tomb. (scale unknown).
Plan redrawn using information from In Search of Old Nanking, by Barry Till (see below).


All images copyright 2001 Professor Kerk L. Phillips of Brigham Young University, Utah, USA

Boyd, Andrew. Chinese Architecture and Town Planning: 1500 B.C. - A.D. 1911
  Holmesdale Press Ltd, 1962. London

Visit Kerk L. Phillips' website at

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