Jade Deer-Hunting Ode Album in Qianlong Emperor's Hand
"In times of peace, do not forget to be ready for war".
A hall for archery was first built in front of the Hall for Ancestral Worship (Fengxian dian) during the reign of the Shunzhi Emperor (r. 1644-1661) in the early Qing, when mounted archers were brought into the core of the dynasty's military forces. The Kangxi Emperor (r. 1662-1722) later led his sons and those bodyguards who were skilled archers to shoot arrows here. The hall was then transformed into the Archery Pavilion (Jian ting) during the subsequent Yongzheng reign (1723-1735), following which the Qianlong Emperor (r. 1736-1795) summoned the best candidates of the impeiral military examination here and presided over final examinationsfor archers and horsemen. During the later Jiaqing reign (1796-1820), candidates for the final stages of the imperial military examiniation were tested outside the Pavilion of the Purple Light (Ziguang ge), while the Archery Pavilion saw tests of archery, blade, and stone dumbbell.
The Qianlong and Jiaqing Emperors had the slogan "Speak the Manchu language, practice archery and riding" inscribed on a stone tablet erected in the pavilion.
Thus the last great age of bows and arrows began.
The Qianlong Emperor Attacking Tiger (Detail)