The Hall of Supreme Harmony (Taihe dian) is the most dignified building in the Forbidden City, and is commonly referred to as the Hall of Golden Chimes (Jinluan dian). Built in the early fifteenth century (the Yongle reign), it was burned to the ground within months of its dedication. The Jiajing Emperor (r. 1522-1566) renamed it the Hall of Imperial Supremacy (Huangji dian), and upon making Beijing their capital, the Qing rulers quickly changed to the present name. Its name reflects the significant sociopolitical ideal of universal harmony under haven. The current building was reconstructed during the Kangxi era (1662-1722).
The Hall of Supreme Harmony sits in the center of the Forbidden City, on the Imperial Way (yu lu) – the remarkable section of the invisible central axis of the city. As the Imperial Way ascends the white marble three-tiered terrace it is carved with dragon patterns that extend all the way through the throne hall. During grand rituals or ceremonies, the emperor ascended the throne to imperial music, inspecting the empire as far as he could, receiving greetings and congratulations from his subjects.
The Hall of Supreme Harmony is the largest hall in the Forbidden City, and architecturally the highest-ranking building of the surviving traditional architecture in China. Golden dragon designs dominate the hall's exterior and interior décor. The ten figurines at each of its roof corners distinguish it as superior to other ancient buildings.