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Cloud Pillar

Beijing's Tian'anmen, literally, Gate of Heavenly Peace, was the principal entry to the Imperial Palace during the Ming and Qing dynasties in China's history. It is one of the finest monumental gates in the world, extraordinary for its imposing size. cloud pillar (ornamental column), stone lions and white marble bridges decorate the front. One of the more unusual features of Tian'anmen is a pair of 10-meter-high white marble columns (Cloud Pillars) topped by a dish for collecting dew. A carved stone animal known as a heaven-gazing hou(a small, lion-like legendary creature) squats inside each dish. These dishes were used to catch the jade dew imbibed by the emperor to ensure long life. According to the legend. The heaven-gazing hou watched over the emperor's activities when he was away from the palace, hoping he would not overindulge in his pleasures.
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