The Forbidden City, or prestige through secrecy

What better example than the Forbidden City of Beijing (or Peking) to symbolize the culture of secrecy in order to guarantee prestige and authority?

Construction of the Forbidden City began in 1406, but it was not opened until 1420, when the Ming Dynasty established its power there.

→ The King’s Secret and the Black Cabinet

While it was customary for a new dynasty to occupy a new palace, the Qing Dynasty that succeeded the Ming chose to remain in the Forbidden City.

The Forbidden City occupies 720,000 square meters. One million workers are said to have worked on its construction.

Finally, it should be noted that the Forbidden City is still not fully public! It is estimated that 40% of the site remains closed to the public. Nowadays, it is mainly used as a museum.

Its full name means “Forbidden Purple City”. Cutting citizens off from places of power, making them opaque, can be an effective way to assuage authority.

This is probably why many places of power are still inaccessible to the public in our contemporary world. It would be interesting to study the accessibility of these places, according to the state regime: democratic, dictatorial, etc.

→ Quotes on Secrecy

→ Definitions of Secrecy