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The Hall was first built in the Ming dynasty and reconstructed in the Qing dynasty. From the 18th century onward, since the reign of the Yongzheng Emperor, the Hall became the living quarters of the Qing dynasty emperors. Three emperors died in the Hall. The building has a front hall and a rear hall, which served as the Emperor's bedroom. In the front hall, the Emperor discussed state affairs with his mandarins. From behind a screen in the Hall, Empress Dowager Cixi made decisions on state affairs in the name of the Tongzhi and Guangxu Emperors in the late 19th century and early 20th century.