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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. In an eastern chamber in the hall, the dowager empresses Ci'an and Cixi held audiences with princes and ministers behind a silk screen during their regencies for the emperors Tongzhi and Guangxu, who both succeeded to the throne as children in the second half of the 19th century.