Kuai Xiang

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Kuai Xiang (Chinese: 蒯祥; pinyin: Kuǎi Xiáng; 1398–1481) was a Chinese architect and engineer widely known as designer of the Forbidden City[1] and originator of the Xiangshan Carpenters. He was born in Xukou (Xiangshan), Wu County, Suzhou during the Ming Dynasty. When the Yongle Emperor decided to transfer the capital from Nanjing to Beijing in 1407, Kuai Xiang was ordered to design and construct the Forbidden City for him.

Kuai Xiang was in his early thirties when the Emperor commissioned him to design the Forbidden City. Kuai used the Imperial Palace in Nanjing as a model. He included features of palaces built during the Tang and Song dynasties into his design. He also drew from Confucian, Taoist, and traditional astronomical systems. This took Kuai several years, and the first palace and walls of the City were completed only after 13 years.[2]


  1. ^ "Ming: The Golden Empire on display at National Museum of Scotland". BBC. 25 June 2014. The Forbidden City's chief architect, Kuai Xiang, is actually painted on - he stands in front of the Gate of Heavenly Peace.
  2. ^ Shea, Marilyn. "Forbidden City - History". University of Maine at Farmington. Retrieved 4 February 2014. Emperor Yongle chose a young architect to design and oversee the construction. Kuai Xiang 蒯祥 (Kuǎi Xiáng) was in his early thirties when he began the work. He used the Imperial Palace in Nanjing as the base model and incorporated historical references to palaces built during the Tang and Song Dynasties. He referenced Confucian, Daoist, and traditional astronomical belief systems to create an expression of Chinese philosophy and belief systems. It took 13 years to complete the initial palace and walls. Through the centuries additions have been made to the original design of the Forbidden City, but the heart of the palace is that of Yongle and Kuai Xiang.

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