North Gate of Baohedian
Huge Ramp carved with Cloud and Dragon design. In the center of the stairway outside the north gate of Baohedian, is a huge marble relief of nine vivid dragons playing on waves and in clouds, symbolizing the highly valued imperial power. Weighing about 259 tins, the marble slab is 16.57 meters long, 3.07 meters wide and 1.7 meters thick, and was the biggest stone carving in the Forbidden City. Sculptured originally in the Ming Dynasty, it was re-carved during the reign of Qing Emperor Qianlong. During these two dynasties, anyone who was caught touching this holy stone would receive the death penalty.
The huge stone was hauled from today’s Fangshan District. It was difficult to transport the huge stone at that time without any modern means of transportation. It had to be dragged along the ground in winter. Wells were dug every 500 meters and water was pumped out onto the road to ice it up, so that the stone could be slid over the ice. About 2,000 labor people were involved in this work.