The veneration of heaven and heavenly bodies is the basis of many ancient beliefs and cultural traditions.
Heaven as the bearer of divine light and purity of thoughts was opposed to the earth with its troubles, illnesses and wars.
There was no exception to Ancient China, in which the Cult of Heaven became the cornerstone of religion and statehood.
Country covered by the sky
In many respects the definition of China as the Middle KingdomCountry originated from its location. Ancient China was isolated from the rest of the world by natural barriers - mountains in the west, seas in the east and southeast. And only from the north the land was opened to the innumerable hordes of nomads, constantly tormenting the peaceful population.
Gradually, the people formed the belief thatThe earth is a huge square, covered with a heavenly disk. But the corners of the square go beyond the boundaries of the firmament, and therefore these lands are inhabited by evil people who do not know the mercy of the gods. The earth over which the celestial disk was visible, and began to be called the Celestial (Tien Xia) - the chosen and kept by the gods.
Since the Celestial country was in the middle of the square, its other name was the Middle State (Zhong Guo).
Son of Heaven
According to the religious views of China, the rulerThe country was the representative of heaven on earth. To emphasize the divine origin of power, the Chinese emperor was called the Son of Heaven. Since the sky transferred its authority to only one person, the whole of the Celestial Empire was subordinate to him. The ruler commanded not only the earth, but also time - in the form of a calendar and chronology.
The Peace Center was at the court of the ChineseEmperor, and from him, as from the stone thrown into the water, the circles dispersed - the servants of the emperor, the common people, the vassal principalities, and finally, in the corners of the world - the barbarians. All barbarian rulers of the outlying lands were considered no more than vassals of the Chinese emperor.
As close as possible to the gods
The main cult buildings of Ancient ChinaEmphasized the proximity of the emperor to the heavenly vault. The palace of the ruler in Beijing, which was called the Forbidden City, consisted of 9,999 rooms, which was exactly one less than in the palace of the God of Heaven.
Ancestor of the Forbidden City - the majestic TempleThe sky is still the main shrine of the Chinese people. Here, in an especially difficult time for the country, the emperor could retire to meet with the gods. Such ceremonies lasted for two weeks and were accompanied by magnificent processions to hundreds of people, horses and battle elephants. In the Temple of Heaven the coronations of the emperors passed until the 20th century.
In times of his vassal dependence on ChinaJapan adopted from the Chinese culture the God-chosen sovereign ruler. In the Japanese state, the emperor began to be called the Son of the Sun, because behind the small island country the name "Country of the Rising Sun" was fixed by that time.
In the modern Chinese People's Republic, the term "Celestial" means the whole world, but in Russia it is still associated only with China.