I visited Tsinghua University in Beijing in December (2012), gave a lecture on Stochastic Methods in Finance, and served as a panelist at the finals of the Yau High School Mathematics Awards (YHMA), an event which is chaired by professor Shing-Tung Yau of Harvard University.
My colleagues on the panel were a mix of mathematicians from China, the US and Europe. There were 17 teams of students in the finals, with 1, 2, or 3 students in each team. Most of the students were from China, although there were also a few from Singapore and the US. They had been selected for the finals from a much larger pool of, I believe, 400 teams. Each team had written a research paper in either pure or applied mathematics. The teams made presentations and took questions from the panel, all in beautiful English.
Most pictures of the Forbidden City and the Temple of Heaven that you find on the net are taken in the summer. Here is what those sites look like in December.
The Forbidden City
Approaching the southern gate.
Two bronze lions stand in front of the Gate of Supreme Harmony, a male and a female. This one is the male.
Bronze tortoise in front of the Palace of Heavenly Purity.
Bronze crane in front of the Palace of Heavenly Purity.
Stone carving, covered in snow.
Two bronze Ding. According to The Palace Museum,
The Ding was a cooking vessel developed during the Bronze Age that stood on three legs. Fire could be placed under the Ding to heat the food. Gradually, Ding became ceremonial vessels and were engraved or embossed with elaborate inscriptions and designs. They became a symbol of sacrifice and power.
I have no idea why “Ding” is capitalized.
Interior of the Hall of Celestial Purity. The imperial throne.
Interior of the Hall of Celestial and Terrestrial Union. Curiously exposed to the elements. That is both snow and sunlight in the foreground.
I believe this is the last emperor’s bedroom where he would entertain his wives. Or else it was only for wedding nights. Which were numerous. Seen through a large window. I wonder whether the window was also there back when the bedroom was in use.
Moat at the northern wall of the Forbidden City.