A black-and-white photograph showing the tree-lined Qinian Hall (Qiniandian 祈年殿), which literally means “Hall of Annual Prayers”. It is the oldest and most important hall in the Temple of Heaven (Tiantan 天壇) complex in Beijing. It was built in 1420 by the Yongle emperor (reigned 1402–1424). Here the emperors of the Ming and Qing dynasties held heaven-worshipping rites twice a year. In Qinian Hall, on the day of the summer solstice, the emperor made offerings to Heaven and ancestors and asked for favours for the coming six months. The hall is often referred to as the “Hall of Prayer for a Good Harvest”.
The photograph is the 220th of 449 photographs of Beijing and its surroundings in the album of Ivan Skušek Jr., purchased during his stay in Beijing (1914–1920). In the handwritten inventory of the album, the photograph is referred to as Blauer Tempel: Hauptgebäude. (DZ, MV)