HUABIAO and WANGJUNGUI and WANGJUNCHU
A well-known architectural ornament in China is the huabiao, often seen on the grounds of palaces, imperial gardens and mausoleums. It is also seen at some crossroads to mark the throroughfares.
There is a pair of such ornamental pillars carved out of marble standing in front and behind Tian'anmen, the Gate of Heavenly Peace, at the centre of Beijing. Each pillar, entwined by a divine dragon engraved in relief, carried a plate on top called CHENGLUPAN for collecting dewŁ¬on which squats an animal called kong. This creature in Chinese mythology is supposed to be born of the dragon and good at keeping watch. It is generally referred to as the "stone lion." The four kong at Tian'anmen have different names, the two in front facing south and with their backs to the wall are called wangjungui or "looking out for the emperor's return." Their duty, it is said, was to watch over the emperor's excursions and call him back if he was too long absent from the palace. The couple inside the gate facing north are called wangjunchu or "looking out for the emperor's progress," and their job was to supervise how the emperor behaved in the imperial palace. If he should indulge himself and neglect court affairs, the stone lions would remind him of his duties and tell him to go out among the people.
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These popular explanations reflected the naive wishes of the people for an emperor who would listen to advice and work really for their good.
The huabiao has a long history behind it and can be traced back to Yao and Shun, lengendary sage kings in remote times. to solicit public criticism, it is said, they erected wooden crosses at marketplaces so that the people might write their complaints and wishes on them. These wooden posts were replaced during the Han Dynasty (206 B.C.-- 220 A.D.) by stone pillars, which grew more and more decorative and ornately carved until they became the sumptuous columns to palace gates.