Imperial Vault of Heaven
The complex was originally built during the Ming Dynasty, by the Emperor Yongle.This is one of several buildings in the Temple of Heaven complex in Beijing. During the Winter Solstice, many important ceremonies took place in the Temple of Heaven complex.
On Dec 20th each year, the emperor presented incense in this building which housed the shrine for the tablet of the God of Heaven. Tablets of the emperor's eight ancestors were also kept here. During the Winter Solstice, these tablets were moved to the nearby circular mound for the Worshipping of Heaven ceremony.
There were other tablets used in the ceremonies stored here, including the tablets of the Gods of Gold, God of Moon, God of Cloud, God of Rain, God of Wind, God of Thunder, as well as tablets of the Gods of the Sun, God of the Big Dipper, God of Wood, Fire, Earth, Metal, Water, God of 28 Constellations, and God of Stars. There were also depictions of the Buddha.
The building does not have any horizontal beams as support. The entire building is supported by 8 pillars and a span-work of bars, laths and brackets. This building was originally built in 1520.