National Geographic : 1960 Aug
KODACHROMESBY BRIAN BRAKE, MAGNUM© NATIONALGEOGRAPHICSOCIETY Tile Figures to Repel Demons Decorate Golden Roofs of the Imperial Palaces Long years of Japanese occupation and civil strife left their mark on the five-century-old gates and pavilions of the Forbidden City. The Commu nist government has restored most of the structures to their original luster. Figures on the eaves represent the entourage of Prince Min, a petty ty rant notorious for his cruelty. These intricate carvings contrast with the bold sweep of Peking's new buildings (opposite). 208 Vast floor and soaring balconies of the Great Hall of the People seat 10,000. Curving rows of desks hold earphones for simultaneous trans lation of speeches. Communism's huge red star decorates the 100-foot-high domed ceiling. Rushed to completion in 10 months, the hall provides a setting for operas, concerts, and political meetings. Bearded elder with arms bent takes his morn ing exercise. Tradition dictates each movement in T'ai-chi ch'iian, a slow-motion drill of ancient origin. Devotees concentrate on maintaining per fect balance while flexing their muscles and shift ing from one stylized position to another. Once performed only by older men, the practice is gaining favor with younger people. China's rulers make a fetish of physical fitness. Twice a day loud-speakers call on everyone in shops, schools, and offices to stop work and exe cute setting-up exercises. "Train for 10 minutes every day," the people are told, "and you'll be able to serve the cause of socialism for 10 addi tional years."