Located between the Hall of Supreme Harmony (Taihe dian) and the Hall of Preserving Harmony (Baohe dian), the Hall of Central Harmony (Zhonghe dian) resembles the corridor that connected the front and rear halls of a grand palace building in ancient times. Built in early fifteenth century as part of the original design of the Forbidden City, it was named the Hall of Splendid Canopy (Huagai dian). After several conflagrations and reconstructions, it was renamed Hall of Central Supremacy by the Jiajing Emperor (r. 1522-1566). The current name was designated by the Shunzhi Emperor (r. 1644-1661) of the Qing dynasty (1644-1911), conveying the philosophy of using the Golden Mean to achieve universal peace and harmony.
The Hall of Central Harmony followed the architectural form of the ancient “bright hall” (ming tang). It is a square building with windows on four sides. Before presiding over grand ceremonies in the Hall of Supreme Harmony, the emperor received obeisance from his officials here. Before offering sacrifices to the ancestors, to heaven and to earth, he examined sacrificial writings and farm implements in this hall.