The supreme power belonged to the emperor, whom the Chinese called the “Son of Heaven.” His will was for them the law. He lived in the greatest luxury – he had dozens, or even hundreds of palaces, thousands of servants, musicians, concubines. Nevertheless, in the midst of a fierce struggle for power, not many emperors died with their own deaths.
The Chinese emperor rather resembled the Pope than the European monarch. He was supposed to “sit silently on the throne – and no more.” Its main duty was to perform the ritual associated with the cult of Heaven, in order to provide the subjects with peace and prosperity. He did not lead the army in campaigns – it was done by his generals.
In the XV century. Emperor Yongle moved his capital to
The Chinese emperor was symbolized by a mythical dragon. The Chinese, unlike the Europeans, considered the dragon to be kind and useful for people. He, he says, brings rain and saves from drought. The Chinese even celebrated the Dragon Festival every year.
From the prayer of the Emperor Daoguang to Heaven in connection with the drought in the country
My sins are multiplying day by day, there is little sincerity and reverence in me – this is the only reason for the drought that has struck the country. I feel compelled to consider my behavior and my misdeeds… I ask myself: did I not carelessly treat sacrifices? Has my pride crept into me and the love of luxury? Has not I, since some time, neglected the affairs of state administration and become unable to treat them with due attention and diligence? Striking the brow, I pray the royal Heaven – hasten to send beneficent rain, hasten to save the lives of the people and, as far as possible, forgive my injustices.
The cumbersome state apparatus in China was a heavy burden on the shoulders of the people. The ubiquitous officials became so ordinary that the Chinese even considered the underground world as a kind of chancery.