This is an extraordinary history. The Tang Dynasty (618-907) was then the most powerful on the earth. And in its centre was a building, the Daming Palace, the very embodiment of an express’s dreams and ambitions.
One day in 660, the imperial court painter Yan Liben received an urgent summons from the overwhelmingly powerful Empress Wu. She wanted a new palace and asked Yan to design it. The empress’ wish turned into a construction never ever seen before and after. The Empress paid attention to an unfinished building on the Dragon Head Height. The construction was suspended 30 years before it was named Daming Palace. As to its origin, according to the Old Tang Book, an imperial adviser suggested to the emperor Taizong building a new palace for his father Li Yuan to show his filial piety. The Daming Palace was originally built as a summer palace for the emperor’s father. However, the father died when its consruction entered its 2nd year. So the construction was suspended. In her Taiji Palace, after attending court affairs, Empress Wu must face the illness of his husband Li Zhi, who loved her beauty and talent. In a feudal dynasty dominated by man, the emperor granted court authority to his empress overtly. The dampness of the Taiji Palace worsened the emperor’s rheumatism. He also had bad eyesight, besides a perennial ache in his age. A high, open and sunny place might do good to his health. The empress hoped a new palace could help ease her husband’s pain. In Chang’an city, the highest place was the Dragon Head Height northeast of the Taiji Palace. Empress Wu herself was slos eager to move out of the Taiji Palace, which reminded her of too many bloody and painful happenings. Maybe a new palace was the only way to get rid of those nightmares. So, as instructed by the Empress Wu, the construction of the Daming Palace that suspended in 635 was resumed in 662.
In May 663, the emperor and empress couldn’t wait to move into the Daming Palace, which was yet to be completed. The imperial residence inherited from its previous dynasty was now replaced by the Daming Palace., which was accordingly called East Palace, and the Taiji Palace the West Palace.