Manusya, Journal of Humanities

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The Chinese three-tiered stage Pleasant Sound Pavilion (Chàngyīn Ge 暢音閣) in the Forbidden City is the only ?three-tiered stage? chόngtái sānceng 崇臺三層 (or the ?linked performance stage? lián xìtái 連戲臺) still in existence. It was an innovation of Chinese architecture that reflected the heyday of court theater during the reign of Qianlong (1736?96). This three-tiered stage mirrored the ingenuity of the Qing court theater. How a three-tiered stage like the Pleasant Sound Pavilion was brought to life is quite interesting. It was a synthesis of highly developed traditional Chinese architectural forms and innovations of Western theater, aided by advances in science in the Qing period. However, most importantly, it stemmed from the Emperor Qianlong?s personal passion for Chinese theater. My goal is to analyze the genesis of this extant three-tiered stage and use it as a way to understand traditional Chinese architecture and its ingenuity in the reign of Qianlong, as well as to comprehend characteristics of court theater during this era.

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