Altar of Earth

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Altar of Earth. A structure built to the north of the old Inner City of Beijing (Peking) in 1530 CE, as a counterpart in symmetrical relationship to the Altar of Heaven in the south. The original name of the complex was fang tse (literally, ‘square watery place’) altar, indicating that Sovereign Earth, worshipped there by late Ming and Chʾing emperors on the summer solstice, was conceived as the chthonic spirit which ruled over the entire sublunary world, and thus the counterpart of Heaven.