Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Happymaking in the Forbidden City

Bringing a mysterious city to life and exploring the forbidden city was one of my dreams as a child..maybe right before starting to play Tomb Raider and getting distracted with Egyptian pyramids and artifacts from Latin America ;-) However the Chinese history and stories remain some of my interests. And today I get the chance to have some happymaking in the Forbidden City of Beijing. How cool can that be? A place I could never visit, a place closed to visitors and not available in any virtual games that could make an explorer and treasure hunter happy.

And as a lucky combination or maybe faith?! IBM made that happen:-) Yes, my IBM made a Virtual Forbidden City (check the video below).

Some interesting facts about the Forbidden City:
  • the construction lasted 15 years, and required more than a million workers
  • The common English name, "the Forbidden City," is a translation of the Chinese name Zijin Cheng ( literally "Purple Forbidden City"). Zi, or "Purple", refers to the North Star, which in ancient China was called the Ziwei Star, and in traditional Chinese astrology was the abode of the Celestial Emperor. The surrounding celestial region, the Ziwei Enclosure (Chinese: ), was the realm of the Celestial Emperor and his family. The Forbidden City, as the residence of the terrestrial emperor, was its earthly counterpart. Jin, or "Forbidden", referred to the fact that no-one could enter or leave the palace without the emperor's permission. Cheng means a walled city.

  • Yellow is the colour of the Emperor. Thus almost all roofs in the Forbidden City bear yellow glazed tiles. There are only two exceptions. The library at the Pavilion of Literary Profundity () had black tiles because black was associated with water, and thus fire-prevention. Similarly, the Crown Prince's residences have green tiles because green was associated with wood, and thus growth
  • The central gateway is part of the Imperial Way, a stone flagged path that forms the central axis of the Forbidden City and the ancient city of Beijing itself, and leads all the way from the Gate of China in the south to Jingshan in the north. Only the Emperor may walk or ride on the Imperial Way, except for the Empress on the occasion of her wedding, and successful students after the Imperial Examination (now imagine yourself walking around like an emperor ;-))
Planning to take a tour? Then check the next event in the VFC:
On 28 and 29 April, IBM is offering a select group of IT specialists the opportunity to participate in an exclusive SOA tour being held using its acclaimed virtual world, The Forbidden City: Beyond Space and Time <http://www.beyondspaceandtime.org>.

Dressed in character as an Imperial Servant, John Tolva, Program Manager for Cultural Strategy and Programs @IBM will lead a tour of the most advanced of all custom-built virtual worlds in existence today. The virtual world tour is designed to provide an insight into how SOA can solve architectural challenges, adding immediate value and business flexibility.
Attendees will be able to discuss SOA with IBM’s leading architects and strategists and learn first-hand how to shape the future of business communication.
Limited space is available on each virtual world tour. Registration to participate in this exciting virtual world event closes on Friday 17th April http://www.ibm.com/software/uk/itsolutions/soa/virtual-forbidden-city/

See you around ;-) Treasure Hunter Happymakees!

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