ancient Chinese considered numbers a mystical part of the universe. As an odd number, the
number "9" belongs to the "yang" category, which represents strength
and masculinity. In ancient China, the number "1" represented the starting point
while the number nine represented infinity and extremity. The number "9" can be
seen in many aspects of life in China.
"Jiu Zhou" is a poetic name referring to the nine states, which means that the
country encompasses so much territory that it is beyond measure. The highest heavens were
referred to as the "ninth heaven", "Jiu Quan" or "the ninth
spring" where the afterlife is located beneath the deepest water. In the royal palace
or a monastery, the doors, windows, stairs or fixtures existed in multiples of nine or a
number that contains nine. The numbers of the gilded knobs on the double doors of the
major gates of the Forbidden City is a good example.
There are nine
rows of nine knobs on these doors which represents the supreme power of the emperor. The
East Flowery Gate, however, is an exception beca se it has nine rows with eight knobs. The
explanation lies in the fact that even numbers belong to the "ying" category,
and therefore, funeral processions of the three Qing emperors passed through this only
gate with even numbers of the double doors.
The Chinese tended
to view life diametrically. So when a change occurred in one aspect of life, that change
was a result of a change in its opposite. Therefore, as a symbol of extremity,
"9" in Chinese Culture is also a warning, a turning point. In ancient Chinese
Classic Yijing, or the "Book of Changes", wherever number "9" appears,
it is a crucial point of change and transformation.
Chinese culture, the number nine has great significance. For example, the ninth day of the
ninth month has long been a very important festival in China. This festival is known as
the Double Yang Festival, which was a time for wine and poetry inspired by the beautiful
autumn scenery. In the past, Chinese scholars would climb nearby mountains and look into
the distance and think of their faraway friends.
Click here to see the map of the Temple of Heaven