Of the three great halls of the outer court, the Hall of Central Harmony is the middle hall, and the smallest. Located between the Hall of Supreme Harmony and the Hall of Preserved Harmony, the Hall of Central Harmony only occupies 583 square meters, and is shaped like a square, 24.15 meters on each side, and 29 meters tall. The building is built like a pavilion, and has gold-plated bronze spire called a baoding, on the roof, designed to shine brightly in the sun. Surrounding the hall are 9 corridors which are paved with golden bricks. Inside, there are nine rooms in total. The roof is internally decorated with golden dragons, and on the steps leading to each of the rooms are carved pictures of cloud dragons. Rain drains to outside pipes in the shape of dragon heads at the base of the hall, so it appears that the dragons spurt water from their mouths when it rains.
In the central room of the hall of Central Harmony, two sedan chairs called Jian Yu were placed on either side of the throne. Jian Yu were a type of shoulder carriage carried by four to eight people, and they were used by the emperor to travel around the Forbidden City.
Additionally, on each side of the central throne were a pair of golden unicorns. These mythological beasts, called “luduan” in Chinese were believed to speak multiple languages and be capable of traveling 9000 kilometers in a day. The two statues served as sandalwood burners, and were placed around the throne as a sign of the emperor’s great wisdom and capability. Ultimately, the Hall of Central Harmony’s balanced, symmetrical construction is designed to convey Confucius’ Golden Mean ( also called The Doctrine of the Mean)- a system of guidelines for achieving universal peace and harmony.