After passing through the Meridian Gate, you enter the Outer Court. This section, also called the Front Court, encompasses the southern half of Forbidden City and includes a 2.5 acre courtyard. After crossing over the Inner Golden Water River, the first building is the Gate of Supreme Harmony. When it was built in 1420, Taihe men was named the Gate of Venerating Heaven (Fengtian men). This is where the emperor held morning court during the Ming dynasty. In the corner stands one of two Chinese Guardian Lions. The shí shī protected imperial palaces since the Han dynasty (206 BC – 220 AD). This lion is male, evident by his paw on an orb representing dominance over the earth.