The palaces are the embodiment of the feudal systems of patriarchal clans and tithes, and symbolise supreme imperial power. The most outstanding and prominent examples of this architectural type are the Forbidden City in Beijing and Shenyang Imperial Palace. The former is also the largest and best-preserved timber construction in the world. The principles underlying the planning and design of ancient Chinese palaces are elaborated in detail using these two fine examples as a source of reference.