The sculpture groups are 6 to 8 meters high and 7 to 15 meters long. The sculpture group to the east of the north entrance represents the period of the New Democratic Revolution (1919-49), and the group to the west represents the heroic achievements of the Chinese people in the period of socialist revolution and construction since 1949. The sculptures in front of the south gate include 62 figures of workers, farmers, cadres, soldiers, scientists, technicians, and children. Those on the south side have as their theme “Carry Out Chairman Mao’s Behest,” expressing the Chinese people’s determination to act on his behest and carry the cause of the proletarian revolution through to the end.
Many of Beijing’s most important buildings are on a north-south meridian running from the Bell and Drum towers in the north, through the Forbidden City to Chairman Mao Zedong’s Mausoleum and the elaborate Temple of Heaven in the south. The Bell and Drum towers date back to 1272 and originally signaled dawn and dusk as well as daytime hours.