Friday, September 21, 2007

Long Corridor

IMG_0259, originally uploaded by yellojkt.

One of the more spectacular features of the Summer Palace in Beijing is the Long Corridor. Over 800 meters long, it is an open air covered walkway that connects the east side of the complex with the area with the Marble Boat.

What makes it so amazing is that the entire length of the hall is covered with murals and pictures on every surface. Many are depictions of courtly life in the Ming Dynasty.

Painted Panels

IMG_0248, originally uploaded by yellojkt.

The Summer Palace was completely renovated last year in anticipation of the tourism influx for the Olympics. This picture illustrates the very bright colors that have been restored. It gives the entire place a very bright look despite the palace being over a hundred years old.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Fungus Rock

IMG_0291, originally uploaded by yellojkt.

Empress Cixi was also fond of large fungus shaped rocks. They are a feature in most Chinese gardens or parks. This one was brought to the Summer Palace form the far north at great expense. It is considered one of the largest rocks of its quality.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Marble Boat

IMG_0265, originally uploaded by yellojkt.

Empress Cixi was warned to use the imperial taxes to build a navy to defend against the French and British. Instead she used the money to restore the Summer Palace from when they burned it down to the ground.

As an inside joke, she had this large marble replica of a gunboat made. It was the frequent site of royal parties. The lack of a navy eventually led to the downfall of the dynasty.

The Empress's Barge

IMG_0267, originally uploaded by yellojkt.

Our host student's father remembered when you could walk out onto the concrete barge. It is now being preserved as an antiquity.