12/4/07

颐和园
(Summer Palace)

This is my third time to the Summer Palace and I haven't seen the entire complex yet. It's TREMENDOUS and would take days to explore completely. To me, it's more impressive than the Forbidden City in the center of Beijing. Some highlights.


Always the photographer.

A stone lion flanked bridge leading to a garden and temple on a small, artificial island.


Restored pavilion looking out to the artificial lake.

Decaying grape vine trellises.

Goofy, cute picture of us. In the background is a fabulously garish and giant temple.

The last empress, Cixi or 慈禧, used this beautiful building as an elaborate theatre. Music was played during operas on the top floors with dancing was done on the bottom. Behind the structure is a large room where the actors lived and put on make-up and costumes. This building, before her time, used to be where imperial students would take examinations.

The last empresses' private quarters. After she fled Beijing, Cixi walled herself up in this complex and lived out her last days. It's very large with a beautiful pine tree growing out of a rock in the center courtyard. (see him?) Not so far from here is where Cixi imprisoned her son who was forbidden to gain the throne.

A series of 卍. (pronounced "wan" with a sharp fall, like a command.) This is a Chinese character that comes from Indian Buddhism and is common in temple areas, but is known in the west for entirely different reasons.

One of the libraries on site complete with dragon throne.

A wonderful, really over the top display case from the 19th century showing European influence. The birds, flowers, etc are made from precious stone.

1 comment:

Dadkle said...

What a beautiful place!