The structures of the Western Route include the Pavilion of Ushering in the Light, the Pavilion of Ten Thousand Years, the : Pavilion of Deposited Jade" and the refined two storied Lodge of the Nourishment of Nature.
The three Palace Gardens are 1) The Garden of Peaceful Old Age, part of the retirement Palace of the Qianlong Emperor in the Eastern Inner Court, 2) the Garden of the Palace of Established Happiness, which is part of the Six Western Palaces of the Inner Court (not open to the public!), and 3) The Main Garden, the Imperial Garden (Yu Huan Yuan ; 御花园).
The TianYi Gate of the Palace of Imperial Peace. The Palace of Imperial Peace (钦安殿) is the colorful square Palace and centerpiece of the Imperial Garden. TianYi Gate is the southern Gate into the small
Pavilion of Ten Thousand Springs and Pavilion of Ten Thousand Autumns -
The Pavilion of Many Springs (Wan Chun Ting ; 万春亭) is one of twin Pavilions placed symetrically as opposed to the central Palace of Imperial Peace in the east- and the west of Garden. As in traditional Chinese beliefs the Spring is associated with the direction East, the Pavilion of Ten Thousand Springs stands in the Eastern half of the Garden. Its sister building is the Pavilion of many Autumns (Qian Qiu Ting) which stands in the Western half of the Garden.
Both the Pavilion of Many Springs (or 10 Thousand Springs) and the Pavilion of Many Autumns were built in about 1420 and rebuilt during the year 1535 of the Jiajing Reign of the Ming Dynasty when the central hall of Imperial Peace was also constructed. The Pavilion of Many Springs stands in the West, balancing the sister Pavilion of many autumns in the East of the Garden.
The Pavilions have a square cross- shaped lower part, whereas the upper part of their structure is round in shape. As in ancient Chinese geomantic customs earth was depicted as a square form, whereas the heaven's above where represented by a circular form, this arrangement, square at the bottom and round in form at the top, symbolizes the unity between heaven and earth achieved at the Palace.
The round-shaped Roofs of the Pavilions have overhanging eaves and many symetrical angles, similar to the Thousand Year Pavilion (Qian Qiu Ting), another Pavilion inside the Palace Garden. The roof is topped off with a glazed green and yellow ceramic pot with two attached dragons, one on each side.
The pavilion stands on its own white marble terrace which is fronted by white marble stairs leading to square veranda's on all four sides.
On the inside, the circular ceiling of the central dome of the roof as well as the connecting joints of supporting beams are richly decorated with Ming Era motifs, while the center is taken by a large golden dragon which head descends down from the ceiling.
During the the Ching Dynasty, the Statue of Lord Guan (Guan Yu ; 关羽), an important deity was enshrined inside the Pavilion of Ten Thousand Springs.
The Lord Guanyu is not a mythical God but is the person of a lgendary General of the late period of the Eastern Han Dynasty, who, through his many exploits in life, has become an immortal, a deity in the firmament of Daoist Deities. Among things, Lord Guan was the founder of the Kingdom of Han Wu, which existed in the "Three Kingdoms Period (220 A.D. - 280 A.D.)" that followed the collapse of the Han Dynasty (206 B.C. - 220 A.D.).
Tales & History attached to the Yu Huan Yuan Garden -
Over the long time of the inhabitation of the Imperial Palace between 1420 A.D. and 1924 A.D. the Palace Garden played in a central role in the life of the Emperor and his Empress and courtiers. As can be seen through the construction of the Palace of Imperial Peace in 1535 A.D. which then became the most important religious shrine in the Nation as it was the family shrine of the Royal Family, not only the Palace but also its Garden were of
The Hill of Soaring Elegance visible over the Inner Palace Wall and Chun Cheng Men Gate.
People entering the Garden through Northern Chun Cheng Men Gate.
Buildings in the Garden stand on both sides of the Garden, balanced harmoniously on an invisible axis. The area of the Gardens covers over 12.000 square meters, incorporating several pavilions and Halls, 20 in total, inside this limited space.
Hall of Literary Elegance -
The Hall of Literary Elegance, Chi Zoa Tang, was built in the Ming Dynasty Era (1368 A.D. - 1644 A.D.) after which it became one of the many depositories of books in the Palace. There were many such depositories as the Emperor would move around the Palace.
During the times of both Dynasties the Emperors used the Hall as an easily accesible yet private room to store their collected books, but also to study them in all necessary comfort.
The words "Chi Zao" in the name of the hall refer to the classical story "Reply to Bin Xi" by Ban Gu and carry the meaning of "Extravagant".
A Cypress adjacent its western Wall is said to be several hundred years old. On the Wall of the Hall of Literary Elegance is an inscription written by the Qianlong Emperor of the Qing Dynasty (1644 A.D. - 1911 A.D.) meaning "Ancient Cypress in the Imperial Garden".
The Qianlong Emperor (Reign: 1735 A.D. - 1796 A.D.) was a passionate poet and essayist and he loved to collect all kinds of things including poems and other writings. In his collected writings, which were published in a tenfold series between the years 1749 A.D and 1800 A.D, over 40,000 poems and 1,300 prose texts are listed, making him one of the most prolific writers of all time.
The Hall of Literary Elegance was especially renowned for housing the "Essential Library and Complete Library of the Four Treasures (Siku Quanshu (四庫全書))", a massive collection of classical pieces of literature, poetry and history compiled on orders of the Qianlong Emperor, and regarded as one of his main achievements in the fields of literature, history and culture.
It was to be one of the Qianlong’s grandest projects for which he had a team of China’s finest scholars brought together for the purpose of assembling, editing, and printing the largest collection ever made of Chinese philosophy, history, and literature. A very ambitious goal due to the standards already set.
Garden Pathway of the Yuhuan Yuan (Palace Museum Garden) -
Inside the Imperial Palace Garden all Pavilions buildings and structures are interconnected by ways of one kilometer long path which is entirely covered with mosaics, altogether containing more than 720 pictures and continuous patterns. The contends of the pictures range from auspicious Chinese characters, such as 'Fu' (Happiness), 'Lu' (Prosperity) and 'Shou' (Longgevity) or compose more elaborate designs such as flowers, people, birds and beasts, folk customs and historical tales.
An overview Map of the Yuhuan Yuan Garden showing all main structures within. Do not be confused the Northern Chun Cheng Men Gate is at the bottom of the image whereas the southern Gate of Earthly Tranquility is shown at the top.
This page was last updated on: March 22, 2017
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Pavilion of Crimson Snow -
The Pavlion of Crimson Snow (Jiang Xue Xuan), also known as "Falling Snow Pavilion", stands in the extreme south-east corner of the Imperial Garden of the Palace Museum. Its was constructed in the year 1420 when Zhu Di, The Yongle Emperor of the Ming Dynasty (1368 A.D. - 1644 A.D.) had the Imperial Palace as well as most of the city of Beijing built. Thus it is one of the oldest and most original pavilions within the entire Forbidden City.
Originally, five chinese flowering crab-apple trees grew in front of the Pavilion. When the flowers were in full bloom, the crimson petals falling down looked like slowly falling snowflakes, thus the name was found for the Pavilion.
After the Chinese crab-apple trees died, Beijing mock oranges (Philadelphus Pekinensis) were planted to replace them.
Raised flower-beds in front of the pavilion are faced with exquisite glazed tiles and bricks.
The Pavilions floor plan is shaped like the Chinese Caracter 凸 (tū) and in order to balance the Feng Shui across the Central access of the garden its architecture mirrors that of the Lodge of the Nourishment of Nature (Yang Xin Zhai), which floor plan is shaped as the "opposite" Chinese Caracter 凹 (āo).
The most renowned Emperors of the Qing Dynasty (1644 A.D. - 911 A.D.) who succeeded the Ming, The Emperors Kangxi and later his grandson Qianlong came to this pavilion to appreciated flowers and composed poems with their officials.
The explanatory sign attached to one of thick red roof suporting beams of the Pavilion of Crimson Snow.
Today the Hall of Literary Elegance serves as the Official Palace Museum Giftshop, where fans and visitors can get their T-shirts, postcards, rare books and other Palace Museum paraphernalia.
Although the Hall of Literary Elegance proves to be only modest of size and therefor only offers a limited choice of gifts its certainly worthwhile to go and have a look within. As this the Palace Museum's so far only official giftshop, - all others are run by private operators who are licensed to sell whatever they wish but do not have privy to the latest official Palace Museum gadgets -, this is the best place to go and see if you can get a proper present for those family folks and friends at home.
Its just your basic necessity, and to be honest, even a short browse will give one some time to take a break from the impressions left by the bedazzling amount of Palaces, Halls, hallways and alleys.
For anyone interested in finding appropriate souvenirs of the unique
Easily find your way to the Hall of Literary Elegance by following the "Gift Shop" signs within the Garden.
Palace Museum of Beijing , there are more gift-shops located not to far away from the Palace Garden.
A variety of relatively large halls are reserved as a corridor of souvenir stores, situated in the space between the outer walls of the Imperial Garden and the Outer Walls of the Palace itself. To get there one can simply exit the garden to the North by passing through Chun Cheng Men (Chastise Obience Gate) and then turning right and East while remaining within and underneath of ShenWu Men, the North Gate of Divine Military Might. In the wide space between outer and inner wall there is a long row of souvenir shops offering an equally interesting array of "Forbidden City" Souvenirs, however these are not selling the original ware presented in the garden gift shop.
The explanatory sign of the Hall of Literary Elegance and the official Palace Museum gift shop.
Leave the Palace Garden through the central southern gate, the Gate of Earthly Tranquility (Kun Ning Men) to gain direct access to the Central Palaces inhabited (in the King Dynasty) by the Empress and the Emperor.
The South-Eastern exit Gate found south of the Hall of Literary Elegance in turn gives access to the "Eastern Long Corridor" and the "Six Eastern Palaces" (and several other
Palaces and Halls beyond).
Along the Central Axis of the Palace one can follow the route leading through the
Central "Gate of Earthly Tranquility" which gives direct access to the Walled Enclosure of the "Three Central Palaces of the Inner Court, which -in the Ming Dynasty - were reserved as the exclusive quarters of the Emperor and the Empress and formed the true inner core of the Palace entire. When coming from the Garden and passing through Kun Ning Men one ends up behind and to the north of the Palace of Earthly Tranquility (Kun Ning Gong), the reserved home of the Ming Empress.
exclusively for the Emperor, Empress, Concubiness and their army of eunuch servants. Once one could tread within only upon the punishment of death. Even if one had managed to get within the heavily guarded purple outer walls of the "Forbidden City" and its Northern Gate of Divine Might, the Chastity and Obience Gate giving access from there to the Palace Garden was guarded heavily at all times by well armed soldiers, and beyond the garden itself was regularly patrolled to seek out any hiding tresspassers or court spies.
The Imperial Garden is relatively small and surprisingly compact in design. It is 130 meters long from east to west and 90 meters wide from north to south. Altogether it is rectangular in shape, with its length balanced across the ever important central line of the Palace Museum and the larger city without. Neatly arranged according to the rules of Feng Shui as well as ethethics, it is one of the very few remaining and original examples of traditional Chinese Architecture finding itself rivalled only by sections of the North Lake Park (Bei Hai Gongyuan), Coal Hill Park (Jingshan Gongyuan) and of course the magnificent (new) Summer Palace (Yiheyuan), the lust garden of late Empress-Dowager Cixi.
Although arranged in a very compact way, its exploration is remarkably adventurous and full of unexpected sights. Yet, altogether the garden retains its overall seemingly symetric design.
Apart from a multitude of Halls and
Pavilions, the garden is decorated with a large incense burners with dragon designs, several ponds, exotic trees some of which shaped in extraordinary ways or of ancient age and other cultured features of the bygone past. The design of garden is then completed with a decorative walkway which winds its way along the buildings, which at times are hidden from view by grotesque rock formations that break the line of sight intentionally. Around almost every corner there appears to be yet another discovery.
China entire. Furthermore, the Imperial Garden, Its Pines, Cypresses, Rockeries and Pavilions are historic remnants of both Ming and Ching Dynasties.
Other structures include the Pavilion of Crimson Snow, the Pavilion to Usher in the Light, the Ten Thousand Springs (Wan Chun Ting) & Ten Thousand Autumns Pavilion and yet more.
Generally speaking though, there is little confusion and one can follow and an eastern and a western route, both of which circle around the Palace of Imperial Peace to finally end of near the respective corner gates or the central Gate of Earthly Tranquillity. All is balanced according to the rules of Feng Shui (Geomancy) and the requirements of the symmetry of design of the Palace and Imperial City.
The eastern Route leads past the "Hill of Soaring Elegance" and the "Hall of Literary Elegance" (the Palace Museum Giftshop) and passes the North-East Corner Gate on the way to the Gate of Earthly Tranquility, whereas the western Route includes the Pavilion to Usher in the Light, the Pavilion of Moral Cultivation, the "Pavilion of Ten Thousand Springs" and the "Lodge of the Nourishment of Nature" and leads past the North-West Corner Gate to the same end location underneath the Gate of Earthly Tranquility.
Overview of an eastern section of the Palace Garden in winter snow. On the Left garden pond with adjacent a small sitting Pavilion, on the left one can see the Pavillion of Ten Thousand (or many) Autumns.
Palace of Imperial Peace
Gate of Earthly Tranquility
Chastise Obience Gate
Hill of Soaring Elegance
Hall of Literary Elegance
Pavilion Tne Thousand Springs
Pavilion Ten Thousand Autumns
Lodge ot Nourish-ment
N-E Qiongyuan Gate
N-W Qiongyuan Gate
One of Incense Burners at the Entrance to the Imperial Garden. A continous haze of smoke would emit from these when the Palace was in operation.
Because of its special design, the Imperial Garden is counted among the best preserved regal Gardens in
Tourists study the direction signs inside the Imperial Garden of the Palace Museum (Januari 2000 AD).
Structures of the Eastern Route :
palace that is surroun-
ded by its own stone enclosure walls.
The Main South
fronted by rockeries and guarded by two exquisitly created gold-guilded Xizhie', mythical beings understood to be able to tell between good and bad souls, right and wrong.
Inside TianYi Gate (天一门) stand a Pine
Tree and a Cypress with branches interlocked. These are so called the Loving-Couple Trees.
The Central Piece of the Palace is the Hall of Imperial Peace (Qinian Dian) where offerings were made to the Daoist God of Water. A Ming Dynasty tradition.
Mimicking the design of both the outer court and the inner court situated immediatly to the south there are only three Main Structures in the Center of the Garden. These three are situated exactly on the north-south axis that divides both city and Palace in East and West, thus they are considered as most important and in the mystical thoughts of the feudal era's more auspicious, endowed with magical powers and near the center of the Empire and through him directly in contact with the heavenly powers endowed the Emperor and the Imperial Clan with them.
The Gate leading from the south to the couryard of the Palace of Heavenly Purity is considered closest to the Emperor, whereafter the three central structures of the Yu Huan Yuan Garden follow in rank of mystical endowments.
The these three central structures of the Garden are the Chastise Obiedience Gate in the North, the Palace of Imperial Peace beyond, followed by Gate of Earthly Tranquility in the extreme South of the garden leading away to the Three Central Palaces of the Inner Court.
Chastise Obedience Gate (Chun Cheng Men) -
The North Gate of the main Palace Garden is known as the Chastise Obiendence Gate. An Emperor of the Ming Dynasty once was attacked near this gate and nearly assassinated. It was an unusual occurence which however left a lasting impression.
The Gate is exquisitely decorated with glazed tiles and flower patterns and its doors stooded with the 81 pins, nine rows of nine golden pins each.
Front porch of the Lodge of the Nourishment of Nature, the assigned Quarters of a Famous Non-Chinese inhabitant, the British Tutor Reginald Fleming Johnston.
The most famous of these is the latter, the Lodge of the Nourishment of Nature which seems as it where tucked away in the back of the Garden but upon closer inspection is revealed as one of the more magnificent buildings found within the garden.
lives more or less as were. In this period, to be exact between 1919 and 1924, it was assigned as the duty office of Reginald Fleming Johnston who then became the first ever foreigner to "reside" within the Walls of the previously "Forbidden City". With unsurpassed access to the Young Emperor Pu Yi, Johnston gained enormous influence and climbing to the highest ranks among court mandarins carried enormous priviliges.
Although often under-appreciated by every day visitors who mostly pass by rather quickly, the "Lodge" has a very interesting architecture and its related stories are most interesting.
As the work of compiling such a huge library of articles progressed slowly, the Qianlong Emperor, aged 63 by the time he ordered its production, feared he would not be able to withness its completion. Therefor he decided to order the production of an another book, this one only containing the essentials of the greater piece. Only two of these "Essentials" Books were ever produced, one of them being kept on store within the Hall of Literary Elegance. The other copy was kept at the Yuanming Yuan (Park of Perfection and Brightness), which unfortunatly feel into the hands of pillaging British Forces during the year 1860, at the end of the "2nd opium war" (arrow war).
As for the end result, the Complete Library of the Four Treasures (Siku Quanshu (四庫全書)) counted a total of 36,000 volumes, containing about 3450 complete works and employing as many as 15,000 copyists to create it. These were far too many volumes to be stored in this hall in the Palace Garden, and supposedly they were kept at the Imperial Library (now outside the Palace Walls on Nachizi Dajie') or elsewhere. This enormous work preserved numerous books, but - as was the usual practice during many previous dynasties- was also intended as a way to ferret out and suppress political opponents, requiring the "careful examination" of private libraries to assemble a list of around eleven thousand works from the past, of which about a third were chosen for publication. The works not included were either summarized or—in a good many cases—scheduled for destruction.
As Paper and thus the Library of the Four Treasures was flammable, the pavilion only consists of six bays, which was a departure from the customary practice of constructing halls with even numbered bays, it does however still conform to the 8-trigram theory "Heaven engenders water, which is held by earth representing two bars". More-over, the Pavilion of Literary Elegance has a black-glazed tiled roof bordered with green, which, as according to the five elements theory water is black, equates it with water and the north. All of this is symbolic of the wish to protect this Hall and its valuable contents from a ruinous fire.
Next along the western route opposite the Hall of Soaring Elegance stands the Pavilion to Usher in the Light (Yan Hui Ge). This pavilion has a rolled gable roof covered with yellow glazed tiles, and stands across from and facing the "Hill of Accumulated Elegance". It was originally constructed during the Ming Dynasty after which it was named "Pavilion of High Expectations (Qing Wang Ge)".
During the succeeding Qing Dynasty Era (1644 A.D. - 1911 A.D.) the Pavilion was renamed to its current name as Pavilion of Ushering in the Light after which it was used by the Qianlong (乾隆), Daoguang and Qianfeng Emperor as a place to seek comfort and dwell away listening to the sounds of birds in the garden while composing poems, or simply to otherwise enjoy themselves.
At regularly planned occasions the Pavilion to Usher in the light was also in use as the place to organize the selecting of the Concubines for the Emperor.
At some time during his reign the Jiajing Emperor of the Qing Dynasty had collected over 10.000 caligraphies written by Emperors, and he had them stores to be well preserved in the Pavilion to Usher in the Light.
Lodge of the Nourishment of Nature -
Pavilion of Crimson Snow (Jiang Xu Xuan)
Pavilion Ushering in the Light
View of the Tianyi Gate of the Palace of Imperial Peace hidden between the cypresses of the Palace Garden in the Forbidden City ( Photo: January 2000).
Although with a design such as this pathways are clearly defined, the ancient Chinese yet managed to find the perfect arrangements that would create a miniature world in which anyone exploring would continously experience an overwhelming feeling of the unknown or the fantastic awaiting but around the corner.
Have a browse around and remember, it takes longer than one would first expect to see and appreciate all of the details of this jewel Garden. Below is a brief review to help you on your way.
For example, a picture named "Seal Hung Up and Robe given Away" tells a story which dates from the period of the The Kingdoms (220 A.D. - 265 A.D.) an Era which has inspired many literary works, poems, works of Peking Opera and lately films and Tv-series. In the picture worked into the mosaics of the garden pathway, the famous General Guan Yu is riding on horseback and holding a sword atop which is hanging a green embroidered brocade robe. A Man kneels down before the general in extreme deference, holding a tray carefully in his hands.
Another of the pictures tells the story of "The Weasel paying his respects to the the Hen". In the picture, which is very well done and lifelike, a sly weasel is paying his respects to a big fat hen, which looks at him and clocks to warn her children of impending danger. The chickens flutter about looking for a safe refuge.
"Afraid of my Wife" is another catching image and every day storyline popular enough to find itself repeated inside the Emperor's Palace. In the image a lay-man is shown kneeling before his wife's foot while holding an oil lamp on his head. The image "A hundred seeds in a split Pomegranate" on the other hand is meant to radiate auspiciousness. Many seeds can be seen when a ripe pomegranate splits naturally. This is image taken as a metaphor for having a "prosperous population" and is one of the more sacrosanct mosaics in the Garden.
Needless to say, anyone searching to see all of the mosaic images within the garden may find it a straining task, not only due to their total number but mostly due to the high traffic rate in the garden. Visitors flock about ceaselesly (and often seemingly aimlessly) making it a challenge to get photos of the mosaics.
Pavilion Deposited Jade Chengrui Ting)
You Tube Video: Brief sightseeing Tour of the Palace Museum Garden on an ordinary day of the summer season.
The Ingeniously constructed roof and withered but still eye-catching ming dynasty styled decorations of the Pavilion of Ten Thousand Springs in the west of the Palace Garden.
"Lianli" - Entwined Trees of the Palace Museum Garden -
Inside the Imperial Palace Garden there are dozen so called "Lianli" - which roughly translates as "clinging together trees". They are yet another special style of natural decoration found within the Imperial Garden, and are rarely seen elsewhere. All of the Lianli have been created from pine and cypress trees and they serve as symbols of the harmony that was supposed toeminate from the Emperor, his Empress and their court.
An ancient historical Tale is attached to this specific kind of garden creation.
During the "Warring States Period" that comprised the demise of the previous Zhou Dynasty Reign, the ws a King named Kang. King Kang coveted the wife of his loyal servant, the General Han Ping. Thus, he had Han sent away to a remote region to cake care of the strengthening of border fortifications. With Han out of the way, the King hoped to corner his Lady and woe her into his control. However, with this task still not achieved upon the completion of the works on the border, upon Han's return, the King had him arrested and put to death. Yet, the widow would only agree to marry the King if an agreement was signed in which her late husband Han was awarded a grand state funeral.
The King saw no other option than to agree. However, at the funeral the widow outwitted the brute King and took her own life by jumping into the Grave Pit.
In the end, the two were buried together as they lay. The following year two trees grew out of the grave with their upper braches entwined around one another. The trees were regarded as the symbol of the everlasting love of the two lovers. The legend has been transmitted through the ages to reappear in inside the Garden of the Chinese Emperors in the form of several "Lainli" found strewn about the garden.
Water Channels - Irrigation of the Palace Museum Garden -
Water channels provide not only water for the peonies but also add a strong linear element to the garden’s design.
Intrecately carved wooden panel adjacent an entrance of the Pavilion of Ten Thousand Springs.
Through his many appearances in classical Literature as well as works of Peking Opera, Guan is still a popular deity to be worshipped in China and his image or Temple Statue can be found in temples, small and large, across the Nation. Even westerners may have been familiarized with him, as Guan is also considered the God of War and Martial Arts.
Traditionally he is easily recognized as he is usually portrayed as a red-faced warrior with a long lush beard. While his beard was mentioned in the Records of Three Kingdoms, the idea of his red face may have derived from a later description of him in Chapter One of Romance of the Three Kingdoms, where the following passage appears:
“Xuande (Liu Bei's style name) took a glance at the man, who stood at a height of nine chi, and had a two chi long beard; his face was of the color of a zao, with red lips; his eyes were like that of a phoenix's, and his eyebrows resembled silkworms. He had a dignified aura and looked quite majestic.”
Other think that the idea of his red face could have simply been borrowed back from the stylized and utterly popular representations seen in Peking Opera, where red faces depict
Pavilion Floating Greenery (Fu Yu Ting)
One Heavenly Gate
Pavilion of Deposited Jade -
The Pavilion of Deposited Jade (Cheng Rui Ting ; 澄瑞亭) was constructed in the year 1583 A.D. of the Ming Dynasty. It is located on a single arch brige that stands across a pond. It is a large, open, and square pavilion with four angles and a pyramid shaped roof covered with green glazed tiles but edged with yellow glazed tiles. The Pavilion is linked to a rolled roof by ways of a veranda and it is symetrical to the Pavilion of Floating Greenery (Fu Bi Ting) in the opposite eastern half of the garden.
You Tube Video: The Legendary Era of the Three Kingdoms explored. Feat. Lord Guan.
Pavilion of Floating Greenery -
Another Ming Dynasty Era building, the Pavilion of Floating Greenery (Fu Bi Ting) is sutuated in the North-East of the Imperial Garden and mirrors the Pavilion of Deposited Jade (Cheng Rui Ting). It was built in 1583 in the Wanli Reign of the Ming Dynasty and sits on a single arched bridge over a rectangular pond. It boasts a pyramid shaped-roof covered with green glazed tiles, edged with imperial yellow glazed tiles, and is linked to a veranda by a rolled roof.
loyalty and righteousness.
Whatever may be the case, each Statue of Lord Guan exactly fits the bill. Supposedly he always comes equipped with a the fearesome weapon named a Green Dragon Crescent Blade (guan dao) which marks him as a man of considerable physical strength and, to complete the image, Guan traditionally dons a green robe over his body armour, as depicted in the "Romance of the Three Kingdoms".
formidable and sacred importance. During the centuries of the reign of the Ming and the Qing Dynasties several Folk Tales have attached themselves to the Garden, and there is also word of several important historic events occuring there. Among things, the Qianlong Emperor fell in love in this Garden and the Jiajing Emperor was nearly murdered there. The Garden also formed the backdrop of a remarkable friendship which occured during the last years of the inhabitation of the Royal Palace of Beijing.
There is a photograph of Pu Yi leaning against a bicycle somewhere in the Inner Court. He is dressed in a light colored jacket and shorts, wearing a knee-length stockings and white leather shoes, with a peaked cap appearing a a very dandy young man. To be wearing such clothing in those days was nothing less than a profanity, and a sacreledge according to the standards of the old feudal order which the elders at court, especially the Empress-Dowager Longyu, still clung to.
Photo of Last Qing Emperor Pu Yi during his last years in the Inner Court of the Forbidden City. The suit is a mix of western and Chinese styles, although in hindsight it looks alike the style popular in the Japanese Imperial Army with which Pu Yi would collaborate.
however, not an element of the original garden first established in 1420 A.D., but an element that was added during the Wanli reign (1573 A.D. - 1620 A.D.) of the Ming Dynasty. The rocks used to create the hill were imported from the Tai Hu (太湖), the famously large lake in the lower reaches of the Yangtze River on the border of Jiangsu and Zhejiang Provinces, which is famous for rocks with grotesque and abstract forms. Two stone carved dragon heads stand guard in front of the Hill and a stone to the left of the entrance to the Hill is inscribed with the two Chinese characters with the meaning "Cloud Root", in the handwriting of Qing Dynasty Emperor Qianlong who was a proliferous caligrapher. Another inscription by him can be found nearby in the garden at the Hall of Literary Elegance.
As for the two stone carved dragon heads, although most tourguide stories do not include this information, at some time in the past, they used to function as the nozzles of a fountain system, which as it is said "would spout out water as much as 10 meters high in the air and tiny water beads formed in the mid-air glittering in the sunshine" (Tales of the Forbidden City, by Cheng Qinhua).