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Summer Palace - Table of Contents
Buildings and Nature - Summer Palace
Beijing, China

On this page, below:

Five Gates


Marble Boat

Octagon Tower of Buddhist Incense

The 100-odd examples of traditional architecture in the park include pavilions, terraces, temples, pagodas, waterside gazebos, covered corridors, stone bridges and the famous marble boat.
Five Gates
Chinese architecture includes multiple gates.

East Palace Gate. 
Two side doors for royal family members and court officials, and three grand doors in the middle exclusively for the Emperor, Empress and queen mother. On the gate hangs a plaque inscribed by Emperor Guangxu with 'Yiheyuan’ (Summer Palace), which literally means to maintain energy and mellow the soul.
Gable roof with flying eaves ... Interior ceiling detail below:

East Palace Gate - ceiling detail

Much Chinese ancient architecture is composed of small yards, instead of pursuing the over-dimensioned architecture such as western cathedrals.
Door detail below:

Note rock sculpture in the courtyard beyond the gate.

Yunhui Yuyu Archway.
Also known as the Glowing Clouds and Holy Land Archway.
Wooden pillars on stone bases. Pillars painted red,  beams decorated with intricate designs and Chinese calligraphy, and the roof covered with colored tiles, complete with mythical beasts - just like a Chinese palace.
2 details below:

Yunhui Yuyu Archway - Detail #1 of 2
Flying eaves ... Roof ceramic statues ... Dougong ... Tile-ends (wadangs)

Yunhui Yuyu Archway -  Detail #2 of 2 - Dougong

Yellow roof tiles were reserved for the emperor's palaces ... Two details below:

Detail #1 of 2 - Roof ceramic statues ... Tile-ends (wadangs)

Detail #2 of 2 -  Dougong ... Dragons

Hall of Benevolence and Longevity - the Emperors' administrative hall.
Built in 1750, burned down in 1860 by the Anglo-French allied forces, and was reconstructed in 1888.
Three details below:

Hall of Benevolence and Longevity - Detail #1 of 2 -  Dougong

Hall of Benevolence and Longevity - Ceramic roof sculptures

Hall of Benevolence and Longevity.
Dougong  ... Dragons


Ginkgo tree.
Photo taken in December 2013.  Leaves detail below:

Ginkgo tree.

Kunming Lake: the central lake on the grounds of the Summer Palace. Together with the Longevity Hill, Kunming Lake forms the key landscape features of the Summer Palace gardens.

With an area of 2.2 square kilometres (0.8 sq mi), Kunming Lake covers approximately three quarters of the Summer Palace grounds. It is quite shallow, with an average depth of only 1.5 metres (5 ft). Kunming Lake is a man-made lake. The conversion of the area into an imperial garden was commissioned by the Qianlong Emperor with the work being carried out between 1750 and 1764. In the course of creating the gardens, the lake area was extended by a workforce of almost 10,000 laborers.

 Bridge on the East Causeway.

Cedar tree, the main source of building columns.

Cedar tree

Marble Boat Lakeside Pavilion

"The Marble Boat is a lakeside pavilion on the grounds of the Summer Palace. It was first erected in 1755 during the reign of the Qianlong Emperor. The original pavilion was made from a base of large stone blocks which supported a wooden superstructure done in a traditional Chinese design.

"In 1860, during the Second Opium War, the pavilion was destroyed by Anglo-French forces. It was restored in 1893 on order of the Empress Dowager Cixi. In this restoration, a new two-story superstructure was designed which incorporated elements of European architecture. Like its predecessor, the new superstructure is made out of wood but it was painted to imitate marble."  - Wikipedia (online Jan. 2014)

The Marble Boat stands on the northwestern shore of Kunming Lake, near the western end of the Long Corridor.

  Imitation paddlewheels on each side of the pavilion makes it look like a paddle steamer.

Faux painted

The Octagon Tower of Buddhist Incense

Large center building: Octagon Tower of Buddhist Incense on the Longevity Hill is the highest building in the Summer Palace.

Note ceramic sculptures on ends of the flying eaves (next photo below:)


Photos and their arrangement 2013 Chuck and Nancy LaChiusa
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