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Summer Palace - Table of Contents
Paintings and Sculptures - Summer Palace
Beijing, China

On this page, below:

Paintings - Long Corridor


Paintings - Pavilion

Long Corridor/Long Gallery

The Long Corridor is 728 meters  long (almost half a mile) and has 4 octagonal gazebos representing the four seasons. The beams and ceilings of the walkway are profusely decorated with over 14,000 paintings depicting scenes from Chinese history, literature and mythology and lots of flowers and animals including horses, birds, fish and insects.

The Long Corridor was first built in 1750, when the Qianlong Emperor commissioned work to convert the area into an imperial garden. The corridor was constructed so that the emperor's mother could enjoy a walk through the gardens protected from the elements.

Like most of the Summer Palace, the Long Corridor was severely damaged by fire in 1860 during the Second Opium War. It was rebuilt in 1886. As a part of the Summer Palace, the Long Corridor was included on the UNESCO World Heritage List in December, 1998.

Entrance to the Long Corridor

The Long Corridor is a covered walkway.

First erected in the middle of the 18th century, the Long Corridor is famous for its length (almost half a mile) in conjunction with its rich painted decoration (more than 14,000 paintings decorating the crossbeams and side panels.).

Painted ends of the horizontal support beams ... Two painted scenes on side panels ... Chinese fretwork

Painted crossbeams under the roof divide the long Corridor into 273 sections.
Details below:

The most significant characteristic of Chinese architecture is the use of timber framework. Wooden posts, beams, lintels and joists make up the framework of a house and, here, a covered walkway. Paintings and carvings were added to the architectural work to make it more beautiful and attractive.

Six examples of exterior and interior paintings below:


Guardian lion.
"Statues of guardian lions have traditionally stood in front of Chinese Imperial palaces, Imperial tombs, government offices, temples, and the homes of government officials and the wealthy, from the Han Dynasty (206 BC-AD 220), and were believed to have powerful mythic protective benefits. The lions are usually depicted in pairs. When used as statuary, the pair would consist of a male resting his paw upon an embroidered ball (in imperial contexts, representing supremacy over the world) and a female restraining a playful cub that is on its back (representing nurture)." - Wikipedia (online Dec. 2013)

The qilin, kirin, or kylin  is a mythical hooved chimerical creature with dragon head, lion tail, deer horn, and cattle hoof.  Known throughout various East Asian cultures, it is said to appear with the imminent arrival or passing of a sage or illustrious ruler.  It is a good omen thought to occasion prosperity or serenity.

In legend, the Kylin guards against destruction by fire.  It is often depicted with what looks like fire all over its body. It is sometimes called the "Chinese unicorn" when compared with the Western unicorn.

Dragon and Phoenix (Feng-huang)
The dragon and the phoenix are the principal motifs for decorative designs on the buildings, clothing and articles of daily use in the imperial palace. The dragon represents the emperor; the phoenix represents the queen.



Dragon:  5 claws were adopted by the first Ming emperor for his personal use.

Phoenix (Feng-huang)

Phoenix (Feng-huang)
Both the dragon and the phoenix were used as incense burners to perfume the air on formal occasions.


Incense burner

3-Dragons  bas-relief sculpture

Pavilion: Light temporary or semipermanent structure used in gardens and pleasure grounds.

Yunhui Yuyu Archway on the bank of Kunming Lake.
Ceramic sculpture on flying eaves detailed below:

Dragon ... Tile-ends

Both scenes detailed below:


Scene detailed below:

Photos and their arrangement 2013 Chuck and Nancy LaChiusa
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