By Young-tsu Wong

Famous for its magnificient structure and heritage, the Yuanming Yuan is China's most renowned imperial backyard. the writer brings "the backyard of excellent brightness" to existence as he leads readers on a grand journey of its structure and background.

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Extra resources for A Paradise Lost: The Imperial Garden Yuanming Yuan

Sample text

The element of surprise endorsed the art of mixing concealment (cang) and revelation (lu). The European buildings at the northern end of the Eternal Spring Garden would seem to be hidden from the Chinese architectural structures by walls and hills, with only tall roofs visible from distance. But concealment was not used simply to communicate that “nothing Western could mar the harmony of the main garden” (Thiriez 1998, 51); it was used to create surprises as well. 1 The British took note of the e¤ect of intricacy and concealment when they visited the Yuanming Yuan at the end of the eighteenth century.

For several generations, the Leis maintained an o‰ce inside the garden to carry on the endless repairs and new construction work. Lei Fada, who first won wide recognition in his profession at the beginning of the Qing dynasty, earned o‰cial rank after having helped Pr o v e n a n c e the Kangxi emperor rebuild the Grand Harmonious Court (Taihe Dian) inside the Forbidden City. His son Lei Jinyu showed comparable family talent in designing and constructing Kangxi’s Joyful Spring Garden, for which he earned a Rank Seven and a permanent job in the Yuanming Yuan as an employee of the O‰ce of the Imperial Household (Neiwu Fu).

Sketch by Joseph C. Wang and Xingbai Yue. Figure 15. Wanfang Anhe showing Ping’an Yuan adjacent to the Swastika House. Plan by Joseph C. Wang and Xingbai Yue. a legendary happy land. The Peach-Blossom Cove contained a series of halls and galleries. 6 Qianlong designated this cove Spring Beauty at Wuling (Wuling Chunse) and selected it as one of the Forty Views (Yu Mingzhong 1985, 3:1347–1348). The Drill Field was located at the southwest corner of the original Yuanming Yuan. It featured a review stand and a large flat field for military exercises.

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A Paradise Lost: The Imperial Garden Yuanming Yuan by Young-tsu Wong


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