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By Young-tsu Wong

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

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

Example text

Perhaps the evil spirits, which would travel in a straight line, would be diverted by a winding course. But turnings and windings also were essential for creating surprises. A narrow, tortuous, and dark mountain road would seem to guide viewers into a dead end, |   | Architecture but before long a broad space would open to them. Suddenly they would be surprised by a view of elegant trees, blue sky, white cloud, flying birds, beautiful flowers, and a stream of water escaping down from higher ground into a pool.

This hall was the place where the emperor met with his o‰cials and foreign dignitaries as well as served banquets, in particular the grand banquets for such special occasions as the emperor’s birthday, and the metropolitan examinations. In general, this administrative section, with the Main Audience Hall as its principal structure, is a large enclosure surrounded by walls. Looking out from inside one |  Figure 3. Overview of the original Yuanming Yuan showing twenty-nine man-made structures or scenes mentioned in the book.

16. 17. 18. 19. 20. 21. 22. 23. 24. 25. 26. 27. 28. 29. Xinghua Chunguan Shangxia Tianguang Ciyun Puhu Bitong Shuyuan Tianran Tuhua Wuling Chunse Zuoshi Linliu Hongci Yonghu Beiyuan Shancun Fanghu Shengjing Pinghu Qiuyue Pengdao Yaotai Jiexiu Shanfang Da’gongmen Nanchuanwu Shende Tang Wenyuan Ge Shewei Cheng Da’chuanwu Anlan Yuan Nanping Wanzhong This was the place where the emperor reviewed the annual archery contest of his troops (Yu Mingzhong 1985, 2:1325). The grand Main Audience Hall (Zhengda Guangming Dian), the name of which means open-mindedness and magnanimousness appropriate to a great ruler, stood at a central position inside the Inner Palace Gate.

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