Imperial Garden is located at Meridian of Forbidden City and back of Kunninggong(Palace of Earthly Tranquility). In Ming Dynasty, it was called Back Garden of Palace and in Qing Dynasty it was called Imperial Garden. Initially established in 1420, Imperial Garden was restored for several times. The whole garden has a total length of 80 meters from south to north and 140 wide from east to west. The total area is 12,000 square meters. Imperial Garden was originally for rest and walking of Emperor and concubines, but it also used for reading.
The ancient cypress in Imperial Garden was planted in Ming dynasty had roughly 500 years old. The copper Ding (鼎，an ancient cooking utensil, and later on it became the symbol of power and country ) stood in the garden, and it was made in the time during the reign of Emperor Qian Long in Qing Dynasty. This Ding has 4 meters high. On the surface, it has the decorations of Three Lions Playing with Ball. Xiezhi figures(獬豸，a divine animal of ancient times in old legend. It looks like Qiling (another divine animal) and it wears the thick and long fur and hair. It is extremely smart and understands the language of human. It always opens largely its eyes. It is said that it could distinguish the rights and wrongs, also the loyalty and evilness. If it finds the corrupted or evil officials, it would run down them and eat them. In conflict, Xiezhi could point at the unreasonable side with its horn. So in ancient China, Xiezhe was the representative of impartiality) stand on both sides of Tianyimen Gate. They are made of copper and gold.
Lianli tree in folk China is the symbol of love. In Imperial Garden, there are some Lianli trees raised from pine trees and cypress trees. In this garden, there was a famous Lianli tree. This tree is a tree interlinked by two cypress trees. It is strong and tall, and many visitors like to take photos under it to wish that their love and life are happy and sweet.
The Story of Lianli Tree
As for Lianli Tree, there was a moving story. It was said that during the time of warring state, King Jun Kang of Song Kingdom dispossessed the wife of Han Ping, who was an official under control. Also King Jun Kang forced Han Ping to build Qinglingtai, which was a large-scale building, and after it completion, King Jun Kang killed Han Ping. Han Ping’s wife was extremely sorrowed when she heard this news, and she suddenly jumped into the tomb and died of bumping the coffin on the funeral of Han Ping. This cruel king was very jealous and evil, and then separately buried this couple on each side of Qinglingtai instead of burying them together. But in the second year, two big trees appeared on their tombs and their trunks linked closely with each other. Moreover, there were many birds singing in the trees, which sounded like the love songs. So people in later generation called two trees Lianli Tree to show the greatness of love.
Qinandian (Hall of Imperial Peace)
Qinandian is a Taoism temple. It was built in Ming Dynasty. Qinandian was originally the place of showing oblation to Emperor Zhen Wu, who was Chinese North Water God in legend. Each year, at the time of Spring Begins, Summer Begins, Autumn Begins and Winter Begins, Emperor used to pray here for blessing from Water God to avoid the fire disasters. Besides, on July 7 each year in Lunar Calendar, Empress and concubines sacrificed to Niulang and Zhinv (a legendary couple from folklore)
Yangxingzhai(Studio of Cultivating Nature )
Yangxingzhai used to be the place for Emperor Pu Yi to study English. Yangxingzhai is located on the artificial hill in the west side of Imperial Garden, and it is a pavilion-style building. In 1911, the last emperor of Qing Dynasty resided here, and employed a British Reginald Johnston to teach him English and Mathematics
Carpolite-paved pathes are interlaced freely in Forbidden City. It is one of the outstanding points in palace architecture of Forbidden City. The paths are made of diversities of colored carpolites, and these carpolites also made up of variety of images. In total, there are more than 900 pictures, and the themes are mostly connected with figures, mountain-water landscape, pavilions, towers, flowers, fishes, insects and flying birds and so on. But there is also a very different image on the west side of Imperial Garden. it is an image themed with Callet Torturing Husband. It shows another side of features of Forbidden City.
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