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Bronze Ox and Marble Boat

2015-12-22 13:45:51Share:

  Bronze Ox

 

  On the east bank of Kunming Lake, east of Seventeen-Arch Bridge, visitors may see a bronze ox. This bronze ox was made in 1755 during the reign of Emperor Qianlong, the fourth emperor of the Qing Dynasty (1368-1644). It is of the same size and vividness as a real one, which reflects the extraordinary craftsmanship of the foundry. The ox is nestled on a bluestone base carved with waves, and looks into the landscape with his head raised and his eyes shining. The inscription engraved in his back was written by Emperor Qianlong and has not deteriorated at all despite its age. The inscription is comprised of eighty characters, explaining the story of this bronze ox. Emperor Qianlong placed it at the bank of the lake in hope that it can restrain a potential flood brought by the Kunming Lake and bring infinite blessing to both the garden and the nearby dwellers.

 

 

  Marble Boat

 

  Near the west end of the Long Corridor, visitors may easily find a boat on the Kunming Lake, named Marble Boat (Shifang). This two-storied boat was originally built in 1755 in Chinese style during the reign of Emperor Qianlong, but its superstructure was burnt out by the Anglo-French Allied Forces. In 1893, Empress Dowager Cixi had it rebuilt in an imitation of western-style yachts. The boat is not entirely made of marble, but has some wood subassemblies. The wood, however, gussies up marble texture perfectly, which makes it harmonious with the main marble body.

 

 

  This luxurious boat has its historical origin with Wei Zheng, a famous faithful minister of the Tang Dynasty (618-907), who told the emperor, 'The waters that bear the boat is the same that swallow it up.' In the words, he compared the relationship between the emperor and his people as that between a boat and waters. In this way, he suggested that the emperor love his people, otherwise, the exasperated people would overthrow the emperor's reign. Emperor Qianlong had the firm boat made of stone, hoping that the reign of the Qing Dynasty would never be toppled.