Six Bridges on the West Dyke of Summer Palace2016-04-27 14:32:04Share:
To the west of Kunming Lake, there is a long causeway on the lake, which is called “west dike”, patterned after the Su dike in West Lake in Hangzhou. Along the dyke there are six bridges that separate the lake into two parts.
Lake Boundary Bridge (Jiehuqiao)
This bridge is the last one on the north end among six bridges along the dyke. Because the bridge is located at the dividing line of the inner lake and the outer lake, it is named Lake Boundary Bridge.
Local Song Bridge
Originally, the bridge was named “Song Zhu” Bridge, which got the same pronunciation as the name of the seventh emperor of the Qing dynasty who was Empress Dowager Cixi’s husband. So Empress Dowager Cixi changed the name.
The name of this bridge came from an ancient poem written 2,000 years ago about the slave’s labors. The emperor chose this name of the bridge probably because the emperor wanted to show his concern for agriculture.
Jade Belt Bridge (Yudaiqiao)
This bridge is made of white marble and granite. Its high-arched body looks just like a jade belt, so its name jade belt bridge. Three Chinese characters, “Yu Dai Qiao”, which mean Jade Belt bridge were carved on the east and west sides of the bridge in Emperor Qianlong’s handwriting.
This bridge’s arch is high, which provided enough room for the emperor’s dragon boat. The imperial dragon boat used to pass this bridge when the emperor and empress traveled by water from Kunming lake to the jade spring hill.
Mirror Bridge (Jing Qiao)
The bridge was named according to an ancient poem written by famous poet Li Bai of the tang dynasty, describing a clear mirror with pure water on both sides. Emperor Qianlong also wrote a poem depicting the lake as looking like a mirror; hence the name mirror bridge.
White Silk Bridge (Lian Qiao)
Again, the bridge got its name according to an ancient poem. Lian, in Chinese, refers to white silk; here the name of the bridge stands for the bridge that was built over the lake, but the lake water was as pure and clear as white silk.
Willow Bridge (Liu Qiao)
The name of the bridge was based on an ancient poem written by a very famous poet du fu of the Tang Dynasty. Willow trees were planted on the dyke so the bridge would be sheltered by the willow branches. Hence the name willow bridge.
Most of the names of the bridges have been derived from ancient poems to describe the beautiful surroundings. They are just like six bright pearls, which make a colored chain that spans from north to south along Kunming Lake. These six small bridges, together with the quiet and peaceful lake, make a striking contrast to the big, magnificent buildings on the front slope of longevity hill.
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