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Famous Rocks at the Summer Palace

2016-04-27 15:39:26Share:

  Taihu Rock

 

  Entering the Gate of Benevolence and Longevity, people can see a huge rock known as Taihu Rock.

 

  The rock is more than 3 meters high and was moved from Shaoyuan, a garden of the residence of Ming official Mi Wanzhong who loved collecting the grotesque shaped rocks so much. Later, it became the Prince Morgan’s garden in the Qing Dynasty, which is the present site of Beijing University. There are four grotesque shaped rocks placed in each corner of this courtyard, representing the four seasons of the year moved from Yuanmingyuan. The five decorative rocks in the courtyard symbolize the beautiful scenery of five peaks in Lushan Mountain. In the old days, most of the imperial gardens were decorated with Taihu rocks because Taihu rock has natural beauty with natural holes that were made from rushing water in the lake.

 

  Taihu rock was transported from Taihu Lake in Wuxi city, Jiangsu province of the southern part of our country, so the rock is named Taihu Rock.

 

  Taihu Rock has four characteristics; it is long and slender with folds on the surface; water can leak out from the holes in the rock and there are also many holes that people can see through.

Famous Rocks at the Summer Palace

 

  Family Bankruptcy Rock (Baijiashi)

 

  In front of the Hall of Happiness and Longevity, there is a huge rock placed in the middle of this courtyard. The rock is named “Qing Zhi Xiu” and nicknamed, “Family Bankruptcy Rock” [The Story of the Palace’s Homewrecking Rock].

 

  It is 8 meters long, 4 meters high and 2 meters thick, lying on a stone pedestal that is carved with a pattern of sea waves. This big rock was discovered on Fangshan Mountain, 70 kilometers southwest of Beijing. It was also found by Mi Wanzhong and transported into his “Shaoyuan”. More than 100 people and 40 horses were involved in transporting this big stone. They spent 7 days to come out of the mountains and another 5 days to arrive in Liangxiang County, 30 kilometers southwest of Beijing. After spending all his money to ship it, he still could not succeed in doing this, and then he fell into financial difficulties, so the big rock had to be left on the roadside somewhere near Liangxiang County. (actually, not only because of the financial problem, but also for a variety of unfavorable factors and some complicated reasons) hence the rock was nicknamed “Family Bankruptcy Rock.”

Famous Rocks at the Summer Palace

 

  Later, Emperor Qianlong discovered it on his way back to Beijing. He ordered to have it transported to the Garden of Clear Ripples and laid in front of the Hall of Happiness and Longevity, the residence of his mother Empress Dowager Niugulushi, as a screen wall. It was said that because the southern gate near the wharf was smaller than the big rock, Emperor Qianlong gave the order to tear down the gate for transporting the rock inside. Empress Dowager Niugulushi was so angry because the big rock not only made Mi’s family bankrupt, but also broke the gate, that she thought the rock was an ill omen. In order to make the dowager happy, Emperor Qianlong wrote some poems on the rock. He also wrote three characters on its surface to describe the rock looking very much like a magic fungus, glossy with a greenish and smooth surface, an omen of longevity. Then the rock was placed here in the court.