Legend of the Tail-broken Bronze Ox at the Summer Palace2016-04-29 10:20:30Share:
The Bronze Ox with broken tail, next to the 17-Arched Bridge, attracts numerous tourists home and abroad, who always speak highly of its elegant shape and vivid expression. In fact, there is still a legend about this ox, which should speak from Empress Dowager Cixi’s extension plan towards the Summer Palace.
It is said that during the construction time, Empress Dowager Cixi got this delusion that she was the queen from heaven, thus she commanded to restore the Summer Palace as “a Heaven on Earth": The tower of Buddhist Incense symbolized the Heaven Palace while the Kunming Lake the Milky Way, and the Bafang Pavilion as well as the correlation of Dragon King Temple were the mortal world.
Given the Milky Way, was, of course, also had Niulang and Zhinü. Hence, a head of bronze bull, to symbolize the cowboy, was put beside the Kunming Lake, which is under the Bafang pavilion; beside the marble boat, a pavilion named Zhinü was also built. The bull’s body faced east, while its head turned to the northwest, facing directly to the Zhinü pavilion. Bounded with Kunming Lake, a formation appeared with "cowboy" at the left while "Vega" at the right.
From then on, all days and all nights, the head of the "bull" deeply looked the "Vega", silently and affectionately. A year on July 7, the same day as cowboy meets zhinü in heaven, the head of the bull suddenly lived and left its original position. He walked into the lake, step by step, swimming in the direction of the Vega pavilion. Nevertheless, the Kunming Lake was too large, and when the bull head swam to half, he sank to the bottom of the river, never showing up again.
Someone told this miracle to Empress Dowager Cixi. Not believing at first, she went to the marble seventeen-arch bridge to see: the bull was really gone. How to do? How can no cowboy beside the "Tianhe"!
Hence, she ordered to rush out another bull imitating the past one and put in the original place. Be afraid of its running away, the bull was locked with huggers.
In the second year of July 7, the second head bull moved again. Seeing huggers couldn’t lock the bull, Cixi ordered some strong bodyguards to pull and hold it. They exerted all their strength to drag "cow" tail, and with a "click" sound, the tail was parted from its body because of the too hard pulling.
At this time, other people found more coarse huggers, with great hurry and bustle, and finally locked the copper bull. From then on, the bull with broken tail was left beside the Kunming Lake. However, this is the second one, and where is the first one? Legend said it was still under the Kunming Lake!
Someone asked, why now, the bull at the Summer Palace without a broken tail?
From the photographs took by Japanese photographer Yamamoto in 1901, the bull's tail had been connected. On the basis of inference, the tail was connected during the period of reconstruction in the Summer Palace, and the redone one joined very neatly with the truncated beginning, almost no imperceptibly line, which became a small unsettled case difficult to handle.
What is the exact figure of the original bronze oxtail keeps unknown, just as the broke arm of Venus, which can always stir up the audience a lot of imagination when watching. Hence, why not to come to the Summer Palace, appreciating and identifying it personally beside the Kunming Lake?
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