The Shimmering Kunming Lake2016-05-30 14:07:00Share:
People usually compare the Kunming Lake in the Summer Palace to the West Lake in Hangzhou, since the layouts and scenery of Kunming Lake are based on the West Lake.
Ancient poets often emphasized the constantly changing sceneries of the West Lake in different seasons, such as “whether she wears heavy makeup or not she is always the agreeable lady.” And people could never get enough of her.
However, the scenic changes of Kunming Lake are no inferior to that of the West Lake. In the morning there are the shining rosy clouds and glowing sunshine reflected in the clear ripples. In broad daylight the lake is shimmering and the hill would find itself in a mirror. At dusk the sunset would dye the whole lake into golden sea. In the evening the moon shines in the sky with its reflections glowing in the water.
What’s more, when winter comes, the Kunming Lake often has very long ice period. people can walk and play on the ice; ride on a specially made ice couch through the lake surface; appreciate the wonderful scenery on the vast lake surface personally, which is what the west lake can’t compare to since it seldom freeze in winter.
It is said that on one mid-autumn festival, Guangxu and his imperial family wanted to hold a great celebration that night. After watching an opera on the land, they went boating on the Kunming Lake. The traditional dragon boat, on the head, was sat on the empress dowager and emperor, while the princes, dukes and officials got onto the steamboat. The rest courtiers and officials got on small boats without covering. So many vessels sailed slowly to the center of the lake.
After appreciating the lotus, a theatrical boat approached them with a square stage decorated with festival lanterns. The opera was performed right before the dragon boat and steamboat. After the performing ended, fireworks and firecrackers were lighted into the sky to push the celebration to its climax.
History books often mentioned the scene of Empress Dowager Cixi boating on the Kunming Lake to appreciate its beautiful scenery. Red curtain hung from the side window of the boat and there stood elaborately carved sandalwood furniture inside the cabin. Two smaller cabins had been separated out as dressing room and temporary bedroom.
The lake was very beautiful in the sun. The boat sailed slowly floating across the vast lake into the rear-stream river which was sheltered by long willow branches on both banks. Then they would disembark at the dock at the foot of the hill. While sipping the tea, the Empress Dowager Cixi enjoyed the beautiful scenery on the lake.
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