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The Old Summer Palace in the Republican Period: An Inexhaustible Waste Field

2016-11-15 09:53:56Share:

  February 12, 1912,the last emperor Pu Yi abdicated, ending the 260 years’ rule under Qing dynasty. The republic government granted Pu Yi many preferential treatments, that the emperor still retained its imperial title, that allowed the family continue to live in the Forbidden City, that the republic Government annual supplied 4 million yuan to the Qing Emperor and royal family and that to protect the original private property. Thus, all the gardens, including the Old Summer Palace, the Summer Palace, etc.,still owned by the royal family.

 

  During this period,many tombs of the Qing dynasty were exploded open by burglars.the great warlord Sun Dianying commanded the army to open the Qing Tombs of the Qianlong and Empress Cixi and others’,stole a large number of funerary treasures.At this time the Old Summer Palacewas dilapidated, yet still prominent popular to eunuchs, warlords, bureaucrats, ruffians, profiteers to become their greedy goals for its reputation, indiscriminately plundering the remnants and stealing a large number of bricks, timber, stone and keeping on. Numerous fine white marble stone, stones and rocks from Tai Lake were getting stolen to decorate and build private houses and cemeteries.

The Old Summer Palace in the Republican Period of China: An Inexhaustible Waste Field

 

  The guards are also the thieves

 

  In the early time, the government openly asked for the precious pieces from the sorehead royal family. The same year, Beijing's military generals asked for the Old Summer Palace rockery stones. Nomatter how reluctant, the Imperial Household Office could not refuse.Once the Imperial Household Department with the consent of Pu Yi, voluntarily helped the government to select and deliver 51 pieces of rockery stones.

 

  With the death of “president" Yuan Shikai, the political situation had become worse, protection of the Old Summer Palace was getting more difficult.in fact,this desolate garden had become readily available for thieves.On the day in the fall of 1919,dozens of soldiers presumably carried away dozens of rockery stones from the site of the Wenyuan Pavilion.The Qing court lodged a strong protest against Beijing's commanders, but it was useless.

The Old Summer Palace in the Republican Period of China: An Inexhaustible Waste Field

 

  The most unbearable incident occurred in 1921,soldiers from twobattalions belonging to the 16th division beat the persuading servants and forcibly into the Ole Summer Palace plundering.

 

  they demolished the city walls and took many rockery stone away. It was two whole days and in the period, no one dared to stop them.

 

  In 1922,Yenching University missionary managers asked for stones from the nearby Old Summer Palace for building Mogen Yard. It might have been philanthropic yet for the others. At the same year, the capital police director XueZhiheng wanted to “borrow” some building materials for his own use.

 

  The Summer Palace sustains by selling the Old Summer Palace materials

 

  After the Republic of China, a large part of the income of the Summer Palace office came by selling the remnants of the Old Summer Palace. Empty cars in, casually filled a car and paid one yuan as you left. Some powerful people, arbitrarily selected and paid no money.

 

  In an effort to prevent the endless acts of taking away materials from the Old Summer Palace, three ministers of the House of Commerce Shao Ying,Jieshou and Bao Xi banned Wang Huaiqing from taking away anything from the Old Summer Palace in sept 1922. Wang Huaiqing promised to give the ruins the best protection. but the irony is that he himself had sent hundreds of workers with sharp hoe, axes and shovels sneaked into the Palace, removed the wall around the fortification and tared “Hong Ci Yong Gu” Wall. The walls of Baroque buildings were also demolished in order to build their own private garden—Da Garden. He not only openly transported, but also personally supervised the steal.

The Old Summer Palace in the Republican Period of China: An Inexhaustible Waste Field

 

  In 1924,the Northeast warlord Zhang Zuolin controlled of Beijing,he removed from a large number of white marble from the Old Summer Palace,transported to Liaoning to build his own cemetery.At the same time,a wealthy German arms dealer stole different types of building materials to build his CuihuaGarden.In such unscrupulous demolition,the wall quickly disappeared.After the walls were demolished, the garden land became the new target.

 

  Indicative relics got stolen

 

  Although the unity of the Old Summer Palace temporarily maintained, but in 1924 the whole year,materials from the Palace were still being stolen.

 

  British writer Danby observed in the 1930s, "in many rough mason shops in Beijing,you can buy exquisite stone carvings or marble carvings of double wreaths,flowers and foreign-themed statues, which are taken from European Architecture palace for one or two dollars.”

The Old Summer Palace in the Republican Period of China: An Inexhaustible Waste Field

 

  Since then, man-made looting, fire and invasions made the Old Summer Palace a deserted wilderness.

 

  In 1937,after the outbreak of the War of Resistance Against Japan,hungry peasants, former Qing eunuchs and former Ch'ing Manchu banners in Beijing (then called Peking)came to the palace site and dug it into a farm.As a result, the hills were razed to the groundand the lake was filled as arable land or as a fish pond.

 

  To the liberation of Peking in 1949,the Old Summer Palace, this royal garden had been plundered and destroyed thoroughly, almost turned into a desolate wild. Leaving only a few columns of Western-style buildingstanding alone in the shrubs.