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Main Exhibits on Display inside the Hall of Benevolence and Longevity

2017-02-21 15:28:49Share:

  Inside the Hall of Benevolence and Longevity (Summer Palace, Beijing), visitors can see the emperor’s throne carved with a nine-dragon design, placed in the middle of the dais, symbolizing the supreme power of the emperor.


  Behind the throne, there are two big fans on both sides, which are made of peacock feathers. The feathers would never fade, symbolizing the dignity of the emperor.


  Hung above the emperor’s throne, is a big plaque with four Chinese characters meaning: he who shows benevolence in running the government can live a long life.


  In front of the throne, there are incense burners and candlesticks shaped like cranes and made of cloisonné. There are two column shaped incense burners, one on each side, for burning incense on formal occasions.


  The elephant-shaped incense burner placed on both sides of the throne is a symbol of universal peace.


  Luduan, a kind of mythical animal placed on both sides of the throne, served as incense burners made of cloisonné. Believed to be capable of traveling 9,000 kilometers per day and speaking all the languages of the nearby kingdoms, they were a symbol of obedience to the emperor by different kingdoms.


  Behind the throne there is a big screen with a red sandalwood frame and glass mirror. Inlaid on the glass mirror, there are 226 Chinese characters of the word “longevity” written in different forms of calligraphy, a special birthday gift to the Empress Dowager Cixi.


  There are two scrolls on each side of the wall with a big Chinese character “Longevity” written on it. It was believed that the word “Longevity” was written by Empress Dowager Cixi. There are 100 bats painted in the background of the scroll symbolizing happiness. The “100 bats holding the character longevity” is very famous in china as symbolizing happiness because of the Chinese pronunciation. The word “bat” in Chinese is pronounced “fu” which has the same pronunciation as the Chinese word for happiness (“Fu”). The big character “Longevity” was copied and enlarged by scholars of the Hanlin imperial academy.


  There are two big mirrors on the left and right of the dais for the purpose of warding off evil spirits. The frame of the big mirror is made of mahogany wood with a fantastic carving on it. The carving of the frame took 3,600 man days or one person working 10 years to do the job.


  The left and right small chambers inside the hall of benevolence and longevity were places where the emperor and the empress dowager rested and received the officials on informal occasions.

The Imperial Gardens