Forbidden City

-- Leshoutang (Hall of Joyful Longevity) --

Can you figure out it is a gate or a hall? The hall was Emperor Qianlong's study after his abdication. It is spacious and has a number of lobbies. In 1894, Emperor Dowager Cixi, having ostensibly handed over power to Emperor Guangxu, lived here also, sleeping in the west warmth chamber. Her 60th birthday celebration was also held here.

Outside of the northern gate of the hall, the largest jade sculpture in the Forbidden City is placed. The sculpture is named Duyu Trying to Control Water and weighs 1.07 tons. The jade was quarried at Xinjiang, and freighted to Beijing, then to Yangzhou where it was carved. Ten years passed before the finished sculpture was returned to Beijing. The delicately designed and superbly sculpted jade is very eye-catching.

Now the hall and adjacent Yangxingdian (Hall of Temper Cultivation) exhibit antique objects of gold, silver and jade as well as imperial costumes and other artefacts. The priceless ivory mat deserves special attention. It is 216 cm long and 139 cm wide, made of delicate ivory strips. It is said that the mat was woven about 250 years ago.

You have to walk a short distance westwards to Yuhuayuan (Imperial Garden), however there is still much to see.

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