Summer Palace

-- Hall of Dispelling Clouds --

A stone lion situates in front of the Hall of Dispelling Clouds, symbolizing the supreme power of royal family. Originally built in 1750, the hall is located on the Longevity Hill as well as on the central axis of the Summer Palace. In 1890, the hall was rebuilt for the birthday celebration of Empress Dowager Cixi. It was here that Cixi celebrated her birthday and received birthday gifts from officials and foreign envoys.

Outside the hall, bronze dragon, phoenix and crocks were set, grand and aristocratic, symbolizing the supreme power of the Qing dynasty. Inside, a Nine-dragon Chair was set in the middle. Sitting on this chair, Cixi received the greetings and gifts on her birthday. Besides, folding screen, portrait painting of Cixi and other gifts were exhibited in this hall.

To the south of this hall is the Gate of Dispelling Clouds. A pair of bronze lions and twelve Taihu rocks which implying twelve zodiac animals in China were in front of the gate. The lions, as usual, are auspicious animals to ward off evil spirits. The twelve rocks, taking strange shapes, respectively looks like rat, ox, tiger, rabbit, dragon, snake, horse, sheep, monkey, rooster, dog and pig.

The Empress Dowager Cixi once celebrated her sixtieth and seventieth birthday in the Hall of Dispelling Clouds. On that day, all important civil and military officials, according to respective rank, would stand inside or outside the gate and kowtow to her from there.

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