Summer Palace

-- Hall of Jade Billows --



Resembling a mother and a son, the two human-shaped rocks intend to symbolize the natural affection between the mother and child, seeming to criticize Guangxu's disobedience and ruthlessness. To the east of the Hall of Benevolence and Longevity and south of Hall of Joyful Longevity lies a group of construction, which takes the style of a sanheyuan (a kind of construction style with a main hall in the center and two secondary in both sides). First built in the 15th year of Qianlong reign during the Qing dynasty and burned down in 1860, later rebuilt in 1892, it is famous for serving as a prison for Emperor Guangxu for ten years.

The center hall, which faces the south with a back door leading to Yiyunguan, the former residence of Guangxu's express, is the Hall of Jade Billows.

In 1898, after the failure of the Reform Movement, Empress Dowager Cixi put Emperor Guangxu under house arrest in Yingtai (Water Terrace Pavilion) in Zhongnanhai (the Central South Sea) near the Forbidden City, and later in Hall of Jade Billows.

Emperor Guangxu was closely watched here. The back door of this hall was sealed and several brick walls were put up to surround the courtyard. From then on, the once noblest emperor was isolated within those walls for ten years.

Two human-shaped rocks were erected in front of the hall by the order of Empress Dowager Cixi. Resembling a mother and a son, the two rocks intended to symbolize the natural affection between the mother and child, seeming to criticize Guangxu's disobedience and ruthlessness.

Articles exhibited in his hall include a throne, a table, an incense burner and a screen.




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