Summer Palace

-- Marble Boat --



With its superstructure painted white, the boat looks like to be made out of marble. Marble Boat, also named Qingyanfang Boat, is located in the northwest of Kunming Lake. It was first built in 1750 with a Chinese-style wooden superstructure on it. Unfortunately in 1860, the original boat was burned down by the Anglo-French forces, and in 1893, it was rebuilt with a French-style superstructure and two wheelers added to it. Taking the implying meaning of "the water can hold the boat as well as topple the boat", the Marble Boat symbolizes the steadfast rule of the Qing dynasty.

Built with huge stones, the body of this boat is 36 meters long with two tiers. Although made of wood, the superstructure is painted white, looking like a marble boat. Hence the name Marble Boat. The ground was paved with colored bricks and the windows are inlaid with multi-colored glass. A huge mirror was set on each tier, reflecting the waves in the lake. Sitting in front of the mirror, one may feels that he is floating on the water.

The boat has a marvelous drainage system. Four dragon heads serve as the routeway of the rainwater. When it rains, the rains water pour out from the mouths of these dragon heads into the lake, forming a unique scenery in this garden.

This boat used to be the place for Empress Dowager Cixi to enjoy the lake scenery.




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