By Philippe Foret
The imperial place of abode of Chengde used to be outfitted by means of robust and impressive Manchu emperors among 1703 and 1780 within the mountains of Jehol. the positioning, that is on UNESCOs international history record, combines the biggest classical gardens in China with a different sequence of grand monasteries within the Sino-Tibetan type. Mapping Chengde, the 1st scholarly ebook in English at the Manchu summer season capital, finds how this not going architectural and panorama company got here to assist forge a dynastys multicultural id and concretize its claims of political legitimacy. utilizing either visible and textual fabrics, the writer explores the hidden dimensions of panorama, exhibiting how geographical mind's eye formed the aesthetics of Qing courtroom tradition whereas presenting a brand new interpretation of the psychological universe that conceived one of many worlds so much impressive examples of imperial structure.
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Extra info for Mapping Chengde: The Qing Landscape Enterprise
The newly created landscape of Chengde integrated visual symbols that made reference to significant places in the Qing empire that were located in China, Mongolia, and Tibet. The spatial fiction established by this created landscape guided for one century the conflict between sedentary Inner China and nomadic Inner Asia. The territory of metaphors created at Chengde contributed to the symbolic control that the expanding empire sought to exert on the cultural landscapes of South China and Central Asia.
The gardens of the Beijing summer residence do not enclose the natural hills, valleys and prairies of Bishu shanzhuang, although Yuanmingyuan abounds in man-made hills and Yuanmingyuan landscape vistas are able to “borrow” the Xiangshan mountain background ten kilometers away. The second feature is a general lack of interest shown by Chinese writers in the hilly and wooded areas of Bishu shanzhuang. This tradition continues in recent Chinese descriptive literature on Chengde. Chinese landscape architects have considered the prairie and mountain districts of the hill station to be attractive only as a background that enhances the beauty of the palace and lake districts: The charm of South China landscapes is combined with the ruggedness of the north.
However, the earliest contemporary paintings of this ying show the buildings and gardens of a mountain villa. This mountain villa appears as a hunting lodge similar to the one of Kalahetun, and would therefore be a xinggong and not a ying. By calling Chengde an upper ying, the emperor implied moreover that lower and middle ying camps existed further down the Wulie [Rehe] river, as if the hill station was a camp undistinguishable from other camps. The true political and architectural significances of Chengde are thus not indicated by the name granted by Kangxi to the hill station.
Mapping Chengde: The Qing Landscape Enterprise by Philippe Foret