Marble Boat, Beijing Summer Palace, Qingyanfang, China

beijing summer palace - marble boat
beijing summer palace - marble boat
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Marble Boat - Beijing Summer Palace

 

A marble boat is a decorative structure in the tradition of classical landscaping in China. Called “shifang” or “shichuan”, in China’s south it is called a “hanchuan” or land boat. The underwater portion of a marble boat is usually made of stone while its deck, including its cabins, are made of wood forming a pavilion. The upper part may also include a cabin at the sterna and the bow, much like the official boats of ancient China.

The Beijing Summer Palace has the largest marble boat existing in China. It is 36 meters long and is officially known as the Qingyanfang (though this name is now obsolete). Today, it is known as the Marble Boat. Built entirely in white stones, it first came in to existence in 1755 AD during the time of Emperor Qianlong. It was originally meant to be a belvedere on the water’s surface for the royal family to symbolize the stalwart hardiness of the imperial strength.

The Anglo-French Allied Forces burned down the original wood cabin house in 1860. The structure seen today was reconstructed in 1893 in the reign of Emperor Guangxu. It was meant to be copied from the cabin house of a vessel from the West, the windows decorated with stained glass and the floors paved with enamel tiles. The Marble Boat is now one of the attractions for tourists, couples because of the romantic ambiance of the park. You may find also single chinese ladies there looking for a partner.