Thursday, June 02, 2011

China, Part 2: The Forbidden City

Beijing is such an interesting mix of the old and the very new.

And we're off to the Forbidden City.  I love seeing the flowers growing out of the wall of the moat.

The Foo dogs (or lions) are impressive.  They always come in a male and female pair.  The male has his paw on an orb and the female is suckling her young (from her fingers!).  I love Foo dogs.

Have you seen the movie The Last Emperor?  If you have, you've seen many shots of the Forbidden City.  It really is as huge and as dramatic as it appears in the film.  It is impressive!

The whole place was refurbished for the Olympics, so all the paint is beautiful and fresh.

Here is Lian, our city guide, and his famous yellow panda umbrella.

Everywhere there are special, surprising details.  The whole Forbidden City is a photographer's dream.

All the roof corners have these amazing animal decorations.  I love them!

Here we have the nine dragon wall.  It's all ceramic tiles, except for the middle bottom tile above.  That one was broken when they were being installed, and a carved wooden one was created to fill in the missing part.  You would never know it too just look.

Even the doors are impressive!

There are several rooms that make up the museum located within the Forbidden City.  There were many carved jade items, chops, large ceremonial items but what I loved best were the pretties.  (Totally girl-y, I know, but they were so very pretty!)  This gold piece with the granulation is a lovely piece.  I'm not sure what it was used for, but it would make a lovely earring....

What surprised me was that there are places where the scale of buildings seem scaled more to humans than to gods.  It's easy to forget that people lived here.  It's so immense and grand, that when you do come upon a smaller scale, human proportioned part, is comes as a relief---at least to me.

And when you finally leave the Forbidden City, and look back over the moat, the view is still impressive and other-worldly.  I'd always dreamed of visiting there, and now I have.  I keep (mentally) pinching myself.

China really is a wonder!

1 comment:

diane b said...

Amazing pictures of an amazing place. It must have been so exciting to be there. I love the old architecture and the Foo Dogs. The size of the city for the age is mind boggling.