Friday, 1 March 2013

A Merlion's Jaunt in Beijing - Part 3

Waking up to a rainy day, Huang Yen decided to visit the National Musuem of China (中国国家博物馆) instead of the Forbidden City. The Museum is actually free for locals and tourists alike, which he thought was pretty awesome.

Huang Yen's a history buff like his mistress. Some of the exquisite bronze wine vessels from the Shang Dynasty were really cute by today's standards.
Yet another four-legged wine vessel from the Western Zhou period, used for special ceremonies.

Oracle bones, some of the earliest forms of words inscribed on turtle plastrons.
Creepy sanxingdui (三星堆) bronze heads that were excavated in Sichuan. The stylised sculptures have a very different aesthetic from the other Chinese sculptures that we are familiar with.
Intrigued over the mysterious culture that produced the strange heads. HY also thought Sanxindui's stylised figures reminded him very much of manga characters.
Posing with the terracotta horse from the Qin Dynasty. Huang Yen wasn't born when his mistress went to visit the terracotta army in Xian; it's definitely on his bucket list.
Jade Burial Suit
The very pretty polychrome glazed sancai horse
After spending hours at the museum, HY crossed over to the Tiananmen Square for a stroll. 
Taking a subway ride back to Wangfujin
Woohoo, HY finally got to taste the Hai Di Lao Steamboat (海底捞). Viva ma la soup base!
The next morning, a helpful (and perpetually hyper) Monkey helped to wake up both Huang Yen and DJJ . It's a sunny day perfect for the Forbidden City!
Huang Yen arrived at the Meridian Gate (午门), the southern gate of the Forbidden City. The little merlion felt quite blessed to witness a rare cerulean blue sky over Beijing.
We loan a hearing aid for the palace tour.
PSYCHED and coffee-deprived, HY entered the palace which housed the imperial families of the Ming and Qing dynasties up till the ousting of Puyi in 1924.
The original Palace was built in 1921 after the Ming Dynasty shifted the capital to Beijing. The 'Gate of Supreme Harmony' was used by the emperor for his morning briefs to his officials.
Huang Yen felt a certain kinship with the Bronzed Lioness (seen fondling a cub).
Throngs of tour groups were starting to file in. Being the kiasu merlion he was, Huang Yen decided to speed things up a little.
The Palace walls and tiles have a consistent colour theme of red and yellow. Yellow tiles symbolises the earth element (centre of the world) and was the designated colour of the emperor, red walls and pillars symbolises auspicious occasions and vitality.
Taking an obligatory tourist shot.
Jostling to the front of the audience hall to peep at the gilded imperial throne.
Pretty colours under the sunlight.
Huang Yen decided to chill out and take in the sights at the imperial garden
Contemplating life.
Old abode for the last emperor of China, Puyi. 

The concubine's living quarters. 打入冷宫?
乾清宫, the audience hall for several Qing emperors.

The famous '正大光明' tablet in 乾清宫, which apparently was the hiding place for emperor succession decrees for Emperor Yongzheng (yes, we have read too many wuxia novels not to know this).

Walking along the familiar corridor in the palace.有刺客!Assassins!
By noon it was hard to find any spot within the compounds without tour groups.
Quaint wells were more common within the residences.
The 9 Dragon Wall
An extravagant 3-storey opera stage frequented by Empress Cixi.
decrepit little building within the residences.
Exiting from the North gate, Huang Yen swam up to Jingshan Hill to get a bird's eye view of the palace compounds. The park is also known as the place where the last Ming emperor Chongzhen hung himself...
A long walk to Beihai Lake after leaving Jingshan Hill.

-to be continued


Yun Peng said...

We want more! We want more!

potamotrygorgeous said...

Wow, you sure love traveling, great!

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