Monday, March 29, 2010

China, Day 2, Part 3 (Still in Beijing)

The Forbidden City, otherwise known as the Royal Palace, or Palace Museums. Berenice decided not to go on this one and stayed in the bus. I knew it was a long LONG walk, lots of stairs and she'd already done one big walk ( for her) that day.

Lots of big buildings covered in Yellow glazed roof tiles. I mean, really BIG buildings. I'm not really remembering exactly what they were, but there were many. I just kept going around and looking at them, was impressed, and when we went around that building, it was a "But WAIT! THERE'S MORE!!" moment. There was yet another building, just as big or bigger, a courtyard, carved marble, (more tourists, more stairs), more to see. It was very big.

Below is a large carving. I'm standing at the bottom of the stairs, looking UP. I took a picture of the plaque by it, explaining it. The best part to me was where it said that after it was all installed and carved, another different dynasty took over, and they REMOVED all the original carving and replaced it with their own! That's a lot of rock!

(above- that's the toe of my shoe, hopefully showing what detail there is in this pretty carving)
Below is a close-up of one of the dragons. These types of carvings usually have water, mountains, clouds, dragons...

Below, there's our photographer/videographer. We watched the whole video that she took last night. It's long and could use some serious editing. I wish it wasn't just music because she filmed lots of bits and pieces of "Beijing Wally" explaining things to us. But we cannot hear him in the video unfortunately. We just hear background music and the cute gal going, "Hello! Hello!" or "Here! Here!" She knew very little English. That makes us even. We knew very little Chinese.

There are large pots surrounding this square. They were everywhere, actually. And they used to be filled with water. Remember, these buildings are WOOD. Hard to believe, but they are. They have been very well-preserved. There's not water in them now, but it was impressive to see how forward-thinking they were. I believe it was constructed in the 1400's.

There is a major walkway or path that goes right through the center of the universe, according to the Chinese. And this is that path or sacred way. It is in this city, it continues through the Ming tombs, continues through Tiananmen Square, etc. Did YOU know that Beijing and China was the center of the universe? Neither did I.
The detail and colors were really spectacular. I mean, look at the size of that door! And the thresh holds over every entry were huge. They are built that way to keep evil spirits out of the dwelling. Evil spirits can only HOP with feet together, not walk or jump high. So a nice, thick, relatively tall thresh hold in the entry seemed to do the trick. It also served to trip up my mother-in-law. Not literally, but it was a struggle to always look down and make sure where she was walking. They were typically just under 12 inches tall and about 8 inches deep/wide. There is significance to the big brass knobs on the doors, too. Always odd numbers are very significant to the royal family and emperors. There are 81--9 x 9.
Check out the size of that door stop!

Standing in front of a lion statue. There were two. Male ones have a ball under their foot, the females have a baby lion under her paw.

Guards in front. Our guide said they didn't like having their pictures taken, or we were not supposed to take their pictures. So I snapped this, but after I looked back again (we were leaving), there were all sorts of other tourists posing between them, having their photos taken with the guards. Granted, they did not smile and just stood there. But that's what a guard does, right?

1 comment:

Suzanne said...

That door stop is HUGE! And no...I didn't realize that china was the center of the universe. Too funny.