S: Beijing and Xi'an China September 2-10 2012
BC: © 2012 Jane E. McGinnis
1: September 2-10, 2012 | Brian R. Miller
2: Tian'anmen Square | September 4, 2012
3: Sitting in the center of the city and on the intersection where the longitudinal and latitudinal axes of Beijing cross over each other, Tian'anmen Square is the largest urban square in the world today, with an area of up to 440,000 square meters, which can accommodate one million people for holding a grand gathering To the east is the Chinese History Museum and Chinese Revolutionary Museum. To the west is the Great Hall of the People. In the middle of the square is the Monument to the People's Heroes, which has recorded the Chinese people's hard struggles for national liberation. To the south is the Chairman Mao Memorial Hall built in 1977.
4: The Forbidden City was the Chinese imperial palace from the Ming Dynasty to the end of the Qing Dynasty. It is located in the middle of Beijing, China, and now houses the Palace Museum. For almost 500 years, it served as the home of emperors and their households, as well as the ceremonial and political center of Chinese government. | Built in 1406 to 1420, the complex consists of 980 buildings and covers 7,800,000 sq ft. | The Forbidden City
5: It is the largest and best preserved ancient palace complex in the world. In 1987, UNESCO listed it on the "World Heritage List" | The palace complex exemplifies traditional Chinese palatial architecture,[ and has influenced cultural and architectural developments in East Asia and elsewhere.
6: The Great Wall of China was built mainly during the three dynasties – Qin Dynasty (221 B.C to 206 B.C), Han Dynasty (206 B.C.–220 A.D) and Ming Dynasty (1368 A.D -1644 A.D). The most powerful Yuan Dynasty and the last Dynasty – Qing Dynasty did nothing about the building of the Wall since they were “barbarians” against whom the Wall of China was supposed to have been built. | The Great Wall of China | September 5, 2012
7: Actually the history tells us the Wall played no role in preventing the “barbarians”. Never did the Wall stop any invasions, large or small. | But the Wall did do many things: it proclaimed the frontier, it employed thousands, it prevented defections, it displayed the might of the emperor.
8: Perform on the Great Wall September 5, 2012
11: Climbing the Great Wall Sept. 5, 2012
12: The name of theTemple of Heaven is a little misleading. It is more than just a temple, it is a huge park as well. Inside the huge park, there is a lovely temple complex, which is composed of three main parts – Hall of Prayer for Good Harvests,the Imperial Vault of Heaven and Circular Mound Altar | Temple of Heaven is called “Tiantan ParK” in Chinese, literally meaning “Temple of Heaven Park”. It was first constructed in 1420, the 18th year of the reign of Ming emperor Yongle. It was the place where the emperors of the Ming and Qing dynasties would worship the god of heaven and pray for good harvest.
13: Temple of Heaven
18: Summer Palace was a royal palace in later Qing Dynasty, only secondary to the Forbidden City ( now the Palace Museum).Summer Palace is actually not just a royal palace where once Princess Dowager Cixi and the emperor lived and handled court affairs, accepted laudations and received foreign diplomats during their stay in the Summer Palace. It also epitomizes classical Chinese architecture, in terms of both garden design and construction.It is the largest royal garden in Beijing.
19: The Summer Palace | The Summer Palace
20: The temple is said to have survived the Cultural Revolution due to the intervention of Prime Minister Zhou Enlai. It was reopened to the public in 1981
21: The Lama Temple | The Yonghe Temple, also known as the "Palace of Peace and Harmony Lama Temple", the "Yonghe Lamasery", is a temple and monastery of the Geluk School of Tibetan Buddhism located in the northeastern part of Beijing, China. It is one of the largest and most important Tibetan Buddhist monasteries in the world. The building and the artworks of the temple is a combination of Han Chinese and Tibetan styles.
22: Hutongs represent an important cultural element of the city of Beijing. Thanks to Beijing’s long history and status as capital for six dynasties, almost every hutong has its anecdotes, and some are even associated with historic events. In contrast to the court life and elite culture represented by the Forbidden City, Summer Palace, and the Temple of Heaven, the hutongs reflect the culture of grassroots Beijingers. The hutongs are residential neighborhoods which still form the heart of Old Beijing.
23: The word "hutong" is Mongolian in origin, meaning a "water well". In the old time with the digging of new wells, came the new communities. Later it was referred to as narrow streets or lanes formed by quadrangle courtards. The word " hutong" with the meaning of narrow lanes was formed during the Yuan Dynasty in the 13th century when the Mongols, led by Genghis Khan, occupied Beijing, then the capital of the Jin Dynasty. In 1260 Kubla Khan, grandson of Genghis Khan, established the Yuan Dynasty. Kubla Khan chosed Beijing as his capital 1264. During the takeover by the Mongols, the old city had been largely demolished, and so he decided to rebuild the city. When the new city was finished, there were clear definitions of streets, lanes and hutongs. A 36 metre wide road was called a "big street". An 18 metre wide one a "small street", and a 9 metre wide lane was called a "hutong". Surrounding the Imperial Palace, hutongs were established throughout the Yuan (1206-1341), Ming (1368-1644) and Qing (1644-1911) Dynasties. Most of the hutongs we see today were built during the Ming and Qinq. You only still find a very few hutongs preserved from the Yuan Dynasty. | Our Tour to the Historic Hutong District of Beijing
26: Xi'an Ancient Historic City
28: The exquisite terracotta army of the first Qin Dynasty ruler Shihuangdi represents the emperor’s ability to control the resources of the newly unified China, and his attempt to recreate and maintain that empire in the afterlife. The soldiers are part of Shihuangdi's tomb, located near the modern town of Xi'an, Shaanxi province in China.
29: Terra Cotta Warriors | The Terracotta Warriors represent only a small portion of the eight thousand strong underground army buried in front of the Emperor Qinshihuang's tomb (r. 221-207 BC) to defend him in the afterlife. The craftsmanship attested by each of the statues is as stupendous as the scale of the project
31: The Terracotta Army or the "Terra Cotta Warriors and Horses", is a collection of terracotta sculptures depicting the armies of Qin Shi Huang, the first Emperor of China. It is a form of funerary art buried with the emperor in 210–209 BC and whose purpose was to protect the emperor in his afterlife. The figures, dating from 3rd century BC, were discovered in 1974 by some local farmers in Lintong District Xi'an, Shaanxi province. The figures vary in height according to their roles, with the tallest being the generals. The figures include warriors, chariots and horses. Current estimates are that in the three pits containing the Terracotta Army there were over 8,000 soldiers, 130 chariots with 520 horses and 150 cavalry horses, the majority of which are still buried in the pits near by Qin Shi Huang's mausoleum. Other terracotta non-military figures were also found in other pits and they include officials, acrobats, strongmen and musicians | It was by constructing each of the hollow statues upon solid legs that the Ancient Chinese craftsemen solved the perplexing problem of how to make a statue free-standing. Hollow heads, arms and legs, made of coiled earth, were joined together with strips of clay and set upon the solid legs. After this rough model was assembled, a fine clay slip was added, and details such as eyes, mouth, nose and details of dress were carved into the clay while it was still pliable. Additional pieces such as ears, beard and armour were modeled separately and attached, after which the whole figure was fired at a high temperature.