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Mapping Chengde

Mapping Chengde: The Qing Landscape Enterprise

Philippe Forêt
Copyright Date: 2000
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  • Book Info
    Mapping Chengde
    Book Description:

    The imperial residence of Chengde was built by two powerful and ambitious Manchu emperors between 1703 and 1780 in the mountains of Jehol. This volume, the first scholarly publication in English on the Manchu summer capital, reveals how this unlikely architectural and landscape enterprise came to help forge a dynasty's multicultural identity and concretize its claims of political legitimacy. Using both visual and textual materials, the author explores the hidden dimensions of landscape, showing how geographical imagination shaped the aesthetics of Qing court culture while proposing a new interpretation of the mental universe that conceived one of the world's most remarkable examples of imperial architecture.

    eISBN: 978-0-8248-6351-7
    Subjects: History

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-viii)
    (pp. ix-xii)
    (pp. xiii-xviii)
  5. CHAPTER 1 Introduction
    (pp. 1-12)

    Anecdotal questions have led me to fundamental issues concerning the social creation of landscape, the relationship between space and power, and the study of spatial metaphors within a specific civilization. After the fabulous resources of China became available to the Qing emperors, why did they choose to locate their seasonal capital in an impoverished frontier area? For centuries the rituals of court life had been staged in Beijing inside one of the most formidable complexes of ceremonial palaces in the world. Why did these emperors call their new summer residence a mountain hamlet and design it to look like a...

  6. CHAPTER 2 The Great Qing at Home
    (pp. 13-26)

    The Manchu dynasty styled itself the “Great Qing,” Da Qing.² The Qing empire (1636–1912) was certainly “great” in terms of extension, population, and affluence. Curiously, state affairs of the largest empire in Asia were periodically handled in the modest palaces of Bishu shanzhuang, on the prairie of the summer residence, and during hunting parties in Mulan. Seven out of the ten Qing emperors regularly left the Forbidden City and the summer palace of Beijing for several months, passing through the Great Wall of China at the Gubeikou gate and enduring the rigors of travel to the oasis of Chengde...

  7. CHAPTER 3 Hamlet and Imperial Residence
    (pp. 27-53)

    Two points should be stressed when studying the Qing Emperor’s Road to Chengde: its novelty, since the previous road through Jehol had adopted a different course, and its relative impracticability as a steep route only usable in an age of ready manpower. It seems that Rehe dao was the only name that the Qing dynasty gave to the network of roads and post stations that extended into Jehol from Gubeikou to Mulan. Hans Hüttner, a member of the English diplomatic party, gave the nameEmperor’s Roadto the road from Yuanmingyuan to Bishu shanzhuang that Lord Macartney’s embassy took in...

  8. CHAPTER 4 Garden and Mountain Rhetoric
    (pp. 54-79)

    A systemic approach uncovers the meanings of Chengde landscape within its cultural context by focusing on the concept of place wholeness and by extending the notion of the Emperor’s Road to the definition of landscape transition axes. The enumerative approach hitherto employed by scholars to describe Chengde gardens has here been discarded because following the residence paths in the Bishu shanzhuang gardens cannot lead to a discussion of the meaning of place and the importance of cultural context. This approach does not respect the plate-by-plate tour of Chengde gardens proposed in the vistas of theAlbum of Imperial Poems.Nothing...

  9. CHAPTER 5 The Jehol Frontier
    (pp. 80-99)

    The conceptualization of natural and social forces has strongly associated landscape and culture within the Chinese civilization. The landscapes of China exhibit common features that are related to the activities of the sedentary, agrarian, and dense communities that occupy the huge area that extends from Liaoning to Guangdong. The intense exploitation of natural resources; the enjoyment of popular literature and canonical texts, garden architecture, and landscape painting; the coexistence of Buddhist and Daoist religions, Confucian censorship, and geomantic beliefs are among the many elements that have distinguished populous China from neighboring civilizations. The drier areas of Central Asia, the frigid...

  10. CHAPTER 6 Capitals and Models
    (pp. 100-115)

    Many cosmogonical and mythological representations of the universe have existed since ancient times in China. Of the most important representations, one in particular has proposed an intimate and subjective duplication of the external and objective geography of China that is rich in geographical images and concepts. Higher mountains are located in the northwest of the Chinese subcontinent; major rivers flow to the southeast. This inclination of an originally horizontal universe has traditionally been attributed to a defective pillar of Heaven that resulted in the relative displacement to the northwest of the central axis of the world, the Kunlun mountain, and...

  11. CHAPTER 7 Representations of Chengde
    (pp. 116-138)

    A Manchu mountain resort in colonized Mongolia would curiously offer many facets familiar to scholars who have worked on the symbolic landscape of hill stations in European colonies. Just as Ootacamund was used by the Madras presidency in British India, the retreat of Bishu shanzhuang served as a seasonal administrative capital complete with office headquarters, temples, schools, and the theaters and prairie banquets associated with Chinese emperors and Mongol princes. Almost every summer the Kangxi and Qianlong emperors enjoyed migrating to the cool forests of hilly and unsettled Jehol, so different from the flat and crowded plain around hot Beijing....

  12. CHAPTER 8 Chengde Studies
    (pp. 139-152)

    The current development of Chengde studies is directly derived from the literature and iconography produced during the Qing dynasty. By discussing the historicity and the literary genres of these materials, we can retrace scholars’ perceptions of Chengde as an oasis, a religious capital, a patrimony to be saved, or a two-day tour. Scholars of Chengde, particularly since the early 1980s, have added a new layer of landscape meaning to be analyzed. To some degree, these materials have influenced interpretation of the site by the Chinese architects, historians, and engineers who have recently restored the summer residence and the outer temples....

  13. APPENDIX 1 Place Name Concordance
    (pp. 153-153)
  14. APPENDIX 2 Qing Dynasty Emperors
    (pp. 154-154)
  15. APPENDIX 3 Waiba miao Temples
    (pp. 155-155)
  16. APPENDIX 4 The Kangxi Emperor’s Vistas
    (pp. 156-156)
  17. APPENDIX 5 Chronology of Chengde
    (pp. 157-162)
  18. NOTES
    (pp. 163-182)
    (pp. 183-186)
    (pp. 187-202)
  21. INDEX
    (pp. 203-210)
  22. Back Matter
    (pp. 211-214)