Can someone help identify this Chinese monument?

I received this postcard today with no description of what it is. It looks like an important monument or archaeological ruin - can anyone please identify it?



Here you go :slight_smile:

Yuanmingyuan Park, also known as the Old Summer Palace and as the “Versailles of the East”, was once a private pleasure garden of the emperors of the Qing Dynasty (1644-1911).


Thank you - I looked it up and it is quite interesting as well as beautiful. Such a shame that it was burned - just shocking that outside military would invade and destroy such a precious cultural heritage. And yet this barbaric tactic continues even in the current year. :worried:


Yuanmingyuan Park, situated in the northwest of Beijing, is the most magnificent royal garden of Qing Dynasty in the Chinese history.Yuanmingyuan Park was named by Emperor Kangxi. “Yuanming” means round and brightness. The implication of “Yuan” is moderate and the “Ming” means that the brightness can cover the whole nation. Yuanmingyuan Park was the home of various sorts of exotic flowers and unusual trees. No wonder that Yuanmingyuan Park was reputed “the most beautiful garden in the world”.

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The Yuan Ming Yuan was burned, looted and destroyed in 1860 by French and English troops, sent by the government of these two countries to force China to trade with foreign countries. There you can see a statue of the French writer Victor Hugo and the text he wrote to criticize the destructions caused by this decision of Emperor Napoleon the Third, who was then reigning over France.

There were several styles of architecture, there, mostly Chinese traditional, but also some of Italian and French style, because Emperor Qianlong liked exotic things.
A lot of art works and other objects were looted by the troops and their commanders and are now in foreign museums. The most famous were the twelve bronze heads of the Chinese zodiac animals, that were part of a fountain/clock, every two hours a different animal was spitting water and every twelve hours they were all spitting together. There is a copy of this original fountain in Beijing Hotel (animals made of stone).

After the destruction of this palace, a new one was built not far, the current Yi He Yuan, but it remains a pity that the original one was destroyed in such a senseless way

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Love the symbolism of those names! Such a shame that this brightness was destroyed. :disappointed_relieved:

Thanks for all the explanations. I didn’t realize the connection, but recently read a mystery about thieves stealing the bronze zodiac heads from European and US museums to restore them to China. It’s good to have these issues of repatriation and responsible ownership brought up to encourage a rethinking of what is the right thing to do.