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Shifang (Marble Boat)Summer Palace Marble Boat
The Marble Boat, Shifang in Chinese, was first built in 1755 during the reign of Emperor Qianlong. It is 36 meters long with two decks. There used to be a Chinese style wooden superstructure on the top part of the boat but it was destroyed by the invading troops in 1860. Empress Dowager Cixi had it restored in 1893, adding two wheels, one on each side of the boat, and a European-style superstructure, which was made of wood but painted to look like marble. There is a big mirror on each deck. Empress Dowager Cixi often enjoyed the beautiful scenery while she had her breakfast and dinner in front of the mirror.

  • The marble Boat was supposed to be a symbol of stability of the Qing Dynasty, an idea derived from the saying "water can carry a boat, and it can also capsize a boat."

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