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Hall of Benevolence and Longevity

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There used to be a throne hall for handling state affairs in every Qing imperial garden, with no exception in the summer Palace. The Hall of Benevolence and Longevity was first built in 1750 and named Qinzhengdian (the hall of Diligent Government). This was where Empress Dowager Cixi and Emperor Guangxu held court and administered state affairs.

Name source:
The building was burned down in 1860. When rebuilt in 1889, it was changed to its present name, taken from Confucius doctrine--those who are benevolent can enjoy longevity.

In the middle of the Hall of Benevolence and Longevity, there stands the emperor's throne carved with a nine-dragon design, symbolizing the supreme power of the emperor. The two fans behind the throne, one on each side, represent the dignity of the emperor. In front of the throne are incense burners and candlesticks. There are two scrolls on the wall, one on each side, with a big Chinese character meaning "longevity" in Empress Dowager Cixi's handwriting. The 100 bats in the background of the scroll symbolize happiness, because the Chinese character for "bat" has the same pronunciation as that for "happiness". The two big mirrors on the left and right of the throne against the wall are for the purpose of reflecting evil spirits. The frame of the mirror is made of mahogany. It took 3,600 man-days or one person ten years to do the job.

In front of the hall stands a bronze Xuanni, a mythical animal which was said to be one of the sons of a dragon. It has the head of a dragon, the tail of a lion, the antlers of a deer, the hooves of an ox and scales all over its body. It was put here because it was believed to be able to distinguish right from wrong.

The incense burners symbolized power and dignity. When an important ceremony was held, sandalwood incenses were burned in the incense burners, giving off wisps of fragrant smoke. The incense burners of dragon and phoenix shapes are symbols of the emperor and the empress.

Beijing Tour Routes Covers Summer Palace:

BH-1. 3 nights 4 days Beijing tour BH-2. 4 nights 5 days Beijing tour
BH-3. 5 nights 6 days Beijing tour BH-4. 6 nights 7 days Beijing tour
BK-1. 2 days Beijing tour BK-2. 3 days Beijing tour
BK-3. 4 days Beijing tour BK-4. 5 days Beijing tour
BK-5. 6 days Beijing tour BK-6. 7 days Beijing tour
BX-1. Xingang Beijing 2 days (no hotel) BX-2. Xingang Beijing 2 days tour
BX-3. Xingang Beijing 4 days tour BJXA-3. Beijing Xian 4 days tour
BJCD-2. Beijing Chengde 6 days tour BJGL-1. Beijing Guilin Tour
BJSH-1. 5 days Beijing Shanghai Tour BJSH-2. 6 days Beijing Shanghai Tour
BJSH-3. Beijing Shanghai Suzhou Tour BJSH-4. 9 Days Beijing Shanghai Suzhou Hangzhou Tour
BJLH-1. Beijing Lhasa Tour BJXA-3. Beijing Xian 4 days tour
BJXA-5. Beijing Xian 9 days tour BJXA-4. Beijing Xian 7 days tour

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