china edition


Summer Palace - Long Gallery

This wooden promenade (Changlang) links Longevity Hill with Kunming Lake. 728 m in length, it is the longest gallery in Chinese gardens. In 1990 it was rated as the top long gallery of the world.

Each crossbeam, ceiling, and pillar is painted with a different scene (roughly 10,000 in all) taken from Chinese history, literature, myth, or geography. Among them, they are studded with 4 octagonal pavilions on the joint between a higher place and a lower one, each symbolizing a season.

Long Gallery was constructed along the natural terrain of Longevity Hill and the turns of Kunming Lake, offering a picturesque view with each step. In 1755 when Emperor Qianlong (1736-1795) built the gallery, he ordered artists to go to Hangzhou in Zhejiang Province to sketch the scenery there. Upon their return they painted 546 paintings of West Lake landscapes in the Long Gallery.

Worthy of mention is the fact that the main part of each picture followed the semicircular line of a girder; there was no set framework for the painting; images were created from artists' inspirations. Most of the paintings are typical "'Sushi Colored Paintings" (a kind of Chinese classical painting, decoration art on a wooden building).