china edition


Summer Palace - Tower of Buddhist Incense

The Tower of Buddist Incense stands atop the Longevity Hill and is the symbol of this royal garden and highest building inside the Palace.

Tower of Buddhist IncenseSituated on the central axis of the Palace, north of the Hall of Dispelling Clouds, this 21 m high, 8-facade tower is built on a 20 m high stone planet with 8 huge columns as its backbone. It was built in 1750, but it was destroyed in 1860 by the Allied Anglo-French Forces. It was rebuilt in 1889 but destroyed again the following year. The reconstruction this time was in 1903. After that, several renovations took place which gave this tower its present look.

According to the original master plan for the Palace, a 9-storey tower designed after the Tower of Six Harmony in Hangzhou was about to be built. Just before the completion of the tower, Emperor Qianlong found out that that tower did not fit with the surrounding hills and lakes, the Emperor accepted the suggestions of some other designers and the present Tower of Buddist Incense was built instead. It took 780,000 taels of silver to reconstruct the building during 1891-1894.

This Tower used to be a place tor emperors and Empresses to pray. Empress Dowager Ci'xi always held praying ceremonies here on the 1st and 15th day of each lunar month.

Behind the tower of Buddist Incense is the Sea of Wisdom, on which there are about 1,000 small glazed Buddist sculptures.