Traditional Far Eastern architecture (Chinese, Japanese, Korean, etc.)

This building, Wanfang Ahne (Peace in All Directions), was unique in classical Chinese architecture, only it was destroyed in October 1860.


Okay, parts of the destroyed Versailles of the East were rebuilt.
Original building v.s. replica

First of all, this link is about how the European-style buildings were planned and how the Xiyang Lou part was described (eyewitness account of the Jesuits).

The original Haiyan Tang was just a waterworks with a clock as a fountain. But in which part of the building should this room have been located? The water reservoir and the mechanism took up a lot of space in this building.

The rooms of the original Xieqiqu as well as other buildings were wood-paneled, but I have not yet been able to find any interior photos.

Orginal Xieqiqu


Haiyan Tang Replica

Too big

More replica link is in Chinese 橫空出世的圓明新園新長春園夏苑,是怎樣一種美景,到浙江去看看

Orginal YuanMing Yuan


What is this interesting drawing? Is it some kind of construction drawing?

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Looks like a section through the fountain(?) feature? The other one is just a plan.

What do the lines marked on the site plan actually mean?

This is one of the two replicas that were originally built.



From an ancient summer palace near Beijing to a pagoda in Pennsylvania exactly Reading.


I’m not sure how serious the article you linked was meant to be since contained within was the explanation that historians did not fully comprehend that the ruins were that of an elaborate fountain since the English word “fountain”, transliterated into modern Mandarin Chinese, would sound identical to “painful wind” (literally). I can only assume that this is some sort of poor joke since transliteration, unlike what the article claims (and indeed the examples all show the exact opposite) had never been the preferred method of introducing new concepts into the written Chinese language, the spoken forms being far too numerous and mutual intelligibility usually disappears quite quickly. The term that was officially used for this particular fountain literally translated to “great waterworks” or “great water magic”, which would make sense descriptively and logically as nobody at the Chinese court spoke English at the time - thanks to the long-standing Portuguese presence in Macau, the designers were Jesuits, and almost certainly communicated with the court in Latin (fons) and Italian amongst themselves (fontana). And these are less replicas and more ‘conjectures from paintings half a century out of date at least’. Contemporaneous descriptions and drawings would have been stored within the compound and hence, burned on orders of Lord Elgin (the 8th Earl), the son and heir of the man who stole the marbles. The modern term literally translates to spraying spring/geyser, which makes sense as ancient fountains had no effective mechanism to produce water pressure at will and relied on elaborate, Rube-Goldberg style ways to create the effect, whereas today, one can simply pick up parts from Home Depot and build your own much more powerful version in your yard. The precise mechanism of this particular fountain only exists by conjecture - based on some archeological and documentation for sure, but the improvements made during the 100 years or so of its operational life was largely lost during the burning of the palace. The differentiation of mechanism would have to predate the 1880s when Japanese neologisms were copied into Chinese wholesale - everything from ‘democracy’ to titles of nobility - which the Japanese copied from the British deliberately and in turn, had to make up some new words. After all, the titles once did have meaning, but that had disappeared functionally by the time the Tudors took control and also, when your country lacks a march for a marquess (or margrave, if you want to go German) to protect, the literal definition would be a headscratcher. Fifteen years ago I managed to document and transliterate a good deal of the pidgin used in trade by compradors in Shanghai that was a mixture of Shanghainese - itself a syncretic language that didn’t even exist at the time of the burning of the old summer palace, mixed with a heavy dose of English loanwords and the occasional Portuguese, Spanish, and Dutch. No attempt was evident to introduce meaning into the native parts unless by coincidence - as long as it was understandable by both parties, then all was good. The differentiation that does exist and unrelated to the sound would indicate a level of engineering knowledge that unfortunately seemed to have gone up in smoke. As late as 1994, the last time I was in Beijing, the tour guide actually described the ruins as sculpture, although I was a 7 year old with a severe case of ADHD so I could have missed something, but at the time it was still more propaganda than historical landmark.

I was fortunate enough to be born into a family that was heavily involved in the CCP apparatus to the degree where what’s usually verboten is instead dinner table conversation - yes, including what happened in Tiananmen Square, from both sides in fact, as my mom out of all people, who is now retired and spends her days in a fancy RV traveling around national parks and cities both in the US and Canada, was once attached to a unit sent in to suppress the students, except she left the PLA to get married 3 years prior. I have childhood memories of students marching, half a country away from Beijing, and after the events my grandfather, who was important enough to have an entry in the party encyclopedia, decided that his children all needed a way to leave post-haste, and as a result I’m in the curious position of being able to pass either as someone connected to the party elite and someone whose values are too liberal even for the mainstream west. It also gave me access to libraries in China - which are not open to the public or really non-CCP members - as well as those in the west, plus sci-hub filling in any gaps. I did fieldwork that mainly dealt with infrapolitical self-governance under colonial regimes and the perception and reality of manifestations of power in colonies under British rule from Napoleon to the Partition, but it’s hard to ignore how obvious the revisionism inherent in shoehorning Marxist-Leninist ideas, which were conceptualized in a thoroughly Eurocentric lense with Gramsci basing his ideas of hegemony entirely on, charitably, orientalist fantasies instead of realities. Except this distortion was necessary to legitimize the CCP’s own raison d’etre and so what was orientalism became native by decree. The fact is WWII had a devastating effect on architecture and infrastructure in China and cities were rebuilt firstly in Soviet styles and then leaned heavily into orientalism familiar to the source of hard western currency. There are authentic parts of antiquity left, of course, but consider that Beijing’s walls withstood multiple attacks by western artillery - including by the forces that were frustrated outside of the city and turned to loot the summer palace instead before having the gates of Beijing opened to sign the convention to end the war - ended up being torn down by successive Chinese regimes in power and took the better part of 70 years, interrupted of course by WWII. For a country that had made its 5,000 years of continued existence (not as a singular entity but at least it is true that there had been a continuous claimant to legitimate control of the polity known as China to the west for about that long, with anything earlier either undocumented or yet unfound), it’s a country that also really doesn’t have a sincere attachment to its own history on a factual level. Even the authentic are refurbished. America tends to not talk about the uglier parts of its history. China talks about it but without context or any critical analysis for understanding.

But you know what is unique and largely unchanged, at least outwardly? (Thank goodness they have central A/C now) The hybrids that they could not forcibly refurbish because there’s no idealized past as a frame of reference. Maybe it’s because I know a lot of people with mixed heritage in HK and Malaysia and Singapore and of course, in the US and Canada, but there have been efforts to erase them from both the colonized and colonizer, but they have endured, as their architecture. There’s no Disneyfication here. It’s the real deal.

(The KFC marquee is a little out of place, but in 1994 it was a big deal and one can only document the times they live in)


What I read in a Chinese website with the help of translation is:
The mechanism for operating the front fountain (dashuifa) was changed towards the end of the 18th century. Before that, the volume was so loud that it was impossible to have a conversation in the immediate vicinity. Only after the changeover to manual operation did the front fountain become less noisy.

Are these the original Jesuit drawings or were they made later?

Do cross-section drawings, floor plans and other drawings of the buildings in the European style still exist?

Glass blocks with these artistic stones were used not only for the fountains but also for the facades and interiors of the buildings.