Chinese Panorama

Typical communist sculptures guarding Mao’s mausoleum in Tiananmen Square, Beijing.

Tiananmen Square in Beijing, the entrance to the Forbidden City, once the home of the Emporer, now decorated with a portrait of Chairman Mao.  There is a giant flower pot because I got there just after China’s national holiday.

The Forbidden City is mostly a series of massive and very similiar courtyards with very little indoor space.  The Emporer liked to spend lots of time outside.  It is also believed that they felt safer from attacks in a massive empty enclosed space than in a small enclosed space like a castle.  This was built in the year 500.

One of the smaller sections of the Forbidden City.  I think this portion was used as a residence for concubines or the Empress or both at different periods.

The Chinese are full of good advice.  My grandfather would approve of this.

The Chinese are full of good advice.  My grandfather would approve of this.

The Emporer’s Throne.

The Emporer’s Throne.

The Emporer wouldn’t walk.  He would be carried on a chair by servants.  The servants would walk on the steps, and his chair would hover over these ornately carved ramps.

Exiting the Forbidden City is quite the traffic jam.

Exiting the Forbidden City is quite the traffic jam.

Summer Palace, Beijing.  I think this is where the Empress liked to hang out.

The way to the summer palace has a long enclosed pathway decorated with paintings from Chinese folklore tales.

And this is the boat I rode around on.

And this is the boat I rode around on.

This is a boat carved out of marble.  It does not actually float.  Apparently in olden times, when peasants would revolt, they would topple the boats of the wealthy.  The Empress decided that it was easier to build a boat that couldn’t be toppled than to make her subjects happy.

This is a boat carved out of marble.  It does not actually float.  Apparently in olden times, when peasants would revolt, they would topple the boats of the wealthy.  The Empress decided that it was easier to build a boat that couldn’t be toppled than to make her subjects happy.

Entrance to Sacred Way, which leads to the Emporer’s Tomb (still being excavated).  The entrance contains a lucky turtle, whose bum you are supposed to pat.

The Sacred Way leading up to the Emporer’s Tomb is decorated with pairs of animals and humans like Noah’s Ark.

Jade factory/store.