China Odyssey


Qingyanfang Marble Boat at the Summer Palace

The Marble boat (Qingyanfang) at the summer palace with its western style upper structure and simulated paddle wheels, is evidence of the Empress Dowager Cixi's enthusiasm for modernization. Ironically, the "marble boat" has larger wooden superstructure (painted to look like marble) and it was built using funds that were intended for renewal of the Imperial Navy. An original structure, built in 1755, was destroyed by European forces in 1860 during the Second Opium War. The Empress Dowager had it restored in 1893. Located near one end of the Long Corridor (Changlang), it was a favourite place for Cixi to take her tea. For more information about the Empress Dowager and her role in the modernization of China, listen to the C.B.C. Ideas episode, Behind the Throne.

Return to the China Odessey Home Page.

© Derrick Grose, 2014