Feature: China’s Old Summer Palace “comes” to Liverpool

LIVERPOOL, Britain, Aug. 19 — Roaming around View Two, a gallery in Liverpool, visitors could see the pond of water lily, rockwork and a small bridge winding through, and may feel that they were in an old Chinese imperial garden.
This is a refreshing scenery as the gallery unveiled an exhibition Monday evening, themed the renowned Old Summer Palace, or Yuanmingyuan in the Chinese language, the “garden of gardens” before it was torched by British and French invaders in 1860.
More than 20 computer-drawn pictures on Yuanmingyuan’ rebuilding and a video clip demonstrating more than 100 original scenes in the garden are presented at the exhibition, by a team led by Guo Daiheng, a senior architect and professor with the School of Architecture at China’s Tsinghua University.
“Many Chinese people have special feelings about the garden,” Guo said. “It is a reminder of shame in the past, and left a pity for the Chinese.”
Guo and her team, which involves some 80 researchers, have been working on rebuilding Yuanmingyuan over the past 13 years. They have rebuilt more than 80 sites and completed 4,000 drawings for Yuanmingyuan, which was located eight kilometers northwest of the imperial city and home to five Chinese emperors.
In 1992, Guo was consulted for the construction of a “new Yuanmingyuan” in southeast China’s Guangdong Province. She said that it was the first time she engaged in massive studies of the garden.
Guo began to conduct systematic studies on Yuanmingyuan in 2000 and started to make 3D duplication pictures for the garden.
Approached by a friend, Guo brought the exhibition to Liverpool.
Ken Martin, owner of the View Two gallery and a former architect, has great interest in China.
“This exhibition is amazing and imaginative,” he said. “British people like gardens as well.” He hoped that this exhibition could help local people understand Chinese garden better.
The exhibition was due to last for one week, but Martin prolonged it till Sept. 7.
Gary Millar, Lord Mayor of Liverpool, noted that the exhibition was stunning. “I love the facts that not only the walls were made to represent the Old Summer Palace, but visitors could fly like a bird to see what the garden looked like,” he said.
He said Liverpool has close ties with China. “The city boasted the oldest Chinese community as well as the largest arch in China Town,” he said.
Liverpool was a city of diversity. There are people from 120 countries, speaking 60 different languages.
With Chinese culture flowing in like currents, he was sure the exhibition would be welcomed by people in Liverpool.
After the exhibition, the pictures and video are to be shown in Russia.
The video has also been used for tour guide in Yuanmingyuan. Holding the digital guide, visitors could see different angles and details of the buildings on the screen.
Guo’s work has not ended as she and her team still have a lot to do. “We are currently drawing the Western Building,” she said. “It would take years to finish.”[db:内容2]