Many people have known the imperial palace in Beijing, but only a few know exactly how many imperial palaces there are in China. Actually there are imperial palace, one in Beijing-the most famous one, the other is in Shenyang-the not-so-famous one, the last one is in Taipei. Taipai imperial palace is just residence of Chiang Kai-shek when he retreated to Taiwan, in specific it can’t be called imperial palace. When it comes to the history of the palace, Shenyang Imperial Palace is the winner. It was built before the emperor moved the capital in Beijing. There isn’t much stuff in Shenyang to look at but the imperial palace is definitely a must-see for tourists.
Shenyang Imperial Palace was built in AD 1625 by the emperor of Jin(Golden) Dynasty-Nurhachi. It went through huge construction three times. First it was the old king Nurhachi in the east, then his son Huangtaiji continued building after the succession, the last period of construction was by emperor Qianlong in the west. There are about 70s buildings, more than 300 rooms and 20 sets yards. It is by far one of the two palaces well-preserved in China. It feels like Imperial Palace in Beijing but it got it’s own unique construction styles and patterns.
Shenyang imperial palace is like a history book recording the vicissitudes of the Qing dynasty. It was built at the best times then they moved to the Forbidden City, the palace was getting more and more luxury, the court officials were getting greedy and lazy. Thing went on like this day by day, till the day it disappeared from the history. This reminds me of an old saying in China, it’s always easy to go luxurious from thrifty but it’s extremely hard in turn. The carved railings and jade inlays eventually become a cage of their own.
If I have to name one thing that imperial palaces in common, that would be the color red. Everything is red, red house, red bricks and red walls. Other than that, it isn’t feel very much like a palace, to me it’s more like a big mansion from a rich people in ancient times. Maybe it was built at the beginning of the dynasty, they didn’t want to spend too much. From Major Political Hall to Ten Kings Pavilions, There is trace of Eight Banner system everywhere. The Eight Banners consisted of three principal ethnic components: the Manchu, the Han, and the Mongols, and various smaller ethnic groups, such as the Xibe, Daur,and Evenks.
What I like the most about this palace are the countless carving of dragons. They are everywhere, gate, pillars, roofs, each one looks like real. In the museum of the Palace, there exhibit tons of precious artifacts. There is a bear skin cape made from a whole bear, seem scary and cool. I don’t like much fur stuff but for hunting nomads, it’s just how they live.