Newly analyzed artifacts and a 200-year-old journal reveal the remarkable tale of the first American citizen to enter China’s Forbidden City and meet the emperor.
The mission was based on a diplomatic deception, and lives would be lost on the journey, but in 1795 Andreas Everardus van Braam Houckgeest would get to see the Forbidden City, a palace complex of more than 900 buildings that was off-limits even to most Chinese. He saw it at a time when China was wealthy and at the height of its power.
At one point Houckgeest was shown to the emperor’s favorite apartment, which gave him a view of a mountain covered with temples. Read more.
While President Barack Obama has Bo, and President George W. Bush had Barney, a newly published tale of a dog that lived in China’s “Forbidden City” over a century ago reveals that this pup’s lifestyle easily outdid that of any presidential pooch.
In a book that accompanies a new museum exhibit about Chinese history, researchers describe a specially-tailored silk outfit that covered a royal dog whose name translates to “Big Luck” from snout to tail. Although the dog’s breed is unknown, he appears to have been about 3 feet (1 meter) long, and his outfit was decorated with images of peonies, a flowering plant.
The silk outfit even has Big Luck’s name inscribed on the lining. It was created at some point during the reign of the Guangxu emperor, who ruled from 1875 to 1908. Read more.
The Forbidden City, the palace once home to the emperors of China, was built by workers sliding giant stones for miles on slippery paths of wet ice, researchers have found.
The emperors of China lived in the Forbidden City, located in the heart of Beijing, for nearly 500 years, during China’s final two imperial dynasties, the Ming Dynasty and the Qing Dynasty. Vast numbers of huge stones were mined and transported there for its construction in the 15th and 16th centuries. The heaviest of these giant boulders, aptly named the Large Stone Carving, now weighs more than 220 tons (200 metric tons) but once weighed more than 330 tons (300 metric tons). Read more.
Loughborough University designers are to use 3D printing to help restore ancient artefacts from Beijing’s Forbidden City.
The Forbidden City’s Palace Museum is undergoing major restoration work, involving thousands of individual relics, funded by the Chinese government. Traditionally, objects needed to be measured, photographed and repaired using manual techniques — an extremely time consuming and expensive task.
However, Loughborough Design School PhD student Fangjin Zhang and colleagues have been investigating the use of 3D printing within the context of restoration in order to save money.
The team is capturing the shape of the original objects using laser or optical scanners then cleaning up the data using reverse engineering techniques. Read more.