The Royal Water Hunting Landscape Construction of Qing Dynasty in Xiong'an Area

Xia Chenggang   2018-09-27 10:02:21

Baiyangdian is part of the low lying area of the ancient lakes in the southern part of the captial city and its environs. It is the most important natural resource and landscape representative in Xiong'an New Area. This area is located between the east Taihang Mountain foothills to the Bohai Bay, and the Yongding River and the Hutuo River alluvial fan. During the Warring States Period, this was the border of Yan State and Zhao State, and to the period of Emperor Wu of the Han Dynasty, the Yellow River moved southward, and left a large number of lakes and wetlands, which accommodated the water and flood of many rivers. In the Tang Dynasty, the "ninety-nine lakes" were formed, and Baiyangdian was one of them. During the Northern Song Dynasty, the lakes and pools were communicated one by one to form the eight-hundred-li water chain from the west of Taihang Mountain to the east of the Bohai Bay. After the Jin Dynasty, the Yuan and Ming Dynasties, and the succession of the water and land, the area changed into the number of "seventy-two lakes", and the intention of "the south in the north" was formed, while the local sightseeing had begun. In the Qing Dynasty, the area belonged to the capital city and its environs. In the process of governance, the royal tours became more and more frequent and appeared in the form of the royal water hunting in the state level. Its activities were concentrated in the west lake, namely today's Baiyangdian, which opened the construction of water hunting landscape. And the "Bazhou water hunting" at Emperor Kangxi's sixteenth year (1677) could be seen as a symbol of this process, and then several supporting palace gardens were set up, which became a system in the Emperor Qianlong period. With the Reh Magnolia paddock autumn hunting, they formed the "one south and one north", "one water and one land", "one spring and one autumn" pattern.

Natural resources and historical accumulation in Baiyangdian, as well as the achievements of water conservancy in the early Qing Dynasty, were the three corner stones of the character of the water hunting landscape in the Qing Dynasty. Kangxi's first water hunting in sixteen years was the beginning of the scenic area development. The scenic features of Baiyangdian were characterized by the abundant water space, the unsophisticated natural views, secluded water village life style, twelve bridges of willow embankment, and the picture like boats floating on the lakes. The water hunting activities in the early Qing Dynasty included not only all kinds of military exercises, but also various colorful cultural activities. With the development of water hunting activities, Emperor Kangxi built 4 Palace Gardens in the lake area. During the Emperor Qianlong period, several palace gardens were built outside Baiyangdian, which became the last stop to enter the area. These palaces were closely connected with the capital through the royal track palace chain, and the three formed the Royal Palace system. The four palaces in Baiyangdian scenery were Zhaobeikou Palace, Guolikou Palace, Duancun Palace and Juantou Palace. They were located at 4 different directions of the main lake area to define the core area of the scenery. They were also the best viewpoints and rest stations. The size of the palace outside the core scenery area was relatively larger, and the layout was rigorous. It was usually dominated by the inner view of the waterscape, and it also had a view of the pavilion, with a number of scenes, giving the local context. The royal track palace chain consisted of the Imperial Road and a series of small camps, big camps, and palaces, of which the palaces were usually with gardens. Every time the emperor went out, there was a detailed itinerary plan. These palaces were also part of the imperial roads of the Wutai Mountain in the west, the Qilu (Shandong) in the east, and the Jiangsu and Zhejiang in the south. Along the line, you would have a panoramic view of the main lakeside landscape, river embankment landscape, and idyllic landscape. More importantly, Baiyangdian and the capital would be closely integrated.

In the early years of the Emperor Qianlong period, the construction of the Baiyangdian royal water hunting scenery became a model for the capital city. The water conservancy and water exercises of Kunming Lake were also inspired by the construction of Baiyangdian. In addition, the layout of the Xiuqing Village in Yuanmingyuan was built in the same way as the Lotus Pond Palace; the Royal Ship and the Kunming Lake Warship were also mainly produced and repaired by Baiyangdian artisans. The Internal Affairs Department had a network of households in Baiyangdian, which was responsible for fishing and suppling the same as the Beijing Nanyuan. These all showed the status of Baiyangdian scenery in the royal gardens of the Qing Dynasty.

The decline of the royal water hunting scenery began in the Emperor Jiaqing period. With the internal and external problems of the country, the water conservancy in the area had not been taken care of. After 170 years, as the water conservancy in large areas was out of control, the soil was silted up, and the lakes were turned into farmland, the ecology os the area deteriorated, and the value of the landscape was reduced. As the palace was cut off in the Emperor Daoguang period, the function of Baiyangdian as a royal scenic area ended.

(Editor / Wang Yuanyuan)


Xia Chenggang, male, born in 1959 in Beijing, graduated from the Department of Landscape Architecture of Beijing Forestry University in 1982, Director of Xia Chenggang Landscape Architecture Culture Studio, guest professor at Beijing Forestry University and Renmin University of China, member of the editorial committee of Chinese Landscape Architecture , research area: Chinese landscape architecture theory and practice (Beijing 100101)

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