China, Bejing: Authentic old photograph depicting the old Summer Palace in Peking.
The photo is from 1902. from a German counsel.
Hand writing at the back „ Sommerpalast Peking Mittel-Pagode“.
Size: ca. 10 x 7 inches (25,1 x 18,4 cm), good condition.
The Summer Palace has a long history. The origins of the Summer Palace date back to the Jurchen-led Jin dynasty in 1153.
In 1860, the British and French destroyed parts of the Summer Palace at the end of the Second Opium War while looting and burning down the nearby Old Summer Palace (Yuanmingyuan). The destruction of the palaces was ordered by Lord Elgin, the British High Commissioner to China, and was undertaken in response to the torture and killing of two British envoys, a journalist for The Times, and their escorts. The destruction of large parts of the Summer Palace still evokes strong emotions among some people in China.
Between 1884–95, during the reign of the Guangxu Emperor (r. 1875–1908), Empress Dowager Cixi ordered three million silver taels, originally designated for upgrading the Qing navy (the Beiyang Fleet), to be used for reconstructing and enlarging the Summer Palace to celebrate her 60th birthday.
In 1900, towards the end of the Boxer Rebellion, the Summer Palace suffered damage again when the forces of the Eight-Nation Alliance destroyed the imperial gardens and seized many artifacts stored in the palace. The palace was restored two years later.
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