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Old Summer Palace reclaims its past

By China Daily | China Daily | Updated: 2017-10-13 08:04

More than 80,000 historical artifacts, along with pieces of the Old Summer Palace, were unearthed as a result of the demolition of surrounding buildings.

The objects, including building materials such as tiger-skin jade, bricks and stones from ruined palace walls, have been reclaimed by the palace administration office and are on public display along the north and south walls of the palace.

The palace - also known as Yuanmingyuan - was renowned as the Garden of Gardens during the Qing Dynasty (1644-1911). It was ransacked and largely torn down by British and French expeditionary forces during the Second Opium War in 1860.

The palace site was abandoned until the 1960s, but its bricks had been used as construction material by residents and businesses.

"Pu Yi, the last emperor of the Qing Dynasty, set up an institution to protect the palace, but it didn't work because of his decayed political and economic power," said Chen Hui, director of cultural relics and archaeology for the palace.

"Warlords, people associated with foreign churches and local residents took bricks and stones to build because of the lax management of the palace in the late Qing Dynasty. Many palace relics were damaged," she said.

Residences and businesses around the old palace site have been subject to demolition since 2013 under the city's urban development plans.

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