Photograph, black and white silver gelatin print, 'Looking towards the Summer Palace from Yuquan Mountain', by Hedda Morrison, Peking, China, 1933-1946
This photograph, taken from the summit of the Jade Spring Mountain where there is the Jade Peak Pagoda ('Yu fengta'), looks across to the Hill of a Myriad Ages ('Wanshou shan'), part of the the new Summer Palace ('Yi he yuan') complex located north-west of Peking. The Jade Spring Mountain was an imperial hunting park and pleasence, first mentioned during the Jin dynasty (1115-1234). It was refurbished in 1680 by the Kangxi Emperor and the Jade Spring became renowned as one of sixteen famous views. The mountain has two springs which were appreciated for their water, which was said to be as clear and cool as jade. A stone tablet recording the calligraphy of the Qianlong Emperor described the Jade Spring as the 'First Spring Under Heaven'.
The Summer Palace, 'Yihe yuan', literally the Park of Peace and Harmony in Old Age (the name given to the park complex by the Empress-Dowager, who spent most of her time there), dates back to the Ming Dynasty. Many of the buildings were burnt down in 1860 by the British and French armies. Reconstruction began in the 1880s. After the fall of the Manchu-Qing dynasty in 1911, the summer palace and its grounds were opened to the public and today is a popular tourist site.
This is one of a large number of photographs that were taken by Hedda Morrison (1908-1991) during her years of residence in Peking (Beijing), China 1933-1946.
Exhibited in 'An Asian experience: 1933-67', organised by the Asian Studies Association of Australia, Fisher Library Foyer, University of Sydney, 12-30 May 1986.
Reproduced in Hedda Morrison, 'A photographer in Old Peking', Hong Kong, Oxford and New York: Oxford University Press, 1985, p. 242, with the caption: 'The Summer Palace seen from the summit of the Jade Fountain Pagoda. The perpetual flow of water from the Jade Fountain irrigated an area of rice fields which are rare in north China'.