MIT Visualizing Cultures
The Yuanmingyuan was a paradise on earth for the Qing emperors: beautiful, extravagant, utterly private, and totally their creation—not an inheritance from previous dynasties. This imperial vision was captured in a set of 40 paintings commissioned by the Qianlong emperor in 1744. Plundered by the Anglo-French forces that destroyed the Yuanmingyuan at the conclusion of the 2nd Opium War in 1860, the “40 scenes” remain the only visual evidence through which we can imagine the Chinese sections of the “Garden of Perfect Brightness.” They are reproduced in full here in Part 1.
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The Garden of Perfect Brightness I
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MIT Visualizing Cultures VC Units MIT Visualizing Cultures About VC VC Scholars Partner Institutions Outreach Events Contact Join Us Follow Us Essay The 3 Great Qing Emperors Paradise on Earth The 40 Scenes European Impressions Sources & Credits Units Icon View Text View Curriculae The Garden of Perfect Brightness I Visual Narratives Image Gallery The Garden of Perfect Brightness II The Garden of Perfect Brightness III