Memorial Archway at the East Gate


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Memorial archway which was repaired and renovated in 1987. On each side of the memorial archway at the east gate of the Summer Palace is an inscription. The one facing the east is “Han Xu”, which means containing emptiness.  One meaning of emptiness is water scenery. Therefore, the name tells people that the main scenery in the Summer Palace is a lake.  Another meaning is modesty.  Chinese people like to modify noble moral character as “to have a mind as open as a valley.” Water is almost equal to a mirror, which can reflect things as they are. The Emperors used this to liken their rule to a clear mirror, which is just and objective. On the west side (reverse side) of the archway is “Yan Xiu,” which means “collecting excellence.” It refers to collecting the most excellent scenery and beauty of ancient and modern times. It also means gathering people of the most extraordinary abilities.

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