Garden of Virtuous Harmony

  Garden of Virtuous HarmonyGarden of Virtuous Harmony consists of Daxilou (the Theatre Building) and Yiledian (Hall of Pleasure Smile). The theatre building was constructed in 1892, at a cost of 1.6 million taels of silver. It was the biggest stage in China at the time, with three tiers of tilted eaves. Performances could be staged simultaneously on three levels. (The lower stage was named longevity stage, the middle level was called emolument level, and the top level was a symbol of happiness. Each level has its entrance and exit. ) There are trap doors in the ceiling for fairies to descend and on the floor for demons to surface from beneath A well and five ponds were built under the stage for a good effect. During a performance, a grand water scene could be produced on the stage. Empress Dowager Cixi used to sit on a wooden bed by the window to watch the performances. Emperor Guangxu would sit the left side of the window outside of the door, while the former concubines used to sit at the right side of the window. The aisles of the stage were divided into 12 wings separated by wooden pillars. The east wings were prepared for princess, dukes and ministers. The west wings were for Li Lianying,the most favourite superintendent eunuch and the court officials. In the hall there are four screens, representing the four seasons of the year. Peach blossom stands for spring, lotus flower for summer, chrysanthemum autumn and narcissus winter.
  Visitors can also see wax models of the Empressper or Guangxu, his consort, and the palace maids.

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