Tuesday, June 3, 2008

China Day 04: A Sad Spot

Our path now led along the lakeshore, which was edged with buildings of indeterminate function:
We followed along until we arrived at the Hall of Jade Ripples, another residential courtyard such as we had seen in the Forbidden City, or earlier today. It had a pretty name and a pretty setting. The actual gateway looked a little more forbidding, however:
The interior is not airy and open as we have become used to, either:
The reason is that this courtyard is really a prison. The Dragon Lady kept her nephew, the Guangxu Emperor, captive here under house arrest for ten years while she usurped his powers. A pretty prison, but a prison nonetheless. The poor Guanxu Emperor died one day before Empress Cixi, who used her last 24 hours to put a toddler two months shy of his third birthday on the throne. Charming.

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