China to partly restore Old Summer Palace after rare historical documents rediscovered

2019-09-17 08:47:48 Global Times Li Yan

Officials will restore historic ruins at the Old Summer Palace by using recently rediscovered rare manuscripts that contain critical construction details.

The main gate and four other landmarks including the royal library will be given a facelift according to managers of the old royal palace, or Yuanmingyuan. 

The manuscript was found and forwarded by Cathay Bookshop, an antique book vendor of Beijing.

The approximately 250-year-old Rules and Examples for Craftsmanship in Yuanmingyuanoffers comprehensive information on palace construction including its architecture, gardens, craftsmanship and materials.

The books outline decoration techniques and details on types of wood, stone, tile, oil and paint.

"The files will provide a basic framework for restoring the park," a Beijing-based archaeologist told the Global Times on condition of anonymity.

Modern architecture techniques are better, the expert noted, "so we don't have to copy everything from the manuscript."

It is unnecessary to restore the entire park as the ruins "reflect the suffering and glory of our history," he said.

The 350-hectare park was built in 1707. In 1860, Anglo-French forces set fire to the palace and it was swallowed by an inferno.

Park officials are updating their archives and collecting files about the original layout for further restoration plans.

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