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The Origin of Foxiang Pavilion in Wanshou Hill

Foxiang Pavilion in Wanshou Hill, Summer Palace, Beijing, China



Do you know why Foxiang Pavilion (the pavilion of Buddhist fragrance, 佛香阁) was constructed on Wanshou hill(Longevity Hill, 万寿山)? It was said that Emperors in Qing Dynasty(1636~1911) intended to build a large-scale garden in this picturesque area of Haidian District(海淀区). The earliest one was Emperor Qianlong

However, Wanshou Hill was actually an ancient tomb which made the situation a little bit complicated. First, the regulations of Qing Dynasty government disallowed the superior people of Manchu to remove the tombs of former Ming dynasty. Because before their entrance to middle China, Li Zicheng had overthrown Ming Dynasty, in this way, Qing Government did not contract enmity with Ming Dynasty. Besides, the master of this tomb was Queen Weng(瓮皇后, so the Longevity Hill is called Weng Mountain in the past), the empress of Kublai Khan, the first emperor of Yuan Dynasty(1206~1368). 

The original purpose of building a Pavilion by Emperor Qianlong is for celebrating his mother s birthday and because of it the Weng Mountain(翁山) is renamed as Longevity Mountain for auspicious blessing. During construction the workers discovered a huge cave and a stone gate which was closed tightly. They reported to Emperor Qianlong and then he personally went there to have a look. ”It may be the location of Queen Weng, anyhow, open the gate and take a closer look.” 

Emperor Qianlong’s followers didn t dare to disobeyed him and begun to move it. Unexpectedly, a scene scared Emperor Qianlong: the stone gate was opened by the followers and there were several vivid Chinese Characters: 你不动我,我不动你!(I shall not move you if you do not move me). Emperor hurriedly demanded the understrappers to reclose that gate and build a large temple on the Wanshou Hill to suppress the evil ghost underground. This is the origin of Foxiang Pavilion.
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