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The Belvedere of Viewing Achievements (Fuwang ge, also translated as Belvedere of Fulfilled Aspirations) is situated in the fourth courtyard of the garden of the Palace of Tranquil Longevity (Ningshou gong) in the northeastern part of the Forbidden City. The most prominent feature of the courtyard, the structure was built in the thirty-seventh year (1772) of the Qianlong reign (1736–1795) of the Qing dynasty (1644–1911) and underwent renovations in the seventh year (1802) of the Jiaqing reign (1796–1820) and the seventeenth year (1891) of the Guangxu reign (1875–1908).
The construction was designed after the Belvedere of Prolonged Spring (Yanchun ge), a garden building located in the northwestern part of the Forbidden City. The square, seemingly two-storied structure has, in fact, three interior stories. The pyramidal hip roof is crowned with a spherical finial. The eaves and hips of the roof are overlaid with dark blue glazed tiles while the rest is covered with yellow glazed tiles.
The unique interior design is intricately ornate and ingeniously partitioned into various spaces lavishly decorated with a dazzling array of gold, jade, and enamel inlays. Casually passing through a door or stepping over a threshold can lead to disorientation in what has been referred to colloquially as the “maze building” (milou).
Each year on the frigid twenty-first day of the twelfth lunar month, the Qianlong Emperor held a banquet at this belvedere to entertain princes, dukes, ministers, and imperial kinsmen. His son, the Jiaqing Emperor, composed a poem titled “Ode of the Belvedere of Fulfilled Aspirations” (Yong fuwang ge) in the belvedere. The structure is the tallest and largest in the garden of the Palace of Tranquil Longevity. The third story affords a panoramic view of the entire imperial palace and the metropolis beyond the moat.
Chinese entry by Huang Ximing
Translation edited by Adam J. Ensign and Zhuang Ying