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Belvedere of Auspicious Fortune (Jingqi ge)

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The Belvedere of Auspicious Fortune (Jingqi ge) is located in the Forbidden City along the outer eastern corridor of the Inner Court on the north end of the central passageway of the Palace of Tranquil Longevity (Ningshou gong). Built in the thirty-sixth year (1771) of the Qianlong reign (1736–1795) of the Qing dynasty (1644–1911), the structure was renovated in the seventh year (1802) of the Jiaqing reign (1796–1820) and the seventeenth year (1891) of the Guangxu reign (1875–1908).

Comprising two stories, the belvedere is seven bays (jian) wide and three deep. The hip and gable roof is covered with yellow glazed tiles. The lower story is surrounded on four sides with verandas. Below the front eaves, the door opens to the main chamber. The connecting walkways lead to the back of the Bower of Well-Nourished Harmony (Yihe xuan). The side chambers have low walls topped with square windows fitted with glass. The western secondary chamber (cijian) has a small theatrical stage. The western end chamber (shaojian) has a small door in the gable that leads to the small rear courtyard. The eastern secondary chamber is subdivided with partitions while the eastern end chamber has a staircase leading to the upper story. Between the first and second stories is a balcony with balustrades between the columns of the second story. The main chamber of the second floor has multi-leaf doors with kui-dragon designs on the apron. The secondary and end chambers of the second story have elegant hinged windows atop low walls. The eastern side of the main chamber has a door and hinged windows atop low walls. The painted ornamentations below the eaves were originally in the gold-dragon seal style (jinlong hexi, the highest-ranking design) but were modified in the seventeenth year (1891) of the Guangxu reign to the dynamic Suzhou style of painted beam embellishments to please the Empress Dowager Cixi (1835–1908). Later conservation efforts restored the original look of the Qianlong period.

The small courtyard on the west side of the belvedere has a covered walkway connecting to the Belvedere of Viewing Achievements (Fuwang ge, also translated as Belvedere of Fulfilled Aspirations) in the Qianlong Garden. The east side has an open hall with a width of three bays adjacent to the Palace of Great Blessings (Jingfu gong). Situated immediately next to the eastern side of the Belvedere of Auspicious Fortune is an artificial mountain of rockery originally crowned with the Jade Ring Pavilion, which was demolished during the Daoguang reign (1821–1850). The platform atop the mountain connects to the second floor of the belvedere by way of a small white stone bridge. Within the mountain is a small artificial cave called the Cloud Hollow (Yun dou).

The small courtyard behind the Belvedere of Auspicious Fortune has architectural ruins, which are the remains of where the Guangxu Emperor’s Consort Zhen (1876–1900) was imprisoned towards the end of the Qing dynasty. Outside the west wall of the courtyard is the Well of Consort Zhen (Zhenfei jing).

Chinese entry by Su Yi
Translated and edited by Adam J. Ensign and Zhuang Ying

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