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Art D'Orient - Tableaux Orientalistes

It was only for the gardens and the grounds of the imperial palacethat the British diplomats showed real enthusiasm. "It is one of thefinest forest-scenes in the world," said Macartney (quoted in Barrow1804: 134) of the gardens at the imperial summer retreat at Chengde. Reachingthe summit of one of the hills, a twenty-mile vista suddenly opened up belowhim, "and certainly so rich, so various, so beautiful, so sublime aprospect my eyes had never beheld" (pp. 134-135). What particularlyattracted the British visitors was the sense of balance and proportionoffered by the gardens. As they discovered, all of the Yuanmingyuan was madeup of scenes, well-composed tableaux designed to be contemplated fromdesignated points along a meandering path. A given building, Barrow (quotedin Davis 1836: 266-267) noted, should be "seen at a certain distancethrough the branches of a thicket," and a particular sheet of water ispurposely "hemmed in by artificial rocks."

Art d'Orient - tableaux orientalistes

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