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Summer palace model a stunner

IF you are a fan of China's Old Summer Palace (Yuanmingyuan) and artistic carvings, the World Trade Center Association (WTCA) Pavilion could be the best place to visit.

It features a detailed model of the palace in a 1:150 proportion and gives visitors a panoramic view of the Garden of Perfect Brightness.

The exhibition, called "Dream Back to the Old Summer Palace," will last until Sunday in the WTCA pavilion in Zone B.

Covering around 252 square meters, the model of mesmerizing detail features 2,000 distinct buildings, 180 bridges, 30 garden gates, nine boat docks, 200 leisure boats, 12,000 trees and 5,000 carved and painted human figures going about life in the imperial gardens.

It is the most complete such model in existence, according to Kan Sanxi, a Shanghai artist and sculptor who designed it and spent 10 years completing the project.

"It has more than 100,000 doors and windows, all of which are perfectly hinged and can be opened and closed," said Zhang Jincai, chairman of the company which invested in the model and manages its exhibition.

Red sandalwood, mahogany, boxwood and other materials used in the production total around 60 tons.

As the historic garden was destroyed by foreign troops 150 years ago, the carving work was based on photographs and artwork of the time, as well as written accounts of the vast imperial gardens outside Beijing.

The Old Summer Palace, built in the 18th and 19th centuries in the Qing Dynasty (1644-1911), was famous for its extraordinary architecture (mostly Chinese but also Mongol and Tibetan styles), as well as European-style buildings. In 1860, foreign troops burned and ransacked Yuanmingyuan, looting the treasures and laying waste to the grounds.

The exhibition will close on Sunday to make room for the next exhibition about a Hong Kong explorer and her experience in the polar regions.


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