The Covered Walkway leads to the Marble Boat, a symbol of stability of the rule of the Qing Dynasty. The Marble boat was first built in 1750, but in 1860, the Allied Anglo-French Force burnt down the Chinese style wooden super-structure on the top part of the boat together with many other buildings in the Summer Palace.
Empress Dowager Ci'xi had the boat restored, adding a French style superstructure and two wheels, one on each side.
The two storied superstructure was made of wood, but painted to look like marble, while the two wheels were made of marble. It is believed that the body of the boat was carved out of one whole block. Each floor has a large mirror.
The Marble Boat is 36 metres long, with 4 dragon heads on the body of the boat, whenever it rains, you may see water pouring out from the four dragon mouths. The view is surely impressive!
Also noteworthy is that this boat was actually a place for the Empress Dowager to sit at a table in front of the mirror, dining on delicacies and enjoying the beautiful scenery, hence the name the Boat for Pure Banquets.
The Marble Boat was built for the 50th birthday celebration of Empress Dowager Ci'xi.
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