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Lesson Forty-Two (2)

(2007-03-05 14:25:45)
分类: 英语(旅游本科自考)

H: Did the events of the story of “Meng Jiangnv Weeping on the Great Wall” tale place here?


L: Yes, they did. Meng Jiangnv lived in the reign of Emperor Qin Shi Huang, the First Emperor of the Qin Dynasty. To bring warm clothes to her husband Fan Xiliang, she came to the Great Wall one day, only to find that her husband had already died. She was heartbroken and wept so bitterly that the Great Wall was moved and it fell apart. When Meng Jiangnv saw her husband’s body lying under the wall, she became so grief-stricken that she threw herself into the sea.


H: What a tragic end for a faithful wife!


L: Look, that’s the No. 4 Northern Tower. When you observe the Great Wall there, you’ll find that it looks even more stately and spectacular. Would you like to go, Mr. Hunt?


H: O.K. Let’s go.



Reading 1 The imperial Palace

阅读1  故宫

Also known as the Forbidden City (Zijin Cheng), the Imperial Palace (Gugong) complex is an abiding symbol of traditional China. Although it is China’s most imposing architectural masterpiece, it is characterized by simple lines and elegant decoration.


The construction of the Imperial Palace was truly one of the great feats of human history, comparable to the pyramids of Ancient Egypt or to China’s own Great Wall. The site of the present-day structure was originally chosen by Mongol rulers of the Yuan Dynasty (1279-1368), but the buildings were completely reconstructed by Yong Le (1403-1424), the third Ming Dynasty emperors. Between 1406 and 1420, literally hundreds of thousands of workers participated in erecting these palaces. Sacked and looted by Manchu armies during the overthrow of the Ming Dynasty in 1644, the Palace complex was restored to its original splendor under the Qing (notably by Emperor Qian Long, 1736-1796) Dynasty. New additions in the northern sector date from the tyrannical rule of the Empress Dowager Ci Xi (1835-1908).


     Located in the heart of Beijing, the Imperial Palace covers an area of 101.2 hectares. It is

surrounded by a wide moat (today, sections of it are used for boating) and protecting by a wall 10.7 m. high, marked off by towers at each corner. The entire Palace complex includes six main palaces, as well as many smaller buildings, together containing over 9,000 rooms. Nearly all of the buildings stand two stories high, flanked by courtyards with dimensions proportionate to the importance of their former inhabitants.


The palace grounds are divided into two sections. In the foreground are three public halls from which the Ming and Qing emperors conducted important state ceremonies. The rear part of the Palace complex is composed of three main palaces, a few smaller “east” and “west” palaces, and the Imperial Garden. In this setting, the 24 emperors divided their time between affairs of State and their families, rarely if ever leaving the Palace complex.


From the Dragon Throne the 24 “Sons of Heaven” ruled the nation with an absolute authority rarely paralleled in human history. An imperial decree ordained that no building in Beijing could be taller than the palace. No commoner or foreigner could enter the Palace complex without special permission, on pain of death, which forced the poor to make long detours around the sprawling grounds. Only since the establishment of the People’s of China in 1949 has the Forbidden City-now converted into a public park-been open to ordinary people.


The Imperial Palace formerly housed the emperor, his consort, other wives, concubines, eunuchs, favored court officials, and thousands of artisans and servants. The 9,000-room complex was a vast treasure house of precious art objects and rich architecture until it fell into disrepair after 1911. Crateloads of its valuable art and jewels were looted during the Japanese occupation of Beijing in the 1930s and by the Guomindang forces in 1949 before their retreat to Taiwan. Many treasures remain, however, and are today on display for the visiting public at the Palace Museum.



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