This is from a series of films by Global Television shot all over world, giving well photographed introductions to various places, of which we will be focusing on the ones of interest to Buddhists.
The films are quite light introductions to their subjects, mainly good photography, well chosen soundtracks, and a reasonable, but sometimes inaccurate, narration giving a cultural and historical introduction to its subject.
This week the team visit the summer palace complex built by the Qing dynasty in the 18th century in Chengde, which is around 250 km north-east of Beijing. The complex took around 90 years to build and consists of palaces, gardens, pagodas, and temples, representing styles from all over China.
A lot of time is spent on the eight temples which surround the fortified palace, which were built in a variety of styles, according to the various regions of China they were meant to represent. The Qing emperors themselves were followers of Tibetan Buddhism, and the emperor also built a temple here for the Panchen Lama.
This was one of the last great flourishings of Chinese art during the pre-modern period, when China was still the pre-eminent empire in the world, with a great and long cultural tradition from many different backgrounds to draw upon. Besides the temples, we also see the gardens, lakes and the scenic beauty of this wonderful complex.
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