Magnificent display at Buckingham Palace

If you were a five-year-old, what would your idea of a perfect gift be? China’s Last Emperor, Pu Yi, gave two huge vases to King George V (great great great grandfather of the new British royal baby George) in 1911. Soon afterwards, Pu Yi was deposed.

Pu Yi, the last emperor of China.

Pu Yi, the last emperor of China.

I learnt about this fascinating fact today in London, as I was a special guest at Buckingham Palace.

The pair of beautiful vases are huge, measuring 217.0 x 80.0 cm. “Pair of large, ovoid, cloisonné enamel vases, with bronze dragon handles, decorated with dragons on a green scale-pattern ground.”

The oriental dragons portrayed on the vases are playful, sweet and even smiling. They are serpent-like, in gold, benevolent, powerful, typical qualities of Chinese dragons.

What about the concepts of dragon in the west? Western fire-breathing, scaly dragons are normally symbolism of evil.

Chinese dragon versus Western dragon:

Recently, I hijacked one of Lorelle’s blog posts and had an interactive discussion about dragon in this post. In the comment, I wrote:

“When the west describes China or the Chinese as ‘dragon’, the cultural connotations are different. Chinese people proudly call themselves as the descendants of dragon.”

“Cultural differences can be very difficult to interpret as misunderstandings between the two cultures has been so firmly embedded. Some Chinese scholars therefore suggested a new translation for this Chinese mythical creature ‘Long’ (written as 龙 in simplified form, or 龍 in Traditional form) — currently translated as ‘dragon’ or ‘Chinese dragon’. They think that the Chinese dragon should be renamed as ‘Loong’ to avoid misunderstanding.”

The pair of vases with dragons at Buckingham Palace, from 5-year-old Pu Yi to King George V and Queen Mary, on the occasion of their coronation in 1911, has re-inforced my point about Chinese dragons being benign and powerful.

Why was I in Buckingham Palace today?

Buckingham Palace Preview Day

Buckingham Palace Preview Day

My friend has some link with the Royal Collection Trust, and he kindly gave me two tickets for the Preview Day today.

The Palace Summer Opening of the State Rooms will start from tomorrow (Saturday, 27th July until 29th September). I took my son with me and we were the lucky few with the media to have spent a lovely afternoon at Buckingham Palace this afternoon.

This post is a response to Lorelle’s summer Blog Exercise: July Current Events.

What did we see at Buckingham Palace?

Ben and Janet at Buckingham Palace

Ben and Janet at Buckingham Palace

We visited the magnificent State Rooms. We also saw the unique exhibition entitled “The Queen’s Coronation 1953”. This is the first time since Coronation Day that such a spectacular array of fabulous dress, uniform and robes worn by the principal royal party is shown to the public.

The centrepiece of the exhibition is the dazzling coronation dress the Queen wore for the ceremony on June 2, 1953.

Symbols of peace and prosperity on royal robe:

I love finding symbols.

On the Queen’s purple velvet robe, there are golden wheat ears and olive branches, symbols of peace and prosperity. It took the Royal School of Needlework 3,500 hours to complete the embroidery of golden wheat ears and olive branches.

In the video clip below, you’ll hear exhibition curator, Caroline de Guitaut, discusses the exhibition, The Queen’s Coronation 1953.

You can find more Blog Exercises on . This is a year-long challenge to help you flex your blogging muscles.

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35 thoughts on “Magnificent display at Buckingham Palace

  1. Pingback: What’s in a Dragon? | Janet's Notebook

  2. Lorelle VanFossen

    Oh, I am soooooo jealous. Seriously jealous. I’ve toured the Palace and Tower of London several times but not experienced anything like this. You lucky pretend-princess-for-a-day! You and Ben are so adorable together. Jealous!!!

    1. Janet Williams Post author

      It was such a proud occasion. I don’t normally get given ‘free’ stuff, but the two golden tickets were the best to kick off the summer holiday.

      The display lasts the whole summer, and you still have plenty of time to get here. Is it vain of me to feel great as we were the ‘first’ to see the purple robe?

  3. anexactinglife

    Sounds like a great visit! I would have loved to see the robes. I was fortunate enough to have visited Buckingham Palace last year, but not at a special preview event 🙂 It would be interesting to hear your views on the monarchy (pro or con).

    1. Janet Williams Post author

      Hi Jamie,

      My son knows all his kings and queens, and he was very helpful in pointing out all my historical mistakes with the British monarchy. It was such a glorious day and it was indeed an honour to feel and touch a few things at Buckingham Palace. I felt so uplifted walking on The Grand Staircase designed by John Nash and walking on the thick, velvety red carpet.

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  5. Helen Williams

    I’m very envious. I’ve never visited Buckingham Palace, but like Ben I’m a bit of a history buff so would love to go there and just lose myself in the history…preferably without all the other visitors!

    1. Janet Williams Post author

      Hi Helen,

      Actually, you can avoid the crowd by having Exclusive Evening Tours. “This tour provides a special opportunity to enjoy the State Rooms once the doors have closed to visitors. Your guide will introduce the history and use of the Palace and the works of art on display. The tour ends with a glass of champagne served in the Bow Room.”

      I think it sounds lovely to suit people with expensive taste.:-)

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  23. KL

    The royal family seems to have special charm. I can feel the swirl when Kate and William visited Singapore recently. They not only delivered their grandmother’s messages to Singapore, they also carried themselves very well when meeting up with the general public.

    1. Janet Williams Post author

      This young couple are very much loved. I do think they carry themselves well. They love each other — and I think the public love to see true love in a royal family.

  24. Hari Qhuang

    “… They think that the Chinese dragon should be renamed as ‘Loong’ to avoid misunderstanding.”
    I totally agree with this!!!
    (This is what I was trying to explain in herschelian’s post about the Dragon)


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