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.
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?
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?
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.
My Related Posts:
- Queen Mother’s letter: ‘a positive jungle’
- Queen Mother: A visit to Hampshire nearly escaped history
- What’s in a Dragon?
- Chinese version of Eats Shoots and Leaves
- “Stitches in Time” by Heather Hems in Lyndhurst, New Forest, England
- Weekly Photo Challenge: Mine with British stamps
- What should a vicar wear on a Sunday?
- Special 101 – King George IV (by Ben Williams)