In commemoration of the 308th anniversary of the founding of Yuan Ming Yuan, 1709-2017

"Forever Spring on the Island of Fairies"

This painting is from the album 蓬壺春永 ("Forever Spring on the Island of Fairies"), painted probably in the 18th century.

Picture source: 《圓明園》(香港: 三聯書店, 1985)

萬方安和 ("Tranquillity and peacefulness everywhere") is one of the forty sceneries of Yuan Ming Yuan proper. Built during the reign of Emperor Yongzhen, this pavilion in the shape of the Buddhist auspicious symbol 卍 was unique in idea and form. There were 33 rooms. A verandah surrounded the entire building so that one could stroll around literally in all directions. It is said that the pavilion was Emperor Yongzhen's favourite.

The pavilion was surrounded by water, with at least two bridges connecting it to land. Steps were also provided so that people could approach it by boat.

On 18 and 19 October 1860 (咸豐10年), this unique pavilion was reduced to ashes with the rest of Yuan Ming Yuan. Today, what is left existing is its foundation form.

The Buddhist symbol is pronounced similarly as the Chinese character (wan). In Sanskrit this symbol is called srivatsa. It denotes the focus of all virtues and auspiciousness. According to authoritative sources (such as 慧琳 《一切經音義》) , the correct form should be .

Reference source: 辭海 (1979年版) (上海: 上海辭書出版社, 1979)


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From the Gardener: Louis Chor. Canada, December 1998. Updated September 2016