The so-called Gongwangfu 恭王府, or Residence of Prince Gong, in Beijing. As a massive and important palace in Beijing's Beihai 北海 district, it attracts thousands of visitors every day. It is also photographed thousands of times each day. So there is nothing really special about the pictures I have selected to put up here, except that
- On July 17, 2006, I was invited to tour the closed part of the Palace, the actual residential and representational buildings, construction of which had just started earlier the same year. These are images 1-29.
- I inserted a historical photograph of the historical gate (the Zhengmen 正们), to compare with the gate as it is preserved today. These are images 31-34. Note that the historical photograph is captured from George Kates' excellent article "Prince Kung's Palace and Its Adjoining Garden in Peking", published in the journal Monumenta Serica in 1940.
- There are two images (aiming over the high, outer wall) of the original Furen University church building which is now under reconstruction as well (images 57 and 58).
- Picture 59 is of a sidewall of a major building in the garden complex of the Gongwangfu, with a slogan of the Cultural Revolution still quite visible.
The history of this Palace compound (especially from the 1930s onward) is extraordinarily complex and interesting. Based on historical photographs, the planners and (re-)builders hope to capture the Palace's outer and inner appearance of exactly that time period (precisely, I was told, as of 1936).
Thomas H. Hahn, August 4, 2006
© Thomas H. Hahn Docu-Images