Gates of old

By Sun Yuanqing ( China Daily ) Updated: 2013-11-08 08:16:16

Gates of old

The model of Andingmen is one of the highlights at the show Sculpture and Memory. It is about one-tenth scale of the original building and features city walls, an entrance, a gate tower and a watchtower. Photos Provided to China Daily

A new exhibition highlights Beijing's ancient entryways in the old city walls, recreated in red sandalwood that can last for thousands of years. Sun Yuanqing explores the details.

Gates of old

Beijing's bulwarks

For people who never had the chance to see the old city of Beijing, there is now a way to travel back in time. Sculpture and Memory, an exhibition of sandalwood models of Beijing's old city walls and gates, opened in the National Museum of China on Oct 30, evoking memories of the old city.

The exhibition showcases models of the Temple of Heaven and Andingmen. They are the second and the third installments in a series of models of Beijing's ancient architecture initiated by China Red Sandalwood Museum. The first model, Yongdingmen, also known as the Gate of Everlasting Stability, was finished in December.

"When I was a kid, I saw many of these city gates with my own eyes. But how about our descendents, how can they know what the old Beijing was like?" says Chen Lihua, founder of the China Red Sandalwood Museum and chairwoman of Fuwah International Group, a major commercial property developer in Beijing.

The model of the Temple of Heaven, a royal Taoist Temple where emperors prayed for good harvests, is made entirely of precious sandalwood, a heavy and fine-grained wood. It is one-eighth the size of the original building. Weighing nearly 12 tons, it is the largest piece of sandalwood artwork created by the China Red Sandalwood Museum.

The model of Andingmen, the north gate in the former city wall, is one-tenth the size of the original architecture. It features city walls, a barbican entrance, a gate tower and an embrasured watchtower. All the painted parts are illustrated by red sandalwood, which has a gentle glow. The city walls are made of ebony, a wood with variations in color much like the bricks on the old walls. The model weighs about 6.5 tons.

Gates of old

Shilihe market in Beijing 

Gates of old

Model gives glimpse of old Beijing 

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