Ancient flower design blossoms in China’s former royal garden

BEIJING (Xinhua) – A special flower design symbolising good luck in traditional Chinese culture has recently blossomed in the Summer Palace, the country’s most famous royal garden.

Baoxiang Flower, a composite flower design that combines features of peony, lotus and chrysanthemum, was a common element on gold and silver utensils, embroidery and architecture in ancient China.

Li Zexin, 12, carefully traced the outline of the flower on aluminium foil. Using coloured pens, he drew a Baoxiang Flower in full bloom.

He is among 60 participants in a training session for cultural volunteers, organised for the first time by the Summer Palace. The session aims to allow people to better understand ancient Chinese gardens including architectural ornamentations and landscape gardening.

“I have seen Baoxiang Flowers on antiques in museums. I feel excited to make flowers of my own,” said Li, a junior middle school student.

Located in Beijing’s northwest, the Summer Palace covers more than 300 hectares, dominated by Longevity Hill and Kunming Lake. Its buildings feature a variety of palaces, gardens and other ancient-style structures.

It was listed in 1998 as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO and was placed under state-level protection.

“We hope that visitors can feel the delicacy of the ornamentations of the ancient architecture as well as the craftsmanship of our ancestors when enjoying the picturesque scenery here,” said Yan Su, who runs the training sessions in the Summer Palace.

Beijing’s parks and museums launched a volunteer training programme on the protection of intangible cultural heritage, consisting of 10 sessions from June to August.