Qing place Cining Palace and its Baoxianglou

Cining Palace 慈寧宮 (Kind {Mother} Tranquility Palace) was originally built in 1536 of the Jiajing 嘉靖reign. It was constructed on the site of the previous Renshou Palace 仁壽宮. It was reconstructed several times during the reign of Wanli 萬歷 in Ming and the reigns of Shunzhi 順治, Kangxi 康熙and Qianlong 乾隆in Qing.

In front of Cining Palace gate, there was a plaza, which was enclosed by the Yongkang left gate 永康左門, Yongkang right gate 永康右門and the Changxin Gate 長信門on the south.

Since the reign of Wanli of the Ming dynasty, many dowager empresses and concubines all resided there. Cining Palace was also the site for major celebrations, including the birthdays of dowager empresses. After dowager empresses passed away, they were also buried in this place.

Baoxianglou 寶相樓 ("Treasure/Precious-appearance Storied Structure") was located on the north of Cining Palace Garden. During the Ming dynasty, it was originally the side hall on the east of the Xianruo Palace 咸若殿. It was rebuilt in the Qing and construction was completed in 1653. It was transformed into a lou structure during the Qianlong period. Inside Boaxianglou, there were seven Buddhist halls. Six of the Buddhist halls contained Great Buddhist Stupas大佛塔. There were 54 Temple Guardians painted on the walls surrounding the Great Buddhist Stupas. According to the record from the Qing dynasty, this kind of structure is called Liupin folou 六品佛樓.

Over 700 Tibetan Buddhist images from these buildings were photographically recorded and documented by Staël_Holstein in 1926 and 1927 and published in the fourth part of Walter Eugene Clark's Two Lamaistic Pantheons, which noted that the Qianlong Emperor's mother lived there. On her 60th, 70th and 80th birthdays (1751, 1761, 1771), her son gave her many sets of Buddhas, numbering over 10,000.


Entry by Agnes Lin; updated by GWT