Beijing is a huge city. It is the third largest city in the world and the second largest in China after Shanghai. It has a population of around 21.5 million people. I was a little (very) apprehensive about arriving there when I first came to China. It was rather daunting, and there are a lot of people but the city is well equipped to serve its growing urban community with many large and efficient facilities, services and attractions.
All those large things and places are composed of smaller ones and this post focuses on some of those details captured over the first few days of life in China.
For the quilters: take a look at this door panel. It’s an almost classic Log Cabin Courtyard steps design. Inspiration!
The paint in this area of the Forbidden City was thick and peeling, transforming the walls and panels into ancient crazed maps.
To continue the design and patchwork theme, I loved these beautiful hexagon-shaped tessellated ceramic tiles at the Forbidden City.
Bold, rich colours and intricate Chinese designs abound. There’s just so much going on in this ceiling detail. Its exotic hues and intricate decoration simply scream Asia, China, the Orient, exotic.
How divine are these roof guardians? I learnt from my audio tour, that the number of creatures represented amongst these roof guardians indicate the importance of the building, and that no other roof in China is allowed to possess more guardians than this roof – it being that of the Hall of Supreme Harmony in the ancient capital of Beijing, The Forbidden City. I have formed a small obsession with these figures that protect the roofs.
Finally, this quaint architectural feature, a hexagonal window with its red metal, crazy patchwork grill, sits companionably next to a matching red painted security door. These lovely little details pop up as you walk through Beijing’s atmospheric hutong areas. It was on quite a busy street, but the gently resting autumn leaves nestled on the window ledge, door stoop and amongst the traditional roof tiles lent the scene an ageless peace.
I didn’t get tired of walking around and exploring these fascinating little places, where people work, rest, play and live their lives just as their ancestors have for centuries. I also couldn’t help thinking how much this real-estate would be worth. In the inner ring of Beijing city, these simple, seemingly crumbling dwellings and communities are sitting on a virtual gold mine! Lucky people indeed.