The Emperor's personal space & Time to go
To get to the Imperial Garden, a largish area where the Emperor could walk around with out a spirit step in sight, one must pass through or around 10 different gates, halls and palaces. And then there's just the one gate to get out the back. It was a totally different view on security.
There is a fabulous tile wall of 9 dragons as you head into the area where the Emperor really lived.
|Count 'em... 9!|
There are a wagon load of symbols connected to the Emperor (and sometime the Empress) The Emperor gets the number 9 (because it is the largest single digit number, the Dragon (Empress get the Phoenix), Kingfisher feathers (no idea why), the color bright yellow (I think, because that's the color of the sun), special roof tiles, special porcelain, special this, special that, and everything; dishes, candle holders, writing boxes, clothing, nicknacks were all decorated with characters for "double happiness," "long life," "multitudinous children," symbol, after symbol, after symbol, after symbol. It seemed the Emperor's life was nearly entombed in symbols. (And when he was entombed... well, that's another day.)
So if the Emperor is spending all his time on symbols and ceremony - how in the world is he to deal with the events of the day. The status quo rules the day... and any and all measures are taken to keep it going. These trees are a perfect example of what I'm talking about.
|We WILL keep this tree|
|Don't mind the tree... just part of the scenery|
|So we had to move the bench... again.|
They are found in the "private quarters" area. A showcase of how change is disguised as keeping things the same, how any measure is taken to keep the original design going, even if the sense is lost.
And then, when the city became un-forbidden, the looting of the palace was rather epic. Even now you can see where the walls were hacked away at. No repair work had been done, just some sloppy disguising.
There is much that went missing that is lost forever, and there is plenty that not enough people knew about for anyone to know that it existed... and thus went missing. A strange place the looting shows is in these special, interestingly eroded coral rocks imported from the sea shore. Many of the fangs, prominent knobs and other interesting features of these rocks were shot, chipped or otherwise removed - so the rocks look rather plundered and sad.
At some point... the idea of the 9,999 rooms in the palace - and despite how much of the palace is closed, we just can't take any more. This was exacerbated by the fact that it was cold. And windy. And we are in the shade. We had had enough - so we went out to seek the sun.
Here's one more look at the epic scale of the place: