Small wonder: rebuilding China’s Old Summer Palace in Lego-like bricks

Three fathers team up to revive a piece of vanished imperial history

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 22 October, 2017, 3:52pm
UPDATED : Sunday, 22 October, 2017, 3:52pm

A group of Chinese history buffs spent more than US$45,000 and six months bringing some of the imperial splendour of Beijing’s Old Summer Palace complex back to life – in tiny Lego-like plastic bricks.

The team, headed by a man identified only as Wang, used more than 660,000 of the bricks to build one of the complex’s palaces called Yuanyingguan, its fountain and a Baroque-style viewing platform in miniature, Beijing Youth Daily reported on Sunday.

Built during the 18th and early 19th centuries, the Old Summer Palace was the imperial residence of Emperor Qianlong and his Qing dynasty (1644-1911) successors before it was destroyed and looted by French and British troops in the second opium war.

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Wang said the group wanted to preserve a piece of history for other generations.

“We’re all into model making and as we are all fathers, we want to help people of different ages understand aspects of Chinese culture that have vanished. That’s why we came up with the idea of building models of the Old Summer Palace with bricks,” Wang was quoted as saying.

He said they spent four months on research and field trips, including a visit to an Old Summer Palace theme park in Zhuhai, Guangdong province.

The completed model was 4.47 square metres, the report said.