Kubilai Khan’s palace

Publié le 16 mai 2022

This year, the Grande Chaufferie houses the majestic Palace of the Mongol Emperor Kublai Khan who reigned over China. Walk in the footsteps of Marco Polo who was the most famous European to visit this palace over 700 years ago. Marco Polo describes this city in detail in his work “the Book of the marvels” where we can learn that he was the ambassador of the Mongol emperor for about twenty years. A legendary city between myth and reality…

Mongolian customs and Chinese cultures invite themselves to the Wesserling Park. The Emperor’s palace recreated in the Grande Chaufferie offers you an exceptional journey to the heart of distant eastern lands.

The glass pavilion and the Mongolian plains

The city of Shangdu rose in the heart of the wide plains of present-day Inner Mongolia.  You will not only enjoy the photographs of Mongolian plains, such as the photo taken in Bogd Khan Uul National Park by Eléa Boënnec, but also discover there a yurt with its traditional furniture.

The women’s quarter

You will be surprised to discover an antique Chinese bed made of carved wood and with an alcove dating from the nineteenth century. These Chinese bedrooms were usually furnished with two chairs and a central table: tea, wine and food were served there. The construction of this bed is really fascinating, as no nails nor glue were used. Fabulous carved details with strong historical resonance will be presented to you…

The small Chinese theater

Do you know the story of the first Chinese theater-opera? The zaju is an art linked with the figure of the Mongol emperor, a synthesis of poetry recitations, dances, songs and mimes. To understand this art, we will offer you to live this experience thanks to the miraculously preserved film of the great period of Chinese silent cinema of the 1920s, Pushui’s rose, which is an adaptation of the famous play zaju (杂剧) by Wang Shifu (王实甫) Yuan Dynasty playwright.

The spiritual path

Come and discover a stupa, one of the essential buildings of Buddhist worship, as well as prayer wheels and try your hand at Buddhist rites by making a wish when you spin the wheels and circle around the stupa.

Travel memories: the invention of paper money and the discovery of coal

Marco Polo testifies to the first traces of the use of coal as fuel in China and describes the manufacture of paper money, the ancestor of our current banknotes. A useful testimony to the history of this period is to be seen in the Grande Chaufferie.

Calligraphy

The three calligraphies display the writing of the Yuan dynasty, invented by Kublai Khan. Considering writing as a form of sovereignty in the cultural field, Kublai  used the services of the Tibetan lama Phagba to create a new writing, more adapted to the Mongolian language. The “phagba” alphabet, also called “square writing” because of its shape, was quickly used throughout the Yuan empire, in particular on a new currency made of paper, the ancestor of our current banknotes.

You will discover there many other surprising displays, such as the aviary or the exotic garden, which will take you on a journey to distant and mysterious lands!


Exhibited artists:  Eléa Boënnec, Tamir Samandbadraa Purev, Chenhua Marilier Mi, Mathilde Binder, Wolf – Florilège, Hicham Chahidi and Tibet Bleu