N° 102
Hudongxian fahua: Perspective Painting to the east of the lake

China, Peking
Qing Dynasty, 1783
Engraving of the Yuanming yuan European Palaces
H : 49.4 cm, L : 86.7 cm
French National Library, Paris (OE 18a, plate n°20)

This optical view closes the spectacle. It is preceded by a large rectangular mirror which, by creating an effect of distance, renders the final scene more plausible. Steps leading from a large paved area descend into a sort of canal. Beyond, a set of symmetrical wings are arranged as if on a theatre stage. Six walls create the illusion along with two monumental doors.

The ensemble is laid out like a street in a Western town which seems to vanish into the distance. Located in the east, this imaginary town was built to be contemplated from afar in the rays of the setting sun thus heightening the mirage effect.

Jean-Paul Desroches