Qing Dynasty

Outrage in China Over Replicas of Its Own Historic Sites

“Outrage in China Over Replicas of Its Own Historic Sites”

by Laura C. Mallonee


Controversy has erupted over two replicas of important heritage sites in China, a country famous for its many reproductions of other nations’ famous structures.

In Hubei province, the Wuhan Institute of Biogengineering has nearly finished its fake version of the Great Wall of China. In Zhejiang province, Hengdian World Studios will soon complete a duplicate of Beijing’s Old Summer Palace at its headquarters, where it has already built copies of the Forbidden City and the Tiananmen Gate.

The replicas are in keeping with the country’s tradition of xeroxing international landmarks. Visitors to the city of Chongqing can snap their photographs in front of Mount Rushmore. In Hangzhou, they can climb the Eiffel Tower and stroll along the Champs-Élysées. The town of Suzhou alone contains 56 such reconstructions, including London’s Tower Bridge, the Sydney Harbour Bridge, and the Pont Alexandre III in Paris.

But now simulations of Chinese cultural heritage are being challenged for varying reasons. According to The Telegraph, social media users have been ridiculing the $650,000 cost of recreating the Great Wall, a mile-long, gray brick replica that will open in September. The original, built between 250 BCE and the 17th century, lies nearly 800 miles to the north.

“The idea of a university is to educate people and not to build tourist spots,” a user on Weibo (China’s Twitter knock-off) wrote. Another quipped: “I can’t believe a university has such a low IQ.”


The $5 billion replica of the Old Summer Palace, parts of which will open to tourists in May, has also drawn criticism, as The Art Newspaper reported. The original was built by the Qing Dynasty in the 18th century, then ransacked by French and British soldiers in 1860 during the Second Opium War. “I think they shouldn’t rebuild it,” a Weibo user wrote. “That history is written in blood. A dilapidated Yuanmingyuan is better able to remind us of that humiliating chapter of history.”

The administration of the original palace’s ruins is threatening to sue the film studio for violation of intellectual property rights. It told Xinhua News Agency — China’s state media arm — that the structure is “unique and cannot be replicated. The construction and development of the site should be planned by authoritative national organizations, and any replication of it should reach certain standards.” . . . .

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Chinese Artist: Wang Bu

“Vases with Bird-and-Flower Painting” by Wang Bu (1898–1968)


Wang Bu was a 20th Century Chinese artist that specialized in working with Ceramics.  He was officially trained in the blue and white art, working under an expert tutor for several years.  Wang Bu’s first significant work came when popular ceramic artist, Wu Aisheng, hired him to design porcelain items in the style so popular during the Ming and Qing periods.  He would continue working with porcelain and ceramics for the rest of his life, preferring to decorate them in the blue and white coloring his father and mentor had loved.

Wang Bu made two great contributions to the art field.  First, He created the innovative method of using Chinese brush drawing to add the blue and white colors onto his ceramics and porcelain works ~ a technique that many other artists would soon pick up.  Second, he invented a “coloring pigment” by using the Chinese ink painting technique.  This pigment helped the colors used on ceramics to stay bright and colorful, as opposed to dulling and spotting as it dried.  

He briefly abandoned the blue and white style  during the tumultuous period of WWII an the Anti-Japanese War. However, he would later return to his roots, and eventually earned the title “King of Blue and White.  In the sixty years that he worked, he designed millions of works, many of which are still famous today.


  • His father, Xiuquing, who was an expert in blue and white painting. 
  • Xu Yousheng, his teacheer and another expert artist that worked with blue and white painting.
  • Ming and Qing Dynasty ceramic artists.

Stylistic Characteristics

  • Blue and White Coloring ~ particularly over-glazed with colors underneath or paste on paste.
  • Ceramics and Porcelain canvases.
  • Use of Chinese brush drawing or ink painting.
  • Bright, smooth coloring.
  • He seems to have like flowers, animals, and natural subjects.
  • His signature in his later years was often “the old man Taoqing.”