Thursday, January 3, 2013

[SHENYANG] Capitalism and a Manchurian Palace


No, this is not a term paper. I just think the title is apt, in more ways than one, to describe not just the palace but also the city hosting it. And maybe even China itself. Located in a shopping district and surrounded by various manifestations of capitalism, from the small fruits-on-a-stick stall to the ubiquitous larger mall, Mukden Palace is an appropriate depiction of an ever growing China: the unlikely fusion of old world charm and modern commercialism.


Even the palace has become capitalist in a sense, with revenue-earning efforts zeroing in on tourists via the admission fee, although it could be argued that this is primarily for the purpose of upkeep and maintenance. In any case, you're a tourist, and government policy and economy are the least of your concerns unless you're here for research work. It'll suffice for you to simply enjoy the palace, but are you really going to enjoy another barrage of red and gold hues? Worry not, as Mukden Palace's Manchurian flavor will certainly tickle your senses.


What I immediately noticed is the abundance of earth tones such as green and brown. Or perhaps not brown, but rather orange, but still not as flashy as the golden shades of Beijing's crimson pavilions. Some smattering of blue is also visible which somehow completes the heaven and earth motif. Architecture and color aside, the history of the palace as well as that of this region formerly known as Manchuria could also be of interest to the history buff. Unfortunately, I am not a history buff, although I am well aware that this region was once controversial, being the frequent object of numerous attempts on subjugation by the nations surrounding it. History buff or not, that feeling that you are stepping...

[SHENYANG] Capitalism and a Manchurian Palace

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