After we finished exploring the Inner Court of the Forbidden City, we arrived at the garden at the back north west corner before the exit gate. It is named the Jianfu Palace Garden (The Garden of Palace of Established Happiness), which has an area of 4,074 square meters. Due to its location, it was also called the West Garden.
It was first built during the Qing Dynasty in 1740, during the reign of the Emperor Qianlong.
The Jianfu Palace Garden was one of the Emperor Qianlong's favorite places. A prolific poet and art collector, he wrote many poems about it and stored a number of treasures from his collection there.
One of the most fascinating aspects of Emperor Qianlong was the amazing breadth of his interests and abilities. He was a classic scholar, a keen military strategist and martial arts expert, a poet who composed some 44,000 poems and a skilled hunter.
He was also the only Chinese Emperor to speak four languages, a hands-on administrator, a deeply spiritual person and the patron of China's diverse religions, and a restless innovator in the arts and sciences.
Later emperors used the garden to hold ceremonies on the first day of the twelfth month of the Chinese calendar, during which time they would write calligraphy works to greet the coming new year.