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Back of Jewel Case - (Mac/Win98/95/US):
    Based on true events, this classic adventure comes to life as exquisite images, animation and the unfolding story take you on a whimsical journey to the enchanting Garden of Perfect Brightness.

    • Incredible 3D Graphics
    • Discover the magical Garden of Perfect Brightness
    • Encounter Fascinating characters

    Contributed by Zeppin (8422) on May 27, 2009.

Women-Wise.com:

    The Legend of Lotus Spring’ - Background



    It is the autumn of 1858, in Yuan Ming Yuan, the Garden of Perfect Brightness, outside the city of Beijing. It is the reign of the Emperor Xian Feng, of the Qing Dynasty, in the two hundred and fourteenth year of the Manchu, and this is the tragic story of his love for the Han woman, HeHanQu.

    Marriage was forbidden between the Manchu and the Han Chinese. Even an emperor could not bend this law. Han women were not allowed through the gates of the enclosed Forbidden City, so, when Xian Feng fell in love with HeHanQu, he kept her in Lian Xi Le Chu, Lotus Haven, one of the forty sites within the famous Garden. He renamed her Lotus Spring as an expression of his love, and they spent their days together, painting and writing poetry, celebrating their joy in each other.

    Meanwhile, in the Forbidden City, the Dowager Empress CiXi grew increasingly jealous of the Emperor's love, and one day she had Lotus Spring taken to an island in the middle of Lian xi le chu and left there. Eventually, the bridge from the island was destroyed, and Lotus Spring lived abandoned and alone. When Xian Feng heard disturbing rumors of Lotus Spring's disappearance, he went himself to discover the truth.

    History
    China's Ming Dynasty was founded in 1368 by a rebel army leader, a man who was a Han Chinese peasant and who had once been a Buddhist monk. The Ming Dynasty ruled successfully until 1644, when the Manchu swept across the north and claimed Beijing, founding the last great imperial dynasty of China, the Qing Dynasty, which survived until 1911. The Qing regime extended its rule over a large area of China before turning to the protection of its borders, but by the time they did this threats came not from within but from across the sea, and there were already Western missionaries and traders, as well as soldiers of fortune, on China's shore.

    The Manchu were not Chinese, but to ease the transition and maintain power over the dominant Han they used the Chinese culture to their own advantage, retaining many institutions from the Ming and earlier dynasties. They continued Confucian court practices and temple rituals, kept the Confucian civil service system, and even allowed the Han to hold positions of power outside Beijing, although they were banned from holding military positions.

    To prevent their own people from being absorbed into the Han culture, Manchu rulers forbade marriage between the two cultures, and would not allow Han Chinese into the Manchu homeland.

    Throughout the Ming and Qing Dynasties, the seat of dynastic power was the Forbidden City, inside the city of Beijing. Built between 1406 and 1420, it was the seat of power for twenty-four emperors, and the royal palace was the essence of the dignity of the emperor. The Forbidden City was enclosed by an exquisite crenellated wall and surrounded by a moat one hundred feet wide. It occupied 800 acres and included temples and other buildings. Magnificent pillars were painted red and imperial yellow, tiled with glazed yellow tiles, and decorated with carved and gilded dragons and phoenixes. The Forbidden City contained 9,000 rooms and was run by thousands of eunuchs; but after sunset only one man resided there-the emperor, the sole man. His family lived in the inner palace, surrounded by the courtyards where his concubines lived, and where concubines of previous emperors lived out their lives. Any sons under the age of fifteen could also live in the Forbidden City.

    Emperors of previous dynasties had hundreds of concubines in the Forbidden City, but by the time Xian Feng sat on the throne a depleted treasury dictated a smaller harem. Imperial concubines came from the Manchu clans, from their Mongol allies, and sometimes from the Muslim Chinese.

    To be chosen an imperial concubine was an honor not far below the honor of being empress, and the choice of who was to be either was left to the dowager empress. Girls were not favored simply for beauty, but for character, intelligence, and stability. Their first duty was to be a companion to the dowager empress, their next duty, to the emperor.

    Concubines existed in a hierarchy, the most popular of the girls rising to first class; any concubine might become empress. In 1852, Yehonara was chosen as a third class concubine, but when she gave birth to Xian Feng's only son she was raised to F'ei, the first class of concubine. When the boy reached his first birthday, she became secondary consort, one of the emperor's wives, and was known as Empress of the Western Palace, the Dowager Empress CiXi.

    Around 1790, six miles outside the city of Beijing, six generations of Qing emperors built a fabulous lost garden, Yuan Ming Yuan, The Garden of Perfect Brightness, adding it to two other gardens originally built as vacation palaces. It covered 800 acres and was divided into themed sections, each one representing mountains or lakes or other natural beauty spots from around the country. Emperor Qing Long traveled surrounded by artists who captured, in paint, the landscapes he most admired, and then the paintings were translated into various sites within the Garden. Zi Bi Shan Fang, the Purple Green Mountain House, was based on KunLun Mountain, one of the most famous mountains in western China.

    In 1860, during the second Opium War, the British and French set flames to Yuan Ming Yuan. It burned for three days and three nights, and when the fires died down there was nothing left but ash and rubble. The Qing Dynasty's inability to correctly judge and evaluate the degree of flexibility required to deal with the outside threats to China's autonomy ultimately led, in 1911, to the collapse of the entire infrastructure of dynastic rule.

    Like all ancient cultures, China's history is filled with a wealth of legends and intriguing tales. The most intriguing is the tragic romance between the emperor Xian Feng and Lotus Spring. Because Han women were not allowed inside the Forbidden City, the Qing emperors, infatuated with the beauty of these women, housed them in the palaces of the Yuan Ming Yuan. HeHanQu came to this garden, and when Xian Feng first saw her he fell in love. They lived together in Lian Xi Le Chu, Lotus Haven, one of the forty sites within the Garden, and Xian Feng renamed her Lotus Spring. But the Dowager Empress CiXi grew jealous, and used the laws of the Manchu and the Imperial Court to place Lotus Spring under arrest on an island in the middle of Lian Xi Le Chu.

    Enter Yuan Ming Yuan
    In this game you will travel with Xian Feng through Lian Xi Le Chu, experiencing the Emperor's love of Lotus Spring, sharing their daily lives, ultimately discovering what happened to Lotus Spring after her detention on the island. You will see the beauty of the Garden of Perfect Brightness, recreated in this game from some of the original construction plans, original paintings of the Garden before its destruction, and photographs taken by foreign tourists shortly after its destruction. Background information is derived from written records such as diaries, imperial poems, and archives.

    Enter Yuan Ming Yuan, the Garden of Perfect Brightness, and share in this tragic yet beautiful love story.

    Contributed by Jeanne (76455) on Apr 12, 2005.

Dreamcatcher's Web Page:
    This Chinese legend comes to life as you journey through the colorful and enchanting Garden of Perfect Brightness. Embrace the romance and tragic love of the beautiful woman called Lotus Spring, as your imagination takes you on a whimsical story enhanced with exquisite graphics, stunning animation and enticing game play.

    A favorite love story among women and teenage girls, yet perfect for the romantic in all of us. As you journey through the recreated lost garden the story unfolds in the Diary and Dream book of Lotus Spring

    The mystical ambiance will surely captivate all who play

    Contributed by Jeanne (76455) on Oct 12, 2001.