Nanhaizi is one of Beijing’s ‘kidneys’, TJU professor says

Updated: 2019-03-04

"Nanhaizi is one of Beijing's two ‘kidneys’," said Wang Qiheng, professor of the School of Architecture College of Tianjin University.

Wang, also an expert on the research of royal gardens in the Qing Dynasty (1644-1911), hailed Nanhaizi, an area in southern Beijing's Daxing district, as a “sample”, and a “living fossil” to explain the function orientation and importance of Nanhaizi culture at a forum on Nanhaizi culture in Daxing, on Dec 8.

He added that as a wetland protection resource of the imperial capital, the area formed a complete ecological structure from the Liao (916-1125) and Jin (1115-1234) to the Yuan (1271-1368), Ming (1368-1644) and Qing dynasties: “it is the great wisdom of ancient Chinese.”

Wang pointed to a map of Nanhaizi that showed the wetland resource during the reign of Emperor Kangxi in the Qing Dynasty.

"The first ‘kidney’ of Beijing is in its northwestern suburbs, and the second is in Nanhaizi area," Wang stated.

He continued to explain, “Because Nanhaizi is the old channel of the three rivers, it has abundant groundwater. It has been a royal garden since the Liao Dynasty.”

"The function of the Nanhaizi area is not only to raise wetland animals, but also to form a complete wetland ecological chain."

Nanhaizi, which is home to imperial gardens, was a sub-center of the imperial capital and of social and political life, Wang added.

He said the History of the Qing Dynasty recorded the Emperor Shunzhi’s frequent visit to Nanhaizi, where he received ministers and even foreigners and where his troops were trained.

The tradition lasted until the late Qing Dynasty and constituted the main value of Nanhaizi.

The wetland resources in Nanhaizi were intensively developed during the reign of Emperor Kangxi.

The emperor ordered creation of some rivers on the wetland. Tuanhe River is the largest of them. Then a group of buildings were constructed nearby. The Tuanhe Xinggong (temporary dwelling place of an emperor) was at the core of Nanhaizi.

In addition, the new rivers, including Liangshui River and Fenghe River, completely changed the role of Nanhaizi (Nanyuan) in the transportation and water conservancy system of North China.