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The Prince Kung's Palace Period

Updated: Jun 06, 2022

From the 30th year of the Daoguang reign (1850) to the 26th year of the Republic of China (1937)

In the first lunar month of the 30th year of the Daoguang reign (1850), the fourth son of Daoguang Emperor, Yizhu, ascended to the throne and granted the title of Prince Kung to Yixin, his brother, also the sixth son of the Daoguang Emperor. 

In the same year, Yixin was given the former mansion of Prince Qing, Yonglin, and Fuguo General Yikuang on imperial orders. After more than one year of repairs, in the fourth lunar month of the second year of the Xianfeng reign (June 1852), Yixin moved into the mansion. 

Half a year after Yixin moved in, on the 23rd day of the 10th lunar month of the second year of the Xianfeng reign (December 4, 1852), Emperor Xianfeng accompanied Yixin's mother, the imperial concubine, to visit Prince Kung's Palace and inscribed Duo Fu Xuan and Bao Guang Shi for the palace halls. In the early years of the Tongzhi reign, Yixin renovated the back garden of the mansion on a large scale and named it "Langrun Garden".

During the Yixin period, Prince Kung's Palace rose to fame and was of great renown and influence, witnessing the ups and downs of Yixin in the imperial court. On the tenth day of the fourth lunar month of the 24th year of the Guangxu reign (May 29, 1898), Yixin died of illness in the mansion. His grandson Puwei, by the decree of Empress Dowager Cixi, inherited the title of Prince Kung.

At the end of 1911, when the situation was turbulent and precarious, as a staunch supporter of the imperial power of the Qing Dynasty, Puwei strongly opposed the republic and decided to sacrifice all that he had to maintain the imperial court by selling the ancient paintings and antiques in the mansion. 

Due to fear of being persecuted by Yuan Shikai, former President of the Republic of China, Puwei fled from Prince Kung's Palace in January 1912. In February, the emperor of Qing Dynasty abdicated, and for the first time Prince Kung's Palace became a private property that Puwei could dispose of at will.

One of Yixin's concubines stayed in charge of Prince Kung's Palace after Puwei left. Due to financial difficulties, Puwei, who lived outside, asked his family members to offer the residence as a mortgage to a French priest.

In 1924, Puwei's younger brothers, Puru, Puhui, and their mother, who lived in seclusion in Xishan Mountain, went back to live in the adjoining garden of Prince Kung's Palace.

Due to Puwei's continuous loan renewals and compound interest, the amount of his loans became very large after a few years, making Puwei unable to repay the loan. After Puwei died in 1936, the priest sued in the Peking Court in 1937. The court auctioned off Prince Kung's Palace, and it was bought by the Fu Jen Catholic University of Peking. In early 1938, Puru moved out of the mansion.

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