The Jade Belt Bridge or Marble Bridge is an exquisite bridge and is actually made of marble and stone. (I was disappointed to find out that most of the Marble boat is made out of wood!). The Jade Belt Bridge is also known as the Camel’s Back Bridge or Moon Bridge because of its high arch.
There are distinct contour lines on both sides of the bridge said to resemble a jade belt, hence the name. The marble bridge has ornate carvings of cranes and other animals on the bridge railings, and it was built during the reign of one of the famous Chinese Ming Emperors. The Jade Belt Bridge designed with an elegant high arch to allow the dragon boat of the Emperor to move through freely. The Emperor and Empress traveled on Kunming Lake for special occasions and would pass under the Jade Belt Bridge. This delicate style of marble bridge originally came from southern China.
A high arched bridge, the Jade Belt Bridge is built in a traditional Chinese design. Originally this design was for very practical purposes, to give access across canals for pedestrian between paddy fields, and to allow barges traveling along the canals to pass under it.
In formal gardens in accordance with Chinese culture and tradition, the ‘moon bridge’ (as it is sometimes known) is constructed in marble or stone in a more delicate and exquisite form.
The ‘moon bridge’ when designed for a formal garden, is constructed so that the half circle arch will reflect in the calm waters below the bridge. This gives a reflection of a complete circle between bridge and the reflection, which in turn is said to resemble the fullness of the moon (hence ‘moon bridge’).
The full moon reflection can be seen with hundreds of high arched bridges throughout China, and has been a very strong vibrant part of Chinese culture and tradition for centuries of bridge construction, for both formal gardens and pedestrian use.
Make sure the Jade Belt bridge (Marble Bridge) at the Summer Palace is on your list of ‘Top Five’ places to visit when you arrive in Beijing, China.
- The Marble Boat
- The Fascinating Summer Palace
- Top Five Attractions Beijing
- The Forbidden City China
- The temple of Heaven Park
- Lama Temple