During my first trip to China, I traveled to Changshu (not far from Shanghai) to discuss building the Mei Wen Ti. When I finished with my meetings, I traveled up to Beijing for a few days of sight-seeing. My favorite stop there was visiting Forbidden City.
While walking around I took several pictures of many wonderful old Chinese window and door panels with beautiful designs that adorn the Forbidden City.
After the trip, while I was writing the detailed specification for the Mei Wen Ti, I remembered the beautiful window and door patterns I had seen in the Forbidden City and decided to incorporate similar designs for the covers of the interior light fixtures below deck.
The panel design I asked for in the specifications were a simplified version of those I saw at the Forbidden City. I never expected the fine-looking, hand-made panels the shipyard ended up creating for the Mei Wen Ti - in fact, I was flabbergasted to see they were individually crafted with great precision. Six of the panels like the one shown here were used to make wonderful ceiling lights which add a warm Chinese feeling and flair to the interior of the boat.
If you are planning a trip to Beijing, or simply would like to learn more about this amazing culture, I think you'll enjoy reading my book "No Problem, Mr. Walt". You can read more about the Forbidden City (and other unique places), and perhaps you'll garner a better understanding of what it was like to walk where only emperors, concubines, eunuchs and the chosen few lived, worked and played centuries ago.
Stop in again soon and read my blog about a custom "Mr. Walt" Chinese chop that I now use at book signings.