Last month, we toured the front yard of Epcot's China pavilion. Today, we're going to go inside and look around the shops and restaurants. The amazing details of Oriental art and architecture continue in grand style inside and out.
According to the short piece at the Kingdom of Lions Web site called The Lion and the 'nien' (link), the lion is shown to be a friend of man and able to ward off evil spirits. Thus, it's not surprising to see a pair of lions guarding the front entrance to the Yong Feng Shangdian store.
A pair of lions guard the entrance to the Yong Feng Shangdian store. Photo by Brian Bennett.
Walking a little further back into the pavilion, a small courtyard looks very much like the Shanghai of Indiana Jones in The Temple of Doom. With a heavy dose of Chinese architecture and style along with a smidgen of European influence, it looks very much like the area where Short Round and Indy made their escape from the nightclub.
The Chinese-European look of the pavilion's rear courtyard might remind visitors of an Indiana Jones movie. Photo by Brian Bennett.
By the time you arrive at the Yong Feng Shangdian's rear entrance, the ornate detailonce againoverwhelms. We'll take a further look in a moment, but first let's gaze around the rear courtyard area and soak in the atmosphere.
The detailed archway beckons shoppers to step inside. Photo by Brian Bennett.
A group of bamboo-mounted lanterns decorate a corner of a building near a lion statue and an elephant statue. Photo by Brian Bennett.
Perhaps the propriator of this little shop just walked upstairs to the family apartment for a little break in the day's activity. Photo by Brian Bennett.
A huge, oxidized copper bell is ready to ring out to celebrate the new year (the Chinese new year, of course). Photo by Brian Bennett.
A glimpse up at the Yong Feng Shangdian's rear entrance shows the multiple layers of ornate woodwork. Photo by Brian Bennett.
Just inside the rear entrance, the pavilion's Kidcot area is a place for children to decorate masks to take home. The one with the most masks at the end of the vacation wins.
The Kidcot stop lies just inside the rear entrance of the shop. Photo by Brian Bennett.
Nearby, a display of Oriental prints grace the wall.
From Chinese characters to animals, various prints are available for purchase. Photo by Brian Bennett.
Just inside the main store building, a display of hand-carved jade ships and other figures are on display. The gorgeous detailed work is unbelievable. The chain consists of individual links, but all carved from the same large piece of material. The dragon-headed tortoise is a special treat to see, too.
The store has a gorgeous display of hand-carved jade. Photo by Brian Bennett.
Shoppers can purchase men's and women's clothing made of the finest silk and other materials.
The men's department at Yong Feng Shangdian fills one corner of the store. Photo by Brian Bennett.
A beautiful structure stretches toward the ceiling skylight in the center of the store.
A beautiful centerpiece fills the central area of the store. Photo by Brian Bennett.
And beyond it, a whole area of the store is filled with gorgeous Oriental furniture.
Not only is this a beautiful desk, the artistic painting puts it in a completely unique category of furniture. Photo by Brian Bennett.
Like the desk in the previous photograph, this table features beautiful hand-painted details. Photo by Brian Bennett.
Like the rugs of the Middle East (Iran and the areas surrounding the former Persia), Chinese rugs are handwoven and beautifully crafted. Prices, which reach as high as the mid-$3,000 for the 8-foot by 10-foot sizes, are significantly higher than some you might find in a local home decorating storebut they are imported from China afterall.
Visitors can peruse a nice variety of hand-crafted rugs. Photo by Brian Bennett.
Another area of the store is filled with porcelain statuary and tea sets.
Several varieties of statuary styles are on display. Photo by Brian Bennett.
Full Chinese tea sets with incredible coloring and detail appear more British than Chinese. Photo by Brian Bennett.
Many of the individual teapots, however, are very Oriental in style, indeed. Photo by Brian Bennett.
A sign posted in the store provides this description of Cloissonne:
Cloissonne is an enameled copperware also know as Jing Tai Lan in China, which can be traced back to the reign of Jing Tai in the Ming Dynasty (1450-1456 A.D.) During this period this unique handicraft was very popular and increasingly developed the skill by which is twas mainly glazed in blue Lan in Chinese, hence the name Jing Tai Lan.
The color of the designs are separated by thin metal strips. The marking of cloisonne integrates bronze and porcelain-working techniques, traditional painting, and etching. It is the pinnacle of traditional Chinese handicraft.
Beijing is where cloisonne making originated. A piece of cloisonne ware was not finished until it passes dozens of processes. Each is elaborate and complicated. Briefly speaking, there are four principal procedures: 1) copper body making, 2) copper wire soldering, 3) gold coating, and 4) glazing. The result of a great deal of painstaking effort is a splendid work of art that is colorful, lustruous, and dazzling.
Cloisonne ware vases in the shop are, indeed, colorful, lustrous, and dazzling. The rich deep blue color is, in part, why the cloisonne ware is also called Jing Tai Lan after the emperor Jing Tai and the Chinese word for blue, Lan. Photo by Brian Bennett.
The cloisonne ware is at the very doorway of the shop. We're exiting from the front doorway as y ou might recall. For most guests, the cloisonne ware is located immediately inside the front door to the right.
In any event, a quick look up at the ceiling just inside the front doors of the store provide this view:
A beautiful geometric pattern of beams, trim, and small windows greets the eye of any guest that views the ceiling. Photo by Brian Bennett.
Just outside the shop, the Lotus Blossom Cafe provides a fast food option for pavilion guests.
Quickly served Chinese food is the main fare at the Lotus Blossom. Photo by Brian Bennett.
But even China's fast food joint is provided with a beautiful building with stunning details.
The beautful roof cascades from the sky to cover the Lotus Blossom Cafe. Photo by Brian Bennett.
Nine Dragons is the full-service restaurant in the China pavilion. Serving a wide variety of delicious Cantonese, Szechuan, and Hunan dishes, the restaurant is beautiful as well as lovely.
The Nine Dragons restaurant has a modern Chinese appearance. It is much less traditional in style than much of the rest of the pavilion. Photo by Brian Bennett.
Not surprisingly, the restaurant's entryway ceiling sports a gorgeous golden dragon.
A golden dragon lunges from the medallion in the center of the restaurant's entryway ceiling. Photo by Brian Bennett.
Existing Nine Dragons, you can view the Temple of Heaven from across the tranquil pond. As I gaze at the photograph, I am reminded of the incredible artwork, detail, and colors that are on stunning display throughout the pavilion.
Our last view of the Temple of Heaven, as seen from the Nine Dragons Restaurant. Photo by Brian Bennett.
Next time you're in Epcot, stop in and see China but look around you and take notice of the things that make this whole part of World Showcase truly special.
(Send an email to Brian Bennett)
One of the original editors at MousePlanet, Brian Bennett has written an encyclopedia's worth of online resources on Walt Disney World. Enduring freezing winters in Michigan with thoughts of trips to Orlando and staying at Disney Vacation Club resorts, Brian had a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to move to Orlando with his wife and sons.