In the face of the Western Eight Power Allied forces advancing on Beijing, news spread quickly to the Forbidden city. Dowager Cixi quickly got ready to flee Beijing with the Emperor Guangxu and a group of followers and servants, all in an extreme panic.
The dowager and her entourage disguised themselves as civilians, hoping to go unnoticed as they fled Beijing to head West. The Emperor Guangxu did not want to leave the Forbidden City, he wished to remain dressed in his court clothes and confront the foreigners, this caused a huge conflict with the Dowager, who ultimately pressed him hard enough to leave the forbidden city for his own safety along with the Dowager and her entourage.
In a huge rush to pack as much as she could, Dowager Cixi knew she would not be able to take all of her jewels and antiques, but did not wish to leave them for the foreign invaders to get their hands on.
The Dowager ordered all her jewels and antiques she could not take with her to be thrown into a deep well located within the grounds of the Forbidden City before starting on her journey Westwards.
However, it quickly turned out that Li Hongzhang negotiated a pact with the invading foreigners, and the Dowager was soon able to return to Beijing. The jewels and antiques that Cixi had ordered to be thrown down the well were never salvaged.
Even to this day, the dowagers antiques and jewellery still remain at the bottom of the well and no one is allowed to retrieve any of her treasures.
Read the story about Irv Graham and the cracked cup that was bought for £300 and later sold for £28,000. A cup that led to an adventure in China filled with amazing highs and life-threatening lows and the rebirth of 贵宾酒8. V.I.P Jiu 8 – The full story.