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In Xanadu did Kubla Khan A stately pleasure-dome decree
December 3, 2011 10:14 PM   Subscribe

Chinese archeologists have mapped the layout of Shangdu (better known as Xanadu), after large scale excavations that included the use of GIS in remote sensing and aerial archeology. The capital, located in Inner Mongolia, was built in 1256 under the command of Kublai Khan, the first emperor of Yuan Dynasty, who was enthroned there four years later. It became a summer resort after the Yuan Dynasty (1271-1368) moved its capital to Ta-tu or Dadu (built by the same architect, located in present-day Beijing) in 1276, and was destroyed during a peasant war at the end of the dynasty. The regional government has submitted an application for World Cultural Heritage status for the site to UNESCO, currently under review. Xanadu has captured the imagination of the West ever since Marco Polo first extolled its beauties in his Books of the Marvels of the World, subsequently immortalized by Coleridge in a poem fuelled by opium fevered dreams. Other recently discovered Yuan Dynasty artifacts include a priceless porcelain vase as well as a sunken ship - part of an invading Mongol armada - off the coast of Japan.
posted by infini (24 comments total) 54 users marked this as a favorite

 
I will never be able to read all these links!
posted by sanka at 10:20 PM on December 3, 2011


Please tell me that this was what all of those mysterious tunnels in the desert were, and not for a secret military superweapon.
posted by Apocryphon at 10:36 PM on December 3, 2011 [1 favorite]


Sadly, Sam Coleridge never completed his poem. The reason is lost to history, but legend has it that he was interrupted by a time-travelling holistic detective....
posted by miyabo at 10:40 PM on December 3, 2011 [5 favorites]


1. Obtain GIS and remote sensing apparatus.
2. Conduct aerial archeological study of Shangdu.
3. Measure caverns measureless to man.
4. Drink milk of paradise.
posted by BitterOldPunk at 10:56 PM on December 3, 2011 [7 favorites]


Anybody here from Porlock? You knock on the archaeologists' door, and I'll make Shangdu disappear while they're distracted.
posted by McCoy Pauley at 10:57 PM on December 3, 2011


Why are you letting these "history" and "facts" get in the way of my fevered disco fantasy?
posted by benzenedream at 11:50 PM on December 3, 2011 [5 favorites]


If you're ever in Xanadu, you must stop by the stately pleasure dome. One of best pleasure domes around.
posted by twoleftfeet at 12:01 AM on December 4, 2011 [4 favorites]


Isn't that where Alph, the sacred river, ran? Damn pleasure domes ruined the neighbourhood.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 1:47 AM on December 4, 2011


Nice post, BTW!
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 1:56 AM on December 4, 2011


So much good stuff here. Infini is staking his claim on the iPad!
posted by arcticseal at 2:49 AM on December 4, 2011 [1 favorite]


The Milk of Paradise is probably gone off by now.
posted by Seiten Taisei at 3:01 AM on December 4, 2011 [1 favorite]


So, I suppose it's a place where nobody dared to go
posted by mattoxic at 3:15 AM on December 4, 2011 [1 favorite]


The Milk of Paradise is probably gone off by now.
posted by Seiten Taisei at 3:01 AM on December 4 [+] [!]


I hear it's great on nachos with a bit of sweet chilli sauce.
posted by Hello, I'm David McGahan at 3:56 AM on December 4, 2011


You know, what's the point of a stately pleasure dome? I've always preferred my pleasure domes a bit more hedonistic.
posted by kmz at 4:14 AM on December 4, 2011 [4 favorites]


You mean like a raucous pleasure dome? A bacchanalian pleasure dome?
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 4:27 AM on December 4, 2011 [1 favorite]


I wonder what Olivia-Newton John would make of all this
posted by Renoroc at 5:28 AM on December 4, 2011


She'd say, "Philistines... all of you... philistines"
posted by infini at 5:36 AM on December 4, 2011


In Xanadu did Kubla Khan a pleasure-dome ERECT!

(Frankie Say Welcome!)
posted by hippybear at 6:52 AM on December 4, 2011 [1 favorite]


I always thought of a pleasure some as more of a yonic symbol than phallic.
posted by Severian at 7:44 AM on December 4, 2011


S/some/dome
posted by Severian at 7:48 AM on December 4, 2011


Fantastic post. Another one where I'll be digging through the links for a while.
posted by immlass at 8:19 AM on December 4, 2011


Is this what December is going to be like? I don't know if I can handle so many high-quality, link dense posts.

(Great post.)
posted by benito.strauss at 9:44 AM on December 4, 2011 [1 favorite]


Seriously, how long does it take you to come up with all of this info for these posts?
posted by allkindsoftime at 3:11 AM on December 5, 2011


I'll be honest, you don't actually realize how much time it takes because you're actually digging into something for the joy of a)digging and b) you wanna know - then you hit publish and then go "Oh My" is it whatever o clock already?

This one I'd noticed the sunken ship news and bookmarked it till I had time - which I did on Sunday evening. Then about 2 or 3 hours but it depends - you can always do wiki but you do have to sift for anything a little less obvious. The topic also influences - if its something that will have lots of material and that too in English, it will either add the time to figure out if its of relevance and value or easier to uncover.
posted by infini at 3:38 AM on December 5, 2011


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