The Jade Mountain lies approximately 2.5 kilometers west of Longevity Hill (Wanshoushan) in the Summer Palace. About in the year 1200, Hall of Lotuses (Furongdian) was built on top pf the mountain to serve as a traveling lodge for the Jin Dynasty emperors. During the Yuan and Ming dynasties, the Temple of Clarity and Conversion (Zhaohuasi) and the Huayan Temple were built here and similarly served emperors and empresses as a place of recreation. The Pure Heart Garden (Chengxinyuan) was established in 1680 during the reign of Emperor Kangxi. In 1692 it became the Garden of Light and Tranquility (Jingmingyuan), a name that accurately describes its elegant setting and peaceful surroundings.
The Jade Spring Mountain is famous for the clear, sweet waters of its spring, which were well known in ancient times. During the Qing Dynasty, the spring was the source of drinking water for the Imperial Palace. On the mountainside, a stone dragon’s head has been placed over the source of the spring. The spring water foams out from the dragon’s mouth with such force that it is also called the “Snow-Spurting Spring.”I n addition, the crystalline water which reflects the myriad colors around it has earned it yet another name, the Jade Spring Rainbow, and as such the spring was listed among the Eight Great Sights of Yanjing. On top of the cliff there is a stone tablet inscribed: “The Foremost Spring Under Heaven” on its front side, and on its back “Baotu Spring in Jade Spring Mountain” in both Han (Chinese) and Manchu languages. Both inscriptions are in the handwriting of Emperor Qianlong.
In ancient times, the Jade Spring Mountain was the site of numerous traditional buildings. The largest of them was called by the fanciful name, the “Grand Duke Who Stands Aloof” (Kuoran Dagong). In the middle of the lake to the north of the hall was a pavilion known as “Clear Reflections of Lotus” (Furong Qianzhao) and to the west stood the Dragon King Temple (Longwangmiao). According to local history, “From the Hall of Benevolence to the Cool Shade Under the Blue Clouds there were 16 scenic spots in the Garden of Light and Tranquility. The hall on the mountaintop often disappears in the mist and clouds. Lotuses hide the world beneath the water. The four hundred temples of earlier times were all given their names on fine autumn days.” From these descriptions, the scenic magnificence of the area can well be imagined. However, following the plundering by the Anglo-French Allied Armies and the Eight-Power Allied Forces, very few historical relics remain at the Jade Spring Mountain today.
On the peak of the mountain, the Pagoda of Supreme Height (Miaogaota) stands on the Platform of Supreme Height (Miaogaotai). The pagoda is 33 meters high and ahs nine stories. A spiral staircase inside leads to the top floor, where there is a statue of the Buddha in bronze.