How to kowtow


Somewhere between the Yuhua garden and the Shenwumen (northern) gate of the Forbidden City we saw several elephants kowtowing. This posture is impossible for elephants, since their forelegs bend the other way at the knees. So this statue (and its partners) show that the sculptors had not actually seen elephants. They had seen people kowtowing, and just transformed the human posture to an elephant’s. So you can learn how to kowtow from these statues.