A simple relation between inhomogeneous transfer matrices and boundary quantum KZ equations is exhibited for quantum integrable systems with reflecting boundary conditions, analogous to an observation by Gaudin for periodic systems. Thus the boundary quantum KZ equations receive a new motivation. We also derive the commutativity of Sklyanin's boundary transfer matrices by merely imposing appropriate reflection equations, i.e. without using the conditions of crossing symmetry and unitarity of the R-matrix.
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26 pages; 2 figures; strengthening of results in Section 2; small modifications (corrected typos etc.) throughout; updated Acknowledgments