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With a history of more than 2,500 years, the ancient city of

Suzhou, boasting splendid scenery, rich cultural heritage and

abundant agricultural products, is situated in the Lower

Yangtze basin by the side of lake tai. Ever since the founding

of Suzhou as the capital of the Wu Kingdom in 514 B.C., it

has been the political, economic and cultural center of the

region.As a place famed for its well-known scholars,

successful merchants, great architects and distinguished

artists, Suzhou provides favorable conditions for the creation and development of

classical gardens.

The earliest gardens of Suzhou, which belonged to the King of Wu, can be traced far back to the Spring and Autumn period in the 6th century B.C. The Pijiang Garden was recorded as the earliest private garden-house dating from the 4th century Eastern Jin Dynasties. More gardens were built in the centuries that followed. During the prosperous Ming and Qing Dynasties, from the 16th to the 18th centuries that followed. During the prosperous Ming and Qing Dynasties, from the 16th to the 18th century in particular. Suzhou saw a booming economy . Consequently, the number of gardens in the city of Suzhou and its environs increased a great deal, mounting to 200 odd. Dozens of them have survived to the present and are kept in a good state of preservation.With their numerical superiority and artistic perfection, the classical gardens of Suzhou has had a good reputation in this part of China, popularly known as "the earthly paradise".

Laid out within a limited area by the house, a classical garden of Suzhou is a microcosm of the world made of the basic elements of water, stones, plants and different kinds of buildings with literary allusions. Like a freehand brushwork in traditional Chinese painting, it is the creation of "urban scenery" or an amicable environment that brings man into harmony with nature.Built in a period when privately-owned gardens were most flourishing, the Humble Administrator's Garden, the Lingering Garden, the Master-of-Nets Garden and the Mountain Villa with Embracing Beauty, noted for their beautiful scenes,elegant buildings and literary connotations, represent the concentrated essence of wisdom of the Chinese and the finest specimens of all classical gardens of Suzhou. Like shining pearls, they are a brilliant part of Chinese cultural heritage. Their characteristics are as follows:

Firstly,they set fine examples of how garden spaces are ingeniously handled.

Interwoven with Taoist metaphysics of Laozi and Zhangzi,the classical gardens of Suzhou were laid out in imitation of natural scenery to meet the intellectual and emotional needs of the Chinese. The terrestrial contours of the site is always made good use of. Methods and techniques are numerous, including borrowed views, barred views, opposite views, framed views, the decorative and functional alteration, and the abstract and concrete alteration. The stress is put on meandering through a labyrinth of complexity and continuous surprises. Within limits the garden spaces are so ingeniously handled that the effect of infinitude is produced. In the Humble Administrator's Garden, the Lingering Garden, the Master-of-Nets Garden and the Mountain Villa with Embracing Beauty, there are many instances in illustration of traditional Chinese aesthetics.

Secondly, they are the re-creation of the splendors of natural scenery through the processes of the

decoration of land by planting trees, shrubs and

flowers, and designing and materializing mountains


watercourses. The classical gardens of Suzhou were

designed and built by great masters of different

dynasties, emplying extraordinary methods and

techniques. AS a result, they are unnaturally natural.

Noted for their wonderful landscapes and

waterscapes, the Humble Administrator's garden,

the Lingering Garden, the Master-of-Nets Garden and the Mountain Villa with Embracing Beauty are the vivid re presentation of natural scenery easy to be found locally. The miniature mountains made of yellowstones in the Master-of-Nets Garden or from earth with stones sticking out of them in the Humble Administrator's Garden and the Lingering Garden look so natural and spontaneous that they seem to be rendered without human aid. A number of fine limestones hauled from Lake Tai to the Lingering Garden, some of which are believed to be left behind by the imperial collector from the Song court,have the qualities of being slender, wrinkled, pierced with holes, yet capable of draining by themselves. The best lime stone mountain designed and piled up by the great master Gu Yuliang in the Qing Dynasty is to be found in the Mountain Villa with Embracing Beauty. Great attention is paid to sequential loveliness. An abundant variety of flowers and trees are grown in the gardens.Valued highly for their several hundred years of age are the ginkoes in the Lingering garden,the wistaria in the Humble Administrator's Garden and the Sabina chinensis in the Master-of-Nets garden.

Thirdly, they are an epitome of exquisite and multifarious buildings of old times in the south of the Lower Yangtze .

The classical gardens of Suzhou have many varieties of little pavilions and large constructions with their basic beam-framing systems such as Ting,Tang,Xuan,Guan,Lou,Ge,Xie,Fang,Ting(rising tone), and lang, to satisfy the needs of reading,writing,painting,resting,viewing,meditating,playing chess,performing on a musical instrument,sipping tea,holding banquets and so forth. With traditional Chinese furnishings,these buildings richly ornamented with exquisitely carved door frames,windows,hangings,balustrades and screens inside and many kinds of lattic--windows,pavements and moon gates outside,have harmonized impeccably with functional,structural and aesthetical considerations.

Fourthly, they are rich in literary connotations ,carrying a tremendous amound of information about Chinese culture.

Intertwined with ancient chinese philosophy, ideology and aesthetics, the classical gardens of Suzhou are noteworthy places with unique architectural forms carrying poetic names in plateaux and parallel couplets in excellent calligraphy with literary allusion which help to enhance the beauty of the whole property. Also, there are numerous inscribed stelae of great antiquity celebrated for their delicate workmanship and literary connotations. Indeed the classical gardens of Suzhou are the invaluable reservoir from which we can draw cultural substances.

To sum up, the classical gardens of Suzhou in the course of over two millennia have experienced many ups and downs, and gradually reached a state of artistic perfection. The sublimities of the classical gardens of Suzhou will endure forever and ever.

the Humble Administrator's Garden


51,950 sq.m,the



Garden is the

largest of all


gardens in

Suzhou. It is

centered upon the broad expanse of a lake, making up about one

fifth of the total area. With well spaced buildings, the garden

landscape and water scape are simple, extensive and natural,

possessing the traditional

appearances of the Ming Dynasty. It

is divided into three parts; the eastern, middle the western parts.

The house lies in the south of the garden.

The middle part is the cream of the garden with marvellous

mountains, clear water, exquisite buildings and exuberant

trees and flower reminiscent of the scenery in the south of the Lower Yangtze. Lying here and there to the south of the lake are garden buildings and courts in cluster. On an east-west axis there's the Hall of Drifting Fragrance in the middle, flanked by the Loquat Garden Court, the Malus Micromalus Makina court, the Poeny Pavilion, the Listening to the Sound of Rain Pavilion, the small canglang, "A Pure Mind Thinks Deep", and the Magnolia Hall. Rising from the lake are the east and west hills made from a

mixture of earth and rocks, and covered with trees. the Prunus Mume Pavilion and the Orange Pavilion stand atop of the hills.By the side of the lake there are forsythias gently stroking the surface of water, and bringing about delightful effects of nature. Much of the surprise comes from the disposition of the

Fragrant ISle, the pavilion in lotus breezes and the Mountain-in-View Tower to the west of the lake.from the secluded pavilion of Firmiana Simplex and Bamboo one is able to catch sight of the pagoda of paying debts of gratitude in distance. The picturesque scene of the pagoda mirrored in water is an example of the garden technique called "borrowed view from afar".

The buildings in the western part of the garden are properly arranged by the lake.To the south of the lake is a big mandarin duck's hall with two halves. The northern half is named "the Hall of 36 pairs of mandarin ducks" and the southern half "the hall of 18 camellias ". built to the west of the lake are the Inducalamus Pavilion, the "With Whom Shall I Sit"?pavilion,the Floating Green Tower, the

Stay-and-Listen Pavilion, the Pagoda Reflection pavilion.Going up and down and in a zigzag, a unique veranda over the water is a stucture built along the wall to the east of the lake. The

Good-For-Both-Families Pavilion on the top of the hill overlooks the middle and western parts, another example of the garden technique called " borrowed view from near".

Decorated with the Cymbidium Virens Hall, the lotus pavilion, the Celestial Spring Pavilion, the Far

Away Looking Pavilion and the All blue Pavilion, the eastern part of

the garden has verdant hills with pine and bamboo , distant islands

encircled by winding streams, and an extensive area of grass,

flowers and trees.

Glowing out of the mud, lotus blooms still keep themselves pure

and clean. The farther theirsmell drifts the purer it becomes. A good

number of buildings in the garden are named after lotus blooms, often known as "a true person of the virtue "among flowers, such as the Hall of Drifting Fragrance,the Lotus Pavilion, the pavilion in the Lotus Breeze, and the Stay-and-Listen Pavilion,expressing the theme of the whole garden----to be pure as lotus blooms.

Lying to the south of the garden is the house, which is the typical residence in Suzhou. Ona

north-south axis there are four successive buildings, namely the Sedan-Chair Hall, the Reception Hall and two two-storeyed buildings. to the east of the axis are the Mandarin Ducks' Hall with flower-basket decoration, the Flower Hall and the Four -Sided Viewing Hall.

The Humble administrator's Garden boasts altogether 48 different buildings, 101 parallel couplets and door plateaux, 40 stelae, 21 precious old trees, namely Wistaria, Sabina chinensis, Pterocarya stenoptera,etc.falling into 13 different catalogues, and over 700 bonsai (potted landscape) kept in the Bonsai Garden in the western part of the garden, representing the Suzhou style bonsai, one of the four leading bonsai styles in china.

the Lingering Garden

The Lingering Garden was listed from the

first as cultural relics of national importance in

1961. With an area of 23,310 sq.m.it is

celebrated for its artistic way of dealing with

the spaces between various kinds of

architectural form.Buildings make up one third

of the total area of the garden,the hall of which being the most remarkable

in Suzhou. The garden is separated into the middle ,eastern,northern and western parts. The ancestral temple and the house lie to the south of the garden.

Featuring man-made mountain and lake scenery in the west and garden courts in the east,the middle part of the garden is the original site of the Xu's East Garden and the Liu's Hanbi Villa,and is regarded as the best part of the whole garden. The eastern,northern and western parts are the

extensions of the Sheng's Garden. The eastern part is noted for its strangely shaped limestones,the northern part idyllic scenes,and the western part the delights of woody hills.

A winding roofed walkway behind the small entrance of the garden,while leading to the places of quietude,shows the masterly use of contrast between big and small,straight and zigzag,and light and shade. After strolling for about 50 meters,one can catch a glimpse of lattice-windows revealing a half visible landscape garden behind. Interestingly enough,the view is changing at every step.

The middle part of the garden is centered upon a lake with man-made moutain in the north-west and

a numger of attractive buildings in the southwest ,such as the Hanbi Moutain Villa ,the Pellucid Tower,the

Green Shade Pavilion,the Zigzag Stream Tower,the Hao

Pu Pavilion,and the Refreshing Breeze Pavilion by the

lake.The mountains made mainly of yellowstones and

earth,believed to be desigtned and piled up by Zhou

Binzhong,look very much archaic and splendiferous.The

admirable Crane House, the Small Garden of Stone

Forest, the Return-to-Read Study in the east with the

Celestial Hall of Five Peaks as the chief stucture are laid

out in such a way that the indoor spaces have been

brought into perfect harmony with the outdoor spaces. With an evocation of infinity,they are

successfully made to be labyrinthine.

Flanked by the Auspicious Cloud and Mountainous Cloud peaks,the 6.5-meter-high Cloud-Capped Peak, the highest limestone in the classical gardens of Suzhou, is believed to be left behind by the imperial collector of the Northern Song Dynasty,Mass of buildings, including the Old Hermit Scholars' House, the Cloud-Capped Tower,the Cloud-Capped Terrace and the Awaiting Cloud Temple,are put up to give emphasis to the Cloud-Capped Tower,The northern part is now a bonsai garden in which about 500 valuable bonsai are put on display.

The western part of the garden sets a fine example of good-looking earthen hills studded with

yellowstones and covered with maple trees.There is a winding brook lined with peach trees and weeping willows.

The number of stelae in the Lingering Garden has never been surpassed by any other gardens in Suzhou.Superbly inscribed with the works of more than a hundred calligraphers in the

Jin,Tang,Song,Yuan,Ming ,and Qing Dynasties, these invaluable stelae bring to light the evolutionary course of Chinese calligraphy in the past 1,000 years.

The whole garden possesses with pride 42 rooms and halls , a 670-meter-long roofed walkway,200 lattice-windows of different kinds, 44 parallel couplets and stone carvings , 373 stelae,and 17 such valuable old trees as gingkoes,southern wistaria,etc. which fall into 8 catalogues.

the Master-of-Nets Garden

The Master-of-Nets Garden covers 5,400 sq.m. and

is divided into two parts: the eastern house and the

western garden.Half enclosed by a screen wall with a row

of iron rings for tethering horses,and two alleyway side

entrances,the front door faces south,having a pair of var.

pendula in front ,and hairpin-like door ornaments

above ,and two huge blocks of stone carved in the shape

of drums kept fast with the hands,placed one by its left

side and another by its right side.This type of front door

showing owner's rank at the court has become very rare now. On a north-south axis there are four

successive buildings separated by garden courts,namely the front door hall, the sedan-chair hall, the

grand reception hall and the two-storeyed tower.Constructed in accordance

with the strict regulations of feudalism, they are magnificent buildings with

extraordinary furnishing and interior decoration. In front of the grand

reception hall is a door with richly carved earthen ornamentation.The

two-storeyed tower at rear is the place where the family used to stay,and the

hall in front is chiefly for reception,public celebrations and ceremonial

observances.Every hall has a door or walk-way leading to the garden.It is a

typical example of combning living quarters with a landscape garden in


The garden lies to the northwest of the house,making up four fifth of the total area.Quite different from the normal architecture in the east,the garden architecture enjoys a considerable degree of free.Varieties of building are laid out to meet the needs of reading,painting,viewing,resting,sipping tea.holding small baquets among scholarly friends,capping verse,performing on a musical

instrument,meditating on nature and cultivating one's mind.Roughly speaking ,there are three parts in the garden.The Small Hill and Osmanthus Fragrans Pavilion,the Daohe House and the Music Room

constitute the middle distance of the confined southern part of the garden.The technique of emancipation by suppression and contrasting light with shade are remarkably employed to make the middle part of the garden appear more impressive that it is when seen alone.

The middle part of the garden has a pond in the center covering about 440 sq.m. with a small bay to the northwest and a streamlet to the southeast giving the impression of infinity. It is curved round by a roofed walkway ,natural-looking mountains made from yellowstones piled up in layers forming hollows and caverns within ,a tiny arch bridge called "the Leading to Quietude",and a number of delicate and well-proportioned pavilions,namely the Washing-My-Ribbon Pavilion over the water,the Moon Comes

with Breeze Pavilion,the Prunus Mume Pavilion

and the Duck-Shooting Veranda.The

Washing-My-Ribbon Pavilion over the water is

the best viewing place of the garden. The idea

comes from a fishman's song in the works of

Mencius,saying ,"If the water of the Canglang

River is clean ,I wash the ribbon of my hat ;if the

water of the Canglang River is dirty ,I wash my

feet." The same is true to the name of the

garden---"Master-of -Nets".

The northern part of the garden features

studies and studios with beautiful garden courts. Some noteworthy places include the Peony Study. the Watching Pines and Appreciating Paintings Studio,the Meditation Study, the Five Peaks Library and the Cloud Stairway Room. With white -washed walls as their backdrop ,stones bamboo,Prunus mume and Musa basjoo partly concealed by windows and buildings have incredibly come to foorm numerous picturesque scenes.

In sum,there are scenes beyond scenes,and gardens within the garden.Many buildings are perfectly

well-spaced intead of being crammed. A small area of water and stone is made to seem large.Based on illusion,the garden is full of change,capturing the effect of boundlessness,and achieving a unity of part and whole. The Master-of-Nets Garden serves to illustrate how the few surpasses the many and the small exceeds the large.

Today the Master-of-Nets Garden has 22 buildings, 2 doors with richly carved earthen

ornamentation,15 plateaux, 9 parallel couplets,15 brick and stone carvings, 32 stelae, and 8 rare species of old trees, namely Sabina chinensis ,Pinus bungeana,etc. falling into 6 catalogues.

Mountain Villa with Embracing Beauty

Celebrated for its wonderful limestone mountain, the Mountain Villa

with Embracing Beauty,covering only 2,180 sq.m.,enjoys the same

reputation as other famous garden in China. According to the historical

records,the limestone mountain was designed and piled up by the great

Qing master GuYuliang (1764 A.D--1830 A.D). Within an area of less than

500 sq.m.,the man-made mountain seems to be spontaneous an

uncontrived ,possessing high peaks (about 7M),dells,pathways,carverns,stone houses,stone

steps,ravines,precipices,gullies,bridges and cliffs.Like a free hand brushwork in Chinese painting

characterized by vivid expression and bold outline,it ranks first among all existing man-made mountains in Chinese gardens.

A number of buildings are arranged opposite to the mountain. There are two halls to the south of the mountain,facing each other over a stream. The front hall is called "In Company with a Ravine" and the rear hall "the Mountain Villa with Embracing Beauty". On the top of the mountain is a pavilion called "Housing the Mountain with a Half-Filled Pool in Autumn".At its foot are the

Putting-a-Question-to-the-Spring Pavilion and the Make-Up Autumn Galley. To the west of the mountain is a unique side structure with a long walkway on the ground floor and rooms one floor upstairs.There are viewing places high above or down below,far away or quite near. The man-made mountain scenery is changing at every step,and gives great pleasure to the viewer from any


There are 8 buildings,22 brick plateaux stelae,and 4 valuable old

trees,namely pinus bungeana Zucc,Celtis sinensis Pers,etc.,falling into 3


the Lion Forest Garden

Compactly yet harmoniously spaced,the

Lion Forest Garden has a prominent part for

series of man-made mountains with various

buildings around the lake ,and an artificial

waterfall and cliffs at the edge of the lake on

the west. Remains of the 14th century

man-made mountains,covering 1,152

sq.m.and being the largest of all at

Suzhou,can be still seen today.Noted for its

labyrinthine mountains with winding pathways

and caverns,old pines and cypress

trees,awesome peaks and jogged rocks of grotesque

shapes resembling dancing lions with striking and

unusral poses,it possesses with pride the true delights

of mountain and forest scenery in limited space with a

flavor of Zen Buddhism.

The Hall of Peace and Happiness,one of the

principal buildings in the garden,is a master-piece of

typical mandarin ducks'hall at Suzhou. Divided in

halves, the northern half of the hall differs from the

southen half in many particular aspects ,such as



designs and so forth.With painted patterns and beam

carvings and looking splendid in green and gold,the

True Delight Pavilion in the royal style with the "True

Delight "tablet inscribed by the Qing Emperor Qianlong is a main viewing place in the garden and differs from the other plain and elegant gardens of Suzhou.Other buildings include the pointing at Cypress Trees Hall,the Asking Prunus Mume Pavilion and the Stone Boat, etc.

The Lion Forest Garden boasts 22 buildings of varied types, 25tablets and plateaux,71steles inscribed with the famous Calligraphy Collection of the Listening to Rain Tower,23 brick carvings,5 carved wooden screens,and 13 valuable old trees such as gingo biloba L.,pinus bungeana

Zucc,etc.,which fall into 5 catalogues.

the Canglang Pavilion


for the

delights of the

wilderness of

mountain and




Pavilion is the

oldest among

the existing

classical gardens of Suzhou. The

exact location of the Canglang Pavilion can be found in the

Song Dynasty map of Pingjiang (Suzhou,A.D.1229) inscribed

on the stele.The northern Song poet Su Sunqin said in "A

Record of the Canglang Pavilion","...To the east of the

Confucian Temple were earthen hills covered with trees and

grass,and a wide expanse of water,quite different from the

urban scenes... I was reluctant to leave because I fell in love

with this place.So I bought it for 20,000 coins,built a pavilion

on the rock projecting over the water on the north and called

it the Canglang Pavilion."Fan Chenda wrote in "Historical

Records of Wu Jun" under the Song Dynasty,"The Canglang

Pavilion is located to the south of the Confucian

Temple,fronting an area of about 1.6 ac.of water

space...During the reign of Qingli(1044 A.D.) Su Sunqing bought it and built a pavilion by the water,called the Canglang Pavilion...The name of the Canglang has been known to all far and wide since then." On the whole the present garden of the Canglang Pavilion still keeps the style of the Song.It features a range of man-made moutains inside the garden and waterscapes outside.Proceeding past the pure expanse of water over a zigzag bridge of stone and through the entrance,one comes to the garden and catches sight of man-made mountain covered with age-old trees and bamboo,running from east to west. At the foot of the mountains are rocky slops.The Canglang Pavilion in the shape of a square stands at the top of the mountain and has a parallel couplet from the Song poets on the stone pillars to heighten artistic

conception,reading ,"The refreshing breeze and the bright moon are priceless,the nearby water and the distant mountains strike a sentimental note,"Most of the garden buildings,simple and plain,were rebuilt in the Qing Dynasty,carefully arranged around the mountains and connected by a long roofed walkway. A double-corridor built by the canal lies to the northof the garden,unifying waterscapes outside the garden and "mountain scenery" inside in one breath through its latticed windows, one of incredible examples of borrowed scenes in the classical gardens of Suzhou.There're over 100 different latticed windows with impressive designs,possessing extremely high artistic value.

To the south of the mountains is the chief building of the garden,called "the Enlightenment Hall".

Other building include the Smelling Prunus Mume Pavilion,the Realm of Yaohua (Yaohua is said to be a

kind of jade-like,sweet-smelling flower in the Chinese garden

of Eden,which can help prolong the life expectancy of those

who behold it.),the Mountain-in-View Tower,the Elegant

Bamboo House,the Temple of 500 Sages,the Pure

Fragrance House, the Imperial Stele Pavilion,the Pavilion

Fronting Water, the Fish Watching Spot, the Water Pavilion

of Lotus Fragrance,and the Prunus Mume pavilion.

The garden has altogether 20 different building, 22

plateaux and tablets, 23 parallel couplets,153 steles,and 12

such valuable old trees as gingo biloba L.,pterocarya

stenoptera,celtis sinensis pers,camellia japenica L.,santalum

album,chimonanthus praecox,etc., which fall into 10

catalogues,70 kinds of valuable cymbidium spp.,and 18

kinds of bambusoideae.

the Couple Garden Retreat

Surrounded by the canal

from three sides,the

Couple's Garden Retreat

has piers close to the front

and back entraces. The

housing complex,located in

the middle and flanked by

the East and West Garden, consists of four buildings in

succession and is joined with the gardens by muti-storied


The East Garden has a dominant "mountain" rising from a pond .The pavilions,terraces and towers are centered upon the mountain. The Thatched Cottage at the City Corner,a principal structure of the garden,is made up of a group of double-roofed and muli-storied buildings,fronting a very natural and realistic yellowstone mountain,running from east to ewst,piled up by the great master Zhang Nanyang at the end of the Ming Dynasty.To the south of the pond is the Amongst Mountains and Water Pavilion. Made of ormosia wood in the Ming Dynasty ,the circular door frame of the pavilion,about 4 m. across and

3.5 m.high, was carved with an open-work picture of "Three Friends in the Dead of Winter",namely pine,bamboo and prunus mume instinct with life,an art treasure of this sort in the classical gardens of Suzhou.

The West Garden consists of studies,pavilions and garden courts.One enters the garden and gets a glimpse of limestone mountains with caves connected up with each other below and an undulating wall above,which encloses and divides space.To the north of the mountains is the Old House with Woven Curtains,at the rear of which there's a study ,a "L" shaped tower used as a library,decorated with rocks,trees and flowers in front.

The Couple's Garden Retreat has 24 buildings,21 tablets and parallel couplets,10 brick carvings,and

7 valuable old trees such as pinus bungeana Zucc,pinus thunbergii Parl,wisteria sinensis Sweet,etc. the Garden of Cultivation

The pond in the mid dle

of the garden occupies one

fourth of the total area.It

features "mountain scenery"

to the south of the pond and

buildings to the north.The

pond has a roughly

rectangular shape with

coves at the southeast and southwest corners,which are spanned by low,flat and small bridges. On the east and west banks of the pond are roofed and open-sided galleries,pavilions,rocks and trees, serving transitionally as a foil to the northern and southern scenes. At the southeast corner of the pond is the Fry Pavilion that dates from the Ming Dynasty.A moon gate in the wall that borders the pond and the

mountains leads to a small garden court on the southwest. The 6-pillar-wide Water Pavilion of Longevity lies to the north of the pond,overlooking the broad expanse of water,and is the biggest water pavilion at Suzhou.To the north of the water pavilion is the 6-pillar-wide Hall of Erudition and Elegance in the style of the Ming. The Garden of Cultivation,simple,rustic and natural,still keeps much of the layout,design principles and othercharacteristics of the Ming garden.It has 13 buildings,17 tablets and parallel

couplets,8 steles and stone carvings,pinus bungeana Zucc, podocarpus macrophyllus D.Don,and other valuable old trees.

the Retreat and Reflection Garden









en is composed of the housing complex,garden courts and a garden which are aligned on a west-east axis.

The housing complex consists of inner and outer houses.The outer house has a succession of three halls.The inner house to the east is made up of two two-storied buildings in the shape of "U",reached by two stairways on two sides.

The spacious garden court is the transitional area between the housing complex and the garden. There's a boat-like pavilion near the entrance for the reception of guests ,a form of architecture typical in the Venetian region of Tongli.

The garden to the east is the cream of the property.Small and exquisite buildings,built close to the

pond ,are in admirable proportion to water scapes and landscape.The thatched Hall of Retreat and

REflection,a main structure of the garden,was constructed

on the moon-viewing terrace,from which one is able to feast

his eyes on surrounding scenes. Carefully arranged and

well-spaced buildings around the pond include the Lotus

Blooms Pavilion,the Stone Boat,the Hardship Terrace,the

Zizania Rain Brings Coolness Pavilion,and the Celetial

Bridge which is ,in fact ,a rare double-gallery in the south of

the Lower Yangtze.To the southwest of the garden is the

Osmanthus Fragrans Lour Hall in a peaceful and enclosed

mini-garden within the garden.At the northwest corner is the Gathering Beauty Pavilion that overlooks the entire garden.The pavilion,connected with the Lasting Spring and Moon Viewing Tower in the middle part,borrows scenes from the garden and vice versa,an excellent example of garden scenes in the south of the Lower Yangtze.

In short, the Retreat and Reflection garden is full of changing vistas.There're gardens within the

garden,principal and subordinate scenes. Space, including water space,has been ingeniously handled to suggest more space.Endless scenes have been created within limits. It serves as a fine example of how the few surpassing the many.

The Retreat and Reflection Garden possesses 24 buildings,28 tablets and plateaux, 12 steles,and 15 valuable old trees such as magnolia denudata Desr.,celtis sinensis Pers,etc., which fall into 9 catalogues.