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Suzhou classical garden --- Jiangsu province [Copy link] 中文

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Post time 2008-9-19 14:18:07 |Display all floors
Ming Dynasty – Suzhou   

This is really paradise on Earth. In the classical gardens that were built over 1000 years ago, there's a lot of history. And these gardens are hidden within the city's walls.

Open your eyes to Suzhou, a city in the southeast of Jiangsu Province. Located near Taihu Lake, in the west, the Yangtze River, in the north, and trespassed by the Grand Canal, the history and culture of Suzhou is tied to the water. Suzhou’s crisscrossing waterways gave it the name "the Venice of the East" since ancient times.


Today’s Suzhou is a city that preserves its awe-inspiring scenery, running streams, small bridges, waterside houses, elegant kunqu opera, and the most characteristic of Suzhou, the classical gardens, which are listed in the UNESCO World Heritage List. In fact, the entire city looks like one big garden in itself.

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crisscrossing waterways.
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The night sight site of today Suzhou.
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It was during the Ming Dynasty that these classical gardens reached their peak.

The Ming Dynasty, from 1368-1644, was a period of restoration and reorganization after Mongol rule, returning China to Chinese rule. This period is known for its strong and complex central government. Likewise, the country also witnessed a boom in wealth and culture, notably in areas like Suzhou.

Chinese classical gardens have had an international influence. The Japanese modified the concepts and developed a garden also based on natural composition. In the 17th century, Europeans, likewise, tried to build these gardens, even though they had little understanding of the complex aesthetics upon which they were based.

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The humble administrator’s garden, magnificent. But, who owns this place?

These gardens come in three types: official, monastic, and private. Like the Humble Administrator’s Garden, the owners were often retired government officials who wanted to get away from the bureaucratic, materialistic, and often corrupt lifestyle. This garden was built in the Ming Dynasty by an imperial inspector, who was tired of official life. He got the name for the garden from an essay called "To cultivate my garden and sell my vegetable crop is the policy of humble man."
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The names of the gardens have strong cultural flavor.

Retired officials wanted simple lives, like the official who dreamed of a trouble-free, fisherman’s lifestyle, unrestrained by the water. Thus, Fisherman's Garden was his paradise after retiring. The gardens became microcosms of a world made up only of the most basic elements of water, stones, and plants.

The owners of the gardens were unsatisfied with their positions in society, so they built their own metaphysical world in their backyards. For instance, they planted lotus in their gardens above the mud. The mud symbolized the polluted society, while they, like the flower, managed to keep themselves clean, blossoming purely above the dirt as “a true person of virtue among flowers.”

The names of the halls, the calligraphy, the carvings, and the decorations have deep literary significance.
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The serene simple environment draws us back to the Ming Dynasty, when the owner stood under this “Listening to the Rain”Pavilion on a misty day, as he sipped his tea and felt the world before his eyes call out his own emotions.

Besides individuals, wealthy couples also built gardens. Couple’s Retreat’s garden, Ou Yuan’s name, means lotus root garden, and a couple’s love is compared to the lotus root’s interconnecting threads and inseparability.

Ou yuan zhu jia ou. What that means is that inside the couple’s garden there lives a very happy couple. And there are many signs in the garden that tell you that the couple is very happy. Little things here and there. See if you can find them.
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