14 December 2010

Suzhou - Huan Xiu Shan Zhuang 蘇州 - 環秀山莊

Can I be more impressed by ancient wisdom and mastery?
Huan Xiu Shan Zhuang ("Mountain Villa with Embracing Beauty") is a tiny garden.  In fact it is a part garden remained after partially demolished.  It is located inside the Embroidery Museum, and when I was lost on my way there, no locals (including taxi driver) could help me with direction because they have never heard of it.  But I am speechless.
Wikipedia has a good summary of a description, probably the best I would be able to phrase it to someone who has never been:
The 2,180 m2 garden is composed along a linear axis with three main elements: a grotto called Autumn Hill, and Flying Snow Pool, fed by a waterfall called Flying Snow Spring, and a main hall. The rock work in this garden displays every technique and effect used in Chinese gardens. In addition, it is a recreation of the five important mountains of China, and shows a mastery of creating a sense of vast space in a small area.
The rockery within the garden is the work of Ge Yuliang (戈裕良), some nicknamed "Master of Rockery" in China.  Although the Garden itself could be dated back to Jin Dynasty (around 300CE), it was  Ge's involvement with the rockery in 1807CE set the garden's reputation.  The garden was inscribed on UNESCO World Heritage List in 1997.

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