31 January 2011

Suzhou - Zhuo Zheng Yuan (Humble Administrator's Garden) 蘇州 - 拙政園

One could call  Zhuo Zheng Yuan - Humble Administrator's Garden, "representative" of the Jiang Su style gardens in China.  It is generally referred to as one of the four great Chinese Gardens.

The work on Humble Administrator's Garden started in 1510, by a retired Imperial Envoy and poet of the Ming Dynasty, Wang Xiancheng.  Wang worked together with the renowned artist, Wen Zhengming 文徵明, reflecting upon the hermit lifestyle which Wang longed to lead, much in the same manner as Tao Yuanming 陶淵明.

Humble Administrator's Garden carries a theme of Spring, Summer, Autumn, Winter, and has pavilions and scenic spots arranged around the 4 seasons.  Physically the garden is divided into the East, Middle and West Gardens - all together the garden is about 13.4 hectares.  Humble Administrator's Garden was inscribed on UNESCO World Heritage List in 1997.

Humble Administrator's Garden has such fame (together with the famous novel written in 1759, Dream of the Red Chamber 紅樓夢 by Cao Zueqin 曹雪芹, making reference to the garden as its backdrop), I had high expectations.  The gardens were beautiful, and rich with techniques of garden making, but we did not find much clues regarding architecture and its interrelation with nature; more so because of the garden's vast dimension, "architecture" and "garden" tend to be quite stand-off-ish from each other.

entry gate of Humble Administrator's Garden

this is my favourite place in the garden. The way the corridor touches the water is so delicate and beautiful, not only pleasant to look at, but interesting to walk upon

the corridor then climbs up to reach the pavilion gently, wraps itself around as if supported by the Taihu rocks...

More readings on Humble Administrator's Garden:

TAO - Terebess Asia Online

Wangjianshuo's blog


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