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China Classical Garden: where to see the elegant life of ancient people

Since Yin and Zhou periods, China garden has more than 3000 years of history and surely is one of the earliest countries as the cradle of world’s garden art. As a quite important part in world’s garden history, Chinese garden is quite unique and famous for its high-level artistic value and distinctive style of Chinese traditional architectural theory. In the world, the gardens can be divided into three kinds: European Gardens, West Asia Gardens and Chinese Gardens. Among them, Chinese garden is quite different. It has a long history and also basically follows the artistic principle of harmony between human and nature, which in specific is featured of the natural beauty and design under the exquisite arrangement. Moreover, Chinese garden is not only an art of architecture but the place to show Chinese literature, calligraphy, painting, sculpture and craftwork. So many Chinese garden experts say that Chinese garden is a comprehensive art, almost including all the aspects of traditional culture of China.

China has a large territory, and different places have different climate, geography and products. Hence, the gardens in different places are highlighted with the local characteristics. The southern China including Jiangnan region, the coastal area of Guangdong province as well as some regions of Sichuan province and Chongqing is the place to show the characteristics of Jiangnnan. And the garden in southern China is thoroughly named Gardens of Jiangnan, Gardens of Lingnan and Gardens of Sichuan, while the gardens in Beijing, Shandong, Shanxi and Shaanxi and other northern regions are named Gardens of North.
Summer Palace in Beijing Suzhou garden

The Summer Palace is the representative of Northern China Gardens featuring grandness and solemnity

The Suzhou Garden is the representative of Jiangnan Classical Gardens featuring elegance and poetic imagery

Gardens of Jiangnan generally is the extension of residence, and the foundation is relatively small, so it is essential to create more sights in a limited space. And then some smart measures were used and these ways also become the classic techniques in traditional architectural art like Xiao Zhong Jian Da(Largeness from Smallness), Yi Yi Dang Shi(Considering One as Ten) and others. These techniques largely improve the aesthetics and value of arts of these architectures. And the most famous representative is Wangshiyuan Garden of Suzhou. It is an exhibition of the traditional technique of borrowing sights(借景). As the elite culture show, Suzhou classic garden is the top representative of Gardens in Jiangnan region and listed into the UNESCO World Heritage Site List.

Gardens of Lingnan. Lingnan generally means today’s Guangdong province, and gardens of Lingnan chiefly are located in Pearl River Delta. Currently the famous gardens of Lingnan include Qinghui Garden in Shunde(顺德清辉园), Ke Garden of Dongguan(东莞可园), Yuying Shanfang in Fanyu(番禺余荫山房) and Liang Garden in Foshan(佛山梁园). Four of them are widely known as Four Top Famous Gardens in Lingnan. The climate in Lingnan is featured of high temperature, sufficiency of rainfall, diversities of plants and change of weather. The pool in gardens of Lingnan is also quite regular, and the channel to the rooms or house usually is the long corridors or corridor-style architectural complex. These corridors are usually for avoiding the sun. Also, the buildings in gardens are also concentrative, and always the gardens or yards are connected with each other closely to vacate more room for planting trees and flowers. Under the influence of the Lingnan Painting School, the whole style of gardens is apt to the exquisite, and the whole architectural color is quite fresh and eye-catching, and the carvings are also impressive and diverse.

Gardens of Sichuan. Sichuan located in the southwest China is also famous for its culture and history. The local garden art is also time-honored and featured of its own characteristics. Gardens of Sichuan recline to its cultural connotation. Some famous gardens usually connect to the anecdotes or famous figures in the history. The representatives are Dufu Caotang, Memorial of Lord Wu and Sansu Memorial Hall of Meishan and Memorial Hall of Li Bai in Jiangyou. These garden-style buildings are all themed with the historical figures. Furthermore, the gardens of Sichuan are also featured with the original and simple appearance, and the local designers preferred to put the countryside views into garden and to express a special uniqueness of Sichuan Gardens. Some details of the gardens also feature local residences.

Gardens of Northern China. Beijing is the center of Chinese northern gardens, especially the imperial gardens, which covers the majority of gardens in northern China. These royal gardens were also constructed with the national finance. So the scale, feature and levels are all superior to other gardens in other regions. They could be the quintessence of Chinese classical gardens like Summer Palace, Prince Gong’s Mansion and Summer Resort in Chengde. Additionally, there are also some time-honored gardens preserved in northern China like the mansion garden of Jiangzhou, which anciently called Jiang Shou Ju Yuan Chi was constructed in 596. It is the oldest garden in China, but today just the relics remain. Songyang Academy in Dengfeng, Henan province and Qufu Confucius Mansion are also the outstanding representatives of northern gardens.
Keyuan Garden Dufu Caotang

 Keyuan Garden in Dongguan, Guangdong province, is the representative of Lingnan Gardens

Dufu Caotang is the representative of Sichuan Gardens in memory of Du Fu, one of the greatest poets of Tang Dynasty


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