china edition
 

 

Summer Palace - Garden of Harmonious Interests

The Garden of Harmonious Interests was built under the order of Emperor Qianlong and modeled after the Jichang Garden (Garden of Ease of Mind) at the foot of Mount Huishan, Jiangsu Province. It was renamed by his son Emperor Jiaqing in 1811. The existing Garden was rebuilt by Emperor Guangxu. Empress Dowager Cixi used to go fishing here. The Garden features 10 waterfront platforms, pavilions and halls as well as hundreds of galleries.

Garden of Harmonious InterestsWith all of its structures facing the lake and pools, the Garden of Harmonious Interest is basically a garden of waterscape. Spanning the vast expanse of the lake and pools are 5 bridges, each quite different from the others.

The most famous of them is the bridge known as "Knowing-the-Fishing-Bridge". It is said that more than 2,500 years ago during the Warring States Period, 2 philosophers named Zhuang Zi and Hui Zi had an interesting argument by the side of a pond.

Zhuang said, "Fish swim to and fro in the water. What happy fish!"Hui asked, "You are not a fish. How do you know they are happy?"Zhuang replied, "You are not me. How do you know I don't know?" Hui sighed, "I am not you. therefore, I don't know you. And you are not a fish, so how do you know that fish are happy?"

Zhuang said, "You ask me how I know fish are happy. So long as you know that I understand that fish are happy, why do you keep asking me the same question?"

Although the Garden of Harmonious Interest was designed after Jichang Garden, it not only absorbed the original designs, but exceeded it.