china edition
 

 

Suzhou - Wangshi Garden

Jiangsu - Lianyungang - Nanjing - Suzhou - Wuxi - Yangzhou - Zhenjiang

The Wangshi Garden (Fisherman Garden) is the smallest of the Suzhou residential gardens, yet it is the most impressive because of its use of space which creates the illusion of an area that is much greater than its actual size. Even more than the architectural achievement is the mood of tranquility and harmony that this humble garden embodies.

This exquisite garden was first designed during the Song dynasty as part of a residence that was used until the Taiping Rebellion in the 1860's. It was later restored and became the residence of a government official from whom the garden gets its name. It is said that in a moment of frustration with bureaucracy he declared that he would rather be a fisherman than a bureaucrat.

Wangshi GardenThe garden is divided into 3 sections: a residential section, the central main garden and an inner garden. The main garden has a large pond that is surrounded by pathways and a variety of buildings such as the Ribbon Washing Pavillion, and the Pavillion for the advent of the Moon and Wind. There are many more buildings that are situated so that there is never a sense of crowding, but always of spaciousness. As is common in Suzhou gardens, the pond has a small pavilion in it.

The inner garden has the distinction of being used as the model for the Ming Hall Garden at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City and also completely miniaturized for an exhibit in the Pompidou Center in Paris in 1982. This garden is reputed to be the most well-preserved garden in Suzhou and should not be missed. It is small in size, but is like a beautifully cut diamond whose beauty is of never ending fascination and pleasure.