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l iu y ua n LINGERING GARDEN The Lingering Garden, a dense and intricate garden unmatched by any garden in Suzhou for its variety and intimacy of spaces, is widely regarded as the finest integration of architecture and garden in Suzhou. It also contains the Cloud-Capped Peak, the most acclaimed Tai Lake specimen stone in Suzhou. AN ENTRANCE FULL OF TRICKS The entrance sequence into the Lingering Garden, as Maggie Keswick remarked , is “full of tricks.” The visitor winds to the north through a series of intimately scaled courtyards dense with columns, knee walls, overlapping roofs, thwarted vistas, and the aroma of magnolias or the sight of vivid plum blossoms. The entrance corridor is immediately east of the residential courtyards. One arrives at the southeast corner of the garden in a room with carved windowsthatprovidethefirst ,veiledviewintothelargergarden.Duringthetime that the families lived here, the Lingering Garden (and others in Suzhou) were periodically open to the public. This entrance was made especially for those visitors and remains the primary passage for visitors to the garden. For those with time and interest, it is worth walking this sequence several times in order to comprehend the richness of this small aspect of the garden. 44 the gardens of suzhou The Lingering Garden has four distinct areas. The central area, dating from the Ming Dynasty, is a mountain and water landscape surrounded by halls, pavilions, terraces, and a lively winding corridor. The eastern section is notable for the architecture of the halls and pavilions, especially the Celestial Hall of Five Peaks constructed with rare nanmu wood, and for the collection of towering rock specimens. The western section is a narrow ravinelike woodland garden with hidden corridors among large earthen hills planted with maple trees whose red fall foliage contrasts with the yellow fall foliage of the ginkgo trees across the wall in the central area. The northern area displays a potted penjing, tray scenery, collection. Figure 27. Plan of the Lingering Garden Central Garden 1. Entrance 2. Mountain Villa 3. Twin ginkgo trees 4. Winding corridors and pavilion 5. Rockery 6. Refreshing Breeze Pavilion 7. Winding Creek Tower Eastern Garden 8. Five Peaks Celestial Hall / Nanmu Hall 9. Cloud-Capped Peak (specimen stone) Western Garden 10. Comfortable Whistle Pavilion lingering garden 45 MOUNTAINS AND WATER The heart of the garden is a pond fed by small waterfalls flowing out of the rockeries in the northwest corner—a location that is consistent with feng shui, literally wind-water, preference for mountains to the north and west with waters flowing to the southeast. The relationship between the rockery and pond is especially fine here, with the preferred view of the rockery being from the terrace of the Mountain Villa on the south side of the pond. Look out across the pond and slowly scan the scene from right to left. The vista shifts from a small boat moored in a limpid pool in the southeast to a tall white-walled hall, stone pagodas punctuating the water, a small peninsula with wisteria arbors, a tall rockery framed by towering twin ginkgo trees, and finally a winding corridor that rises from the northFigure 28. The Bright Zither two-story pavilion and the Mountain Villa overlook the south side of the pond. west corner and emerges from behind the rockery. This slowly unrolling sequence is one of the most convincing scenes where the tradition of horizontally scrolling landscape painting is captured in a garden. MAN-MADE MOUNTAIN From the terrace of the Mountain Villa, walk clockwise around the pond along the winding corridor (part of more than seven hundred meters of winding corridors in the garden) that clambers up the western side. From the small pavilion at the high point of the corridor, a long diagonal view across the pond is directed to the southeast corner where a small, hidden boat landing is nestled against the entry hall. Walk down the hill and across the small falling streams and continue up onto the Ming Dynasty 46 the garden of suzhou Figure 29. The visitor winds through a series of small courtyards and corridors to enter the garden. rockery made by Zhou Bingzhou. Wind in and around the rockery to get a sense of its many small landings, overlooks, passages, and concealed stairs. EAST SHORE OF THE CENTRAL POND A superb sequence of corridors, halls, pavilions, and studies stretches along the eastern shore of the pond. Beginning in the north, the Refreshing Breeze Pavilion, a small study hidden behind a...


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