China - Classical Gardens of Suzhou

"Classical Chinese garden design, which seeks to recreate natural landscapes in miniature, is nowhere better illustrated than in the nine gardens in the historic city of Suzhou. They are generally acknowledged to be masterpieces of the genre. Dating from the 11th-19th century, the gardens reflect the profound metaphysical importance of natural beauty in Chinese culture in their meticulous design." 

Source: UNESCO World Heritage

There are 9 listed gardens - 8 gardens are in Suzhou and 1 garden in neighboring Tong Li.

Latest postcard that I received from Suzhou, China on June 11, 2014. Thanks to Xu Wei of Suzhou. It is the Humble Administrator's Garden.

I - Garden of Cultivation - Suzhou
"The Garden of Cultivation was laid out during the Ming dynasty, in the 16th century. A quarter of the total area is occupied by the central pond, which has a mountain landscape to the south and a group of buildings, to the north. The two sides are linked to east and west by roofed open galleries. It is very typical, both in its layout and in the design of its thirteen buildings, of the classical Ming dynasty garden."

Postcard 1
This is a smaller garden and so harder postcard to find. I bought this postcard in Suzhou in November 2011.

II - Couple's Garden Retreat - Suzhou
"The origins of the Couple's Garden Retreat date back to the Qing dynasty, in the early 18th century. The structures consist of four aligned buildings. The East Garden is dominated by a dramatically realistic mountain of yellow stone which rises from a pool flanked by several attractive Ming style buildings. The style of the West Garden is more subdued, its limestone hills pierced by interlinking caves and tunnels."

Postcard 2A
I bought this postcard in Suzhou in November 2011 visit.

Postcard 2B
Couple's Garden Retreat. Thanks to Shi of Suzhou, China.

III - Mountain Villa with Embracing Beauty - Suzhou
"The oldest gardens are probably the Mountain Villa with Embracing Beauty, whose origins go back to the end of the 16th century. Although it covers less than 500 m2 it is intensively detailed, with high peaks rising to 7 m, dells, paths, caves, stone houses, ravines, precipices, ridges and cliff".

Postcard 3A
I bought this postcard in Suzhou, November 2011.

Postcard 3B
Two more postcards. Thanks to Shi of Suzhou, China.

Postcard 3C

IV - Canglang Pavillion - Suzhou
"The Canglang Pavilion was built on the order of the Northern Song poet Su Sunqin in the early 11th century, on the site of an earlier, destroyed garden. During the Yuan and Ming dynasties (1279-1644) it became the Mystical Concealment Temple. Over succeeding centuries it was repeatedly restored, a tradition maintained by the People's Republic of China. It is reached across a zigzag stone bridge, when the mountains, covered with old trees and bamboo, suddenly become visible. The square pavilion stands on top of one of the mountains, inscribed with an appropriate text."

Postcard 4A
Thanks to Shi of Suzhou, China.

Postcard 4B
Two more postcards I bought in Suzhou, November 2011.

Postcard 4C

V - Lingering Garden - Suzhou
"The Lingering Garden dates from the end of the 16th century is occupied by buildings. The central part features mountain and lake scenery, encircled by buildings and visited by means of a narrow, winding path which gives unexpected views of great beauty."

Postcard 5A
I bought two postcards of Lingering Garden in Suzhou, November 2011

Postcard 5B

Postcard 5C
Thanks to Shi of Suzhou, China.

VI - Lion Grove Garden - Suzhou
"The Lion Forest Garden was created by a group of Zen Buddhist disciples of the famous Abbot Tianni in 1342, during the Yuan dynasty, as the Budhi Orthodox Monastery. The garden, which attracted scholars and artists, was detached from the temple in the 17th century. It features a series of man-made mountains with various buildings, disposed around the lake, together with an artificial waterfall on steep cliffs. The 14th-century mountains are still clearly visible. The woodland cover of the craggy mountains is pierced by winding paths and there are many caves and grotesque rocks. There are 22 buildings in the garden, the most impressive of which is the Hall of Peace and Happiness, a masterpiece of the Mandarin Duck style of hall."

Postcard 6A
I bought two postcards of Lion Grove Garden in Suzhou, November 2011.

Postcard 6B

Postcard 6C
Lion Grove Garden, Suzhou. Thanks to Clement of China.

VII - Master of the Nets Garden - Suzhou
"The Garden of the Master of the Nest is entered from the south through a rare form of gateway flanked by enormous carved blocks of stone, which designate the court rank of the owner. Once again the central feature is a pool, encircle by a covered walkway. The layout of buildings and gardens is extremely subtle, so that a small area gives the impression of great size and variety."

Postcard 7A
I bought this night view postcard in Suzhou, November 2011.

Postcard 7B
Postcard bought in China. Master of the Nets Garden or Wangshiyuan 网师园. I have been to Suzhou twice. It was the Venice of the East with the many canals before. Enjoyed the well designed man-made gardens of old China.

VIII - Humble Administrator's Garden - Suzhou
"The Humble Administrator's Garden has been the site of the residence of Suzhou notables since the 2nd century AD. Its central section is a recreation of the scenery of the Lower Yangtze. Rising from the lake are the tree covered east and West Hills, each crowned by a pavilion. The variety of plant species is great."

Postcard 8A
I visited Suzhou for times and visited the Humble Adminstrator's Garden each time including a night visit. In my visit on November, 2011, I bought and mailed this postard from Suzhou.

Postcard 8B
Humble Adminstrator's Garden or Zhuozhengyuan 拙政园 is one the most famous Suzhou's classical gardens.

Postcard 8C

IX - Retreat and Reflection Garden - Tongli
"The Retreat and Reflection Garden is the work of the famous painter Yuan Long, who built it in 1885-87. The group of buildings is linked with the garden proper located to the east by a boat-shaped guesthouse. Once again, the central feature of the garden is the pool, surrounded by a series of elegant buildings, the most striking of which is the double-tiered Celestial Bridge. The Gathering Beauty Pavilion overlooks the entire garden from the north-west corner."

Postcard 9A
I bought this postcard in Suzhou, November 2011.

Postcard 9B
Retreat and Reflection Garden or Tuisiyuan 退思园 is located in Tongli, Jiangsu and not in Suzhou but is inscribed under the Suzhou Classical Gardens.

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