Suzhou is China's well-known "city of gardens", which tops all
others in both the number and the artistry of gardens. Dating
from Pi Jiang Garden of the Eastern Jing Dynasty,Suzhou's art of gardening has
undergone a history of 1, 500 years. There were once over
200 gardens in the city,and 69 of them are still in good
preservation today. The concept of Suzhou classical
gardens has gone beyond the city limits,since it generally
refers to all those private gardens built in the regions south
of the Yangtze.
The Suzhou garden originated from the desire to
retire from the strife of officialdom and to shun from
worldly affairs. It seeks the return to Nature and the cultivation of
temperament. In Taoist philosophy and the refinement of culture
underlies the theme of the garden. Hills and waters,flowers and
trees,pavilion, terraces,towers and halls constitute the basic
garden elements,while the prominent tone is expressed in the dark
colour of roof tiles,the grey of bricks,and chestnut brown of
Suzhou garden is the Nature in nutshell ,which enables one
to "feel the charm of mountains,forest and
springs without going out of the noisy surroundings of the town".
Its human interest also lies in that the architect, philosopher, poet,
painter, and common folk can all find in it the idea,the flavour,the
lines and the rhythm. The unfolding of the garden vistas is the
verisimilitude of a landscape scroll. When enjoying tea,
poem,flower arrangement or playing musical instrument in the
garden,one gains the most natural inspiration. To those tourists
desiring to understand China, Suzhou garden is the best museum.
Local chronicles reveal that during its heyday, Suzhou city held nearly 200 gardens, topping the whole nation. Suzhou gardens have their own characteristics in layout, structure and style.The Four Classical Gardens of Suzhou, i.e.The Surging Waves Pavilion, The Lion Grove Garden, The Humble Administrator's Garden and The Lingering Garden represent the different styles of Song, Yuan, Ming and Qing Dynasties.