<This post contains 9 photos>
Some readers asked why I didn’t post on Chinese Gardens but posted quite a few on Japanese Gardens.
The truth is I like Chinese Gardens but I have lost most photos on the beautiful gardens, especially those in Suzhou and Hangzhou in China.
I don’t think I am able to give you a better explanation about Chinese gardens, the text in italics below are all lifted from Wikipedia, except that I have extracted the more salient parts. So, please enjoy.
The Chinese garden is a landscape garden style which has evolved over three thousand years. It includes both the vast gardens of the Chinese emperors and members of the Imperial Family, built for pleasure and to impress, and the more intimate gardens created by scholars, poets, former government officials, soldiers and merchants, made for reflection and escape from the outside world. They create an idealized miniature landscape, which is meant to express the harmony that should exist between man and nature.
A typical Chinese garden is enclosed by walls and includes one or more ponds, rock works, trees and flowers, and an assortment of halls and pavilions within the garden, connected by winding paths and zig-zag galleries. By moving from structure to structure, visitors can view a series of carefully composed scenes, unrolling like a scroll of landscape paintings.
The artificial mountain (jiashan) or rock garden is an integral element of Chinese classical gardens. The mountain peak was a symbol of virtue, stability and endurance in the philosophy, of Confucius and in the I Ching. A mountain peak on an island was also a central part of the legend of the Isles of the Immortals, and thus became a central element in many classical gardens.
The first rock garden appeared in Chinese garden history in Tu Yuan (literally the Rabbit Garden), built during the Western Han Dynasty period (206 BCE – 9 CE). During the Tang Dynasty, the rock was elevated to the status of an art object, judged by its form (xing), substance (zhi), color (se), and texture (wen), as well as by its softness, transparency, and other factors. The poet Bo Juvi (772-846) wrote a catalog of the famous rocks of Lake Taihu, called Taihu Shiji. These rocks, of limestone sculpted by erosion, became the most highly prized for gardens.
A pond or lake is the central element of a Chinese garden. The main buildings are usually placed beside it, and pavilions surround the lake to see it from different points of view. The garden usually has a pond for lotus flowers, with special pavilion for viewing them. There are usually goldfish in the pond, with pavilions over the water for viewing them.
The lake or pond has an important symbolic role in the garden. In the Book of Transformations (I Ching) water represents lightness and communication, and carried the food of life on its journey through the valleys and plains. It also is the complement to the mountain, the other central element of the garden, and represents dreams and the infinity of spaces. The shape of the garden pond often hides the edges of the pond from viewers on the other side, giving the illusion that the pond goes on to infinity. The softness of the water contrasts with the solidity of the rocks. The water reflects the sky, and therefore is constantly changing, but even a gentle wind can soften or erase the reflections.