By Young-tsu Wong
Famous for its magnificient structure and historical past, the Yuanming Yuan is China's most renowned imperial backyard. the writer brings "the backyard of excellent brightness" to existence as he leads readers on a grand travel of its structure and historical past.
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Additional info for A Paradise Lost: The Imperial Garden Yuanming Yuan
The main structure of Lianxi Lechu (Scholar’s Wonderland). Sketch by Joseph C. Wang and Xingbai Yue. | Architecture Figure 20. Maimaijie (Shopping Street) at Zuoshi Linliu (Sitting Rocks and the Winding Stream). Sketch by Joseph C. Wang and Xingbai Yue. taste have long since been considered the “soul” of a garden and of its owner. Clearly mindful of his responsibility to diligently attend to government a¤airs and the people’s welfare, Yongzheng purposefully created a farm scene inside his beloved imperial garden to show his concern about the people as well as to underline his benevolent rule.
A more recent scholar has called the Yuanming Yuan the “the garden of ten-thousand gardens” (wanyuan zhi yuan) in reference to its ingenious and judicious disposition on a large lake and near the tall West Hills in the neighborhood (Chen Congzhou 1994, 5). Indeed, due to the excellent location, pleasant country homes appeared here as early as the Yuan dynasty in the thirteenth century. By the sixteenth century, natural beauty made this region so attractive that the Marquis Li Wei of the Ming was inspired to construct the wellknown Clear Flowery Garden (Qinghua Yuan), which had claims to be “the leading garden in the region” (jingguo diyiyuan).
27. 28. 29. Xinghua Chunguan Shangxia Tianguang Ciyun Puhu Bitong Shuyuan Tianran Tuhua Wuling Chunse Zuoshi Linliu Hongci Yonghu Beiyuan Shancun Fanghu Shengjing Pinghu Qiuyue Pengdao Yaotai Jiexiu Shanfang Da’gongmen Nanchuanwu Shende Tang Wenyuan Ge Shewei Cheng Da’chuanwu Anlan Yuan Nanping Wanzhong This was the place where the emperor reviewed the annual archery contest of his troops (Yu Mingzhong 1985, 2:1325). The grand Main Audience Hall (Zhengda Guangming Dian), the name of which means open-mindedness and magnanimousness appropriate to a great ruler, stood at a central position inside the Inner Palace Gate.