Humble Administrator’s Garden Details – Suzhou #3

Lotus seed head.

Lotus seed head.

This post is limited to a few photos of the details I found interesting during my exploration of the garden. And at the bottom is some trivia about Suzhou. Unfortunately all we saw of Suzhou was the garden and the bridge over the river (two posts ago.)

Pavement.

Pavement.

One of many ornate screens.

One of many ornate screens.

Bonsai.  There was also a bonsai 'nursery' in another part of the garden, but I did not get any good photos there.

Bonsai. There was also a bonsai ‘nursery’ in another part of the garden, but I did not get any good photos there.

A fellow-traveler who takes Tai Chi informed me that the instrument being played in the boat in the previous post is a Pipa. Perhaps someone knows the names of these instruments?

A concert with traditional instruments was just finishing as we approached this tea house.

A concert with traditional instruments was just finishing as we approached this tea house.

Always a delight to get a photo of a child.

Always a delight to get a photo of a child.

I would like to have one of these for my house. Too bad they are too big to carry in a suitcase.

I would like to have one of these for my house. Too bad they are too big to carry in a suitcase.

Trivia about Suzhou:

* The Suzhou Museum was designed by I.M. Pei, whose family came from Suzhou. Pei lived most of his life in the US and was a very successful architect there. Perhaps his best-known work is the glass pyramid outside the Louvre in Paris.

* Suzhou (pronounced Sue Joe) used to be anglicized to SooChow.

* A lengthy blog post by Yangzi Man about Suzhou with LOTS of pictures will give you some idea of what else you should see if you ever go to Suzhou.

Next severalposts: Shanghai

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Humble Administrator’s Garden – Suzhou #2

The main house and entry to the garden surrounded by a courtyard overlooking the largest part of the pond.

The main house and entry to the garden surrounded by a courtyard overlooking the largest part of the pond.

The largest garden in Suzhou — nearly 52,000 square meters — is the Humble Administrator’s Garden.  It was built in the Ming Dynasty (1368–1644) for a former government worker and poet, Wang Xianchen (王献臣).

Black and White version of the same photo.

Black and White version of the same photo.

Along with bridges, pavilions and islands, the architecture of the buildings retains Ming Dynasty characteristics. The garden gets its name after Wang’s desire to retire from politics and live a humble life.  Note that in China administrators were usually political (and perhaps they still are.)

With water as the main theme, the lake in the center of the garden occupies about 20 percent of the space and is filled with giant lotus plants in summer.

A lady singing traditional songs and playing a stringed instrument.

A lady singing traditional songs and playing a stringed instrument.

Another part of the pond, with koi and water lilies.

Another part of the pond, with koi and water lilies.

Multi-generational families enjoying the garden.

Multi-generational families enjoying the garden.

Beautiful views wherever you looked.

Beautiful views wherever you looked.

Anyone know what this flowering bulb is?  Please leave a comment if you do!

Anyone know what this flowering bulb is? Please leave a comment if you do!

Next post: Details from the garden.

Venice of the East – Suzhou #1

Suzhou is one of the places our tour should have shown us more of. I just looked at the map given to us by our hotel, and can’t believe how little we saw. This was partly due to the questionable logistics of flying us into the far eastern side of Shanghai and then bussing us (and getting us caught in a Friday traffic jam) to the western side of Shanghai where Suzhou is located.

We stopped at one bridge: the Everlasting Bridge (Wannian Qiao) over one fairly boring section of the city moat.  Also part of the site were a gate through a reconstructed part of the city wall (sorry, no photos), and a larger-than-life statue of Wu Zixu.

Everlasting Bridge - going up

Everlasting Bridge – going up

Everlasting Bridge, looking down.

Everlasting Bridge, looking down.

Suzhou is know as the Venice of the East because of its many canals. You can Google ‘Images’ for  ‘Suzhou canals’ to see what we missed and what you should see if you go there.

Suzhou moat looking one way (compass direction impossible to tell with the smog.)

Suzhou moat looking one way (compass direction impossible to tell with the smog.)

Suzhou moat looking in the other direction.   To be honest, I did not notice all the fishers when I took this picture, but I cropped it to show just them because the rest of the view was uninspiring.

Suzhou moat looking in the other direction. To be honest, I did not notice all the fishers when I took this picture, but I cropped it to show just them because the rest of the view was uninspiring.

Across from the fishers. See another tour group in the background?

Across from the fishers. See another tour group in the background?

Dragon boat detail.

Dragon boat detail.

Wu Zixu was the founding designer and urban planner of Suzhou city in 514 B.C.  Historical records suggest that Wu Zixu lived near to where his statue can be found.

Wu Zixu

Wu Zixu

You can find more information about the bridge, the gate and Wu Zixu here.

Next Post: A Chinese Garden in Suzhou