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Notes on the Geography of China: Tourist Suzhou: Photo 19

world pictures China: Tourist Suzhou

The garden was destroyed during the Taiping Rebellion and rebuilt in 1927.  (It may well have been rebuilt after that, too: the Cultural Revolution destroyed most of Suzhou's gardens.) Don't imagine, in other words, that it looks now as it looked centuries ago.  Don't waste your time looking for flowers or lawns, either--they're absent from Chinese gardens, which it why it's been aptly said that the Chinese build gardens, instead of planting them. 

The entrance is rarely through a rectangular gate.  Squares symbolize the earth, after all, and a garden is more appropriately entered through a form like the circle, symbolizing heaven.  Besides, the "moon" doors encourage single-file entrance, emphasizing the act of each visitor entering the garden. 

(These points, and more, are made by Maggie Keswick in The Chinese Garden: History, Art and Architecture, 2003.)

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