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Master-of-Nets Garden, Suzhou

#6 of 34 in Parks in Suzhou
World heritage site · Garden · Nature / Park
The Master of the Nets Garden in Suzhou is among the finest gardens in China. It is located at Gusu District (formerly Canglang District), Dai Cheng Qiao Road, No. 11 Kuo Jia Tou Xiang (沧浪区带城桥路阔家头巷11号). It is recognized with other classical Suzhou gardens as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The garden demonstrates Chinese garden designers' adept skills for synthesizing art, nature, and architecture to create unique metaphysical masterpieces. The Master of the Nets is particularly regarded among garden connoisseurs for its mastering the techniques of relative dimension, contrast, foil, sequence and depth, and borrowed scenery.
The Master of the Nets garden, then called Ten Thousand Volume Hall, was first constructed in 1140 by Shi Zhengzhi the Deputy Civil Service Minister of the Southern Song Dynasty government. Shi Zhengzhi was inspired by the simple and solitary life of a Chinese fisherman depicted in philosophical writings. After his death the garden passed through numerous ownership and subsequently fell into disarray until around 1785 when it was restored by Song Zongyuan, a retired government official of the Qing Dynasty. He drastically redesigned the garden and added multiple buildings, but retained the spirit of the site. He often referred to himself as a fisherman and renamed it the Master of the Nets Garden, as an allusion to the simple life of a fisherman.
Ownership passed to Qu Yuancun, a scholar well-versed in the classics and literature, in 1795. He added and remodelled buildings, planted trees, and arranged stones. The garden acquired the nickname of Qu's Garden during this period as well as its first acclaim by critics. Ownership passed to Li Hongyi, an imperial official and master calligrapher in 1868. About half of the steles in the garden are inscribed by him. Ownership passed to He Chang in 1940, who restored both the garden and returned the name back to Master of Nets Garden. He stipulated in his will the garden should be donated to the government. In 1958 his daughter He Zehui gave the garden to the Suzhou government.
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  • Much smaller than the Humble Administrator Garden but beautiful indeed. This was someones home who appreciated having garden areas outside each window and along the footpaths of his home. There is a.....  more »
  • Architecturally and gardens set up in fung shue style. Beautiful and easy walking and strolling. Homes. Garden. Interior and Exterior design and function. Water gardens, trees, rocks and...  more »
  • My 4 year old daughter went crazy when she went through the 假山 with so many 'mazes tunnels and bridges, it was awesome and you never know where you will end up surfacing. The public toilets were surprisingly good as well, with parents room and even a nursery room. The fish pond was also great with many huge fishes. My childhood favourite has now become my daughter's favourite Chinese garden as well.
  • Worst employees I have ever encountered in a Suzhou garden. They may as well drown the whole lot and get dementors to work at this place. Everyone I encountered here in uniform sucks the soul out of you. This may not apply if you are not Chinese
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