Cover image for A paradise lost : the imperial garden Yuanming Yuan
A paradise lost : the imperial garden Yuanming Yuan
Wong, Young-tsu, 1940-
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
Honolulu : University of Hawai'i Press, [2001]

Physical Description:
x, 226 pages : illustrations, maps ; 24 cm

Format :


Call Number
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SB466.C53 W66 2001 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks

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Noted for its magnificent architecture and extraordinary history, the Yuanming Yuan is China's most famous imperial garden. The complex was begun in the early 18th century, and construction continued over the next 150 years. Chinese historians, and many Chinese in general, view the garden as the paramount achievement of Chinese architecture and landscape design. This text provides a comprehensive study of the palatial garden complex and a tour of its architecture and history.

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Choice Review

The Yuanming Yuan took 150 years of "endless construction" to become China's greatest imperial garden. In 1860, European powers burned the gardens in retaliation for the mistreatment of European prisoners by officials of the Chinese penal system. Subsequent onslaughts by fire, weather, and humans reduced the gardens to almost total ruin. In August 1980, the grounds were designated "key relics." In addition to the history of the gardens, Wong (Virginia Polytechnic Institute & State Univ.) offers chapters on the aesthetics of Chinese gardens throughout earlier dynasties, the activities within the walls of the gardens of aristocracy, bureaucracy, and various levels of workers and provides an extensive description of the gardens themselves, with old engravings of the elegant buildings, modern sketches of the walkways, greenery, and living quarters along with maps and diagrams. Wong has made an excellent contribution to the limited corpus of writings in English concerning the gardens. His clear and unpretentious writing style and his scholarly thoroughness make this book a most worthwhile achievement. General readers; upper-division undergraduates through faculty. T. B. Hoffman emeritus, University of South Florida

Table of Contents

List of Illustrationsp. vii
Acknowledgmentsp. ix
Introductionp. 1
Part 1 Architecture
Chapter 1 Provenancep. 9
Chapter 2 Dispositionp. 24
Chapter 3 Expansionp. 51
Part 2 History
Chapter 4 Risep. 73
Chapter 5 Structure and Functionp. 101
Chapter 6 Royal Daily Lifep. 118
Chapter 7 The Sackingp. 133
Chapter 8 Repairs and the Final Blowsp. 161
Epilogue: The Yuanming Yuan Ruins Parkp. 188
Notesp. 195
Glossaryp. 201
Referencesp. 211
Indexp. 221