Yu Garden or Yuyuan Garden is a famous classical garden in south China , it was once famed as the "top beauty in southeast China". First built during the Ming Dynasty, 400 years ago, by a Sichuan minister of finance named Pan Yunduan, it has been several times renovated by the government since the Liberation and is now one of the key relic sites in the country under state protection.
Yu Garden is an extensive Chinese garden located beside the City God Temple in the northeast of the Old City of Shanghai, China. It abuts the Yuyuan Tourist Mart and is accessible from the Shanghai Metro's Line 10 Yuyuan Garden Station.
A centerpiece is the Exquisite Jade Rock, a porous 3.3-meter, 5-ton boulder. Rumors about its origin include the story that it was meant for the imperial palace in Beijing, but was salvaged after the boat sank off Shanghai.
HIstory of Yu Garden
Yu Garden was first conceived in 1559 during the Ming Dynasty by Pan Yunduan as a comfort for his father, the minister Pan En, in his old age. Pan Yunduan began the project after failing one of the imperial exams, but his appointment as governor of Sichuan postponed construction for nearly twenty years until 1577. The garden was the largest and most prestigious of its era in Shanghai, but eventually its expense helped ruin the Pans.
The garden was inherited by Zhang Zhaolin, Pan Yunduan's granddaughter's husband, and then passed to different owners. A section was briefly organized by Zhang Shengqu as the "Academy of Purity and Harmony" and the Ling Yuan, today's East Garden, was purchased by a group of local leaders in 1709. A group of merchants renovated the increasingly decrepit grounds in 1760 and in 1780 the West Garden was opened to the general public.
The gardens suffered damage numerous times during the 19th century. During the First Opium War, the British army used the Huxinting Teahouse as a base of operations for several days in 1842. During the Taiping Rebellion, the Small Swords Society ran its headquarters in the Dianchun Hall; by the time Qing troops recovered the garden, the original structures had nearly all been destroyed. They were damaged again by the Japanese in 1942 before being repaired by the Shanghai government from 1956 to 1961. They were opened to the public in 1961 and declared a national monument in 1982.
Layout of Yu Garden
Today, Yu Garden occupies an area of 2 hectares (5 acres), and is divided into six general areas laid out in the Suzhou style:
Sansui Hall includes the Grand Rockery, a 12-meter-high rockery made of huangshi stone, featuring peaks, cliffs, winding caves, and gorges. This scenery was possibly created by Zhang Nanyang during the Ming Dynasty.
Dianchun Hall built in 1820, the first year of the Daoguang Emperor; served as the base of the Small Swords Society from September 1853 to February 1855
Yuhua Hall ("Jade Magnificence Hall") furnished with rosewood pieces from the Ming Dynasty, shares its name with a mountain near Xinye in Zhejiang.
Inner Garden-rockeries, ponds, pavilions, and towers; first laid out in 1709 and more recently recreated in 1956 by combining its east and west gardens.
Each area is separated from the others by "dragon walls" with undulating gray tiled ridges, each terminating in a dragon's head.