Master of the Nets Garden

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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. It is recognized with other classical Suzhou gardens as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

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Master of the Nets Garden
Master of the Nets Garden

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.

Master of the Nets Garden
Master of the Nets Garden

The 5,400 m² garden is divided into east and west sections. The eastern part consists of residential quarters, while the gardens are located in the western part. Eastern section is the residential area it is a linear sequence of four halls one tower and three courtyards. The western garden is an ensemble of buildings around the 334 m2 Rosy Cloud Pool. Plants and rocks are used to create views which represent several seasons. It also includes three side courts to the east and south. The two dominant elements of the composition are the Barrier of Cloud grotto, a cypress tree dating from the Ming Dynasty, and pine several centuries old. The areas to the south of the Rosy Cloud Pool were used for social activities and the areas to the north were used for intellectual activities. The buildings are laid out in a style called close to the water which is used to give the Rosy Clouds Pool the illusion of great size. Small buildings are set on rocks or piers directly over the water surface while large buildings are separated from the pool by yards planted with trees to obscure their size.

Master of the Nets Garden
Master of the Nets Garden

During the late 18th century it was recognized for its herbaceous peonies. In his Notes on the Master of Nets Garden, Qian Daxin stated, "A good integration of the delights of the village and town." Modern critic Chen Congzhou feels that the Master of the Nets Garden is the best representation of all classical Chinese garden art, as stated in Famous Classical Gardens of China.

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