The Mountain Villa with Embracing Beauty
(Huanxiu Shanzhuang)
Szépvidéki hegyi villa

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The Mountain Villa with Embracing Beauty
Source: Suzhou Gardens, China Architecture & Building Press

The name of this garden during the ownership of King Qian of Guangling, in the period of the Five Dynasties, was Jingu garden . During the late Daoguang period of the Qing dynasty, the garden belonged to Mr Wang, and was called the Yi Garden. The garden's area is not large - 0.1 hectare. The entire garden is based on mountains, with ponds added,and fully embodies a Suzhou garden's splendour of piling rocks and dividing waters. It has a small area, and contains the aesthetic artistic conception of Chinese traditional mountain and water paintings and poetry. The structural characteristics of the artistic conception of a classical Chinese garden are thus: In reality there is emptiness, and emptiness derives from reality. As one pavilion and one garden can create a limitless space by use of a special environment, thus giving a rich experience, the artistic handling of a garden's mountains and waters condences the splendour of natural mountains and waters, giving the feeling of vastness, endlessness and magnificence. The rockery of the Mountain Villa with Embracing Beauty exempliefies this succesfully. Even though this rockery only occupies 0.033 hectare, with a height of less than 7 metres, it embodies the feeling of multiple mountains, expressing mountain-like sceneries of rolling hills and steep cliffs, precipices, twisting ravines, deep valleys, etc. This rockery is a miniature of high mountain ridges, famous rivers and great mountains.

The Mountain Villa with Embracing Beauty

Celebrated for its wonderful limestone mountain, the Mountain Villa with Embracing Beauty, covering only 2,180 sq.m., enjoys the same reputation as other famous garden in China. According to the historical records, the limestone mountain was designed and piled up by the great Qing master Gu Yuliang (1764 A.D--1830 A.D). Within an area of less than 500 sq.m., the man-made mountain seems to be spontaneous an uncontrived, possessing high peaks (about 7M), dells, pathways, carverns, stone houses, stone steps, ravines, precipices, gullies, bridges and cliffs. Like a free hand brushwork in Chinese painting characterized by vivid expression and bold outline, it ranks first among all existing man-made mountains in Chinese gardens.

A number of buildings are arranged opposite to the mountain. There are two halls to the south of the mountain, facing each other over a stream. The front hall is called "In Company with a Ravine" and the rear hall "the Mountain Villa with Embracing Beauty". On the top of the mountain is a pavilion called "Housing the Mountain with a Half-Filled Pool in Autumn". At its foot are the Putting-a-Question-to-the-Spring Pavilion and the Make-Up Autumn Galley. To the west of the mountain is a unique side structure with a long walkway on the ground floor and rooms one floor upstairs. There are viewing places high above or down below, far away or quite near. The man-made mountain scenery is changing at every step,and gives great pleasure to the viewer from any direction.

There are 8 buildings, 22 brick plateaux stelae, and 4 valuable old trees, namely pinus bungeana Zucc, Celtis sinensis Pers, etc.