“Chinese garden can be considered as the mother of all gardens around the world…” commented by the committee members of UNESCO. As recorded by Shenfu (沈复), a resident of Suzhou during the Qianlong period, in volume two of his book Foushenliuji (浮生六記), showing the small in the large, the large in the small, real in the unreal and unreal in the real is a signature element of Chinese gardens. He believed that the construction of gardens is essentially the art of making good use of spaces. Employing this technique, gardens even of small areas can be of great beauty.
In this report, I will focus on the principle of showing the small in the large in Keyuan. KeYuan in Dong Guan is one of the four “great gardens” of the Guangdong Province. It was built during the Qing dynasty by Zhang JingXiu (張敬修). The construction started in 1850 and was completed in 1858. Although Keyuan is not located in Suzhou, it has most of the typical features of Chinese ...view middle of the document...
The main scenery and the highlight of the entire garden, which is the lake, is not in sight as soon as one enters the garden. Instead it is hidden and an element of surprise is added. The site of Keyuan is triangular in nature and the area itself is not enough for building a lake. So the constructor borrowed the view of Kehu, the lake nearby which originally belonged to the city. This use of borrowing view breaks the limits of walls (突破牆的局限). Through fiddling around with one’s perception, Keyuan brings Kehu in as a part of its own scenery and from a small area one can enter into a big area (從小空間進入大空間). This borrowing view of a lake nearby is not unlike that of Canlangting (滄浪亭), a famous garden in Suzhou.
The organization or layout of Keyuan utilizes the first technique of adding depth pointed out by Professor Sun to achieve showing small in large. Chen CongZhou (陳從周) professor says in his book shuoyan (說言), that the more separations there are, the bigger and more change one will feel and by using the limited area available, a kind of unlimited space can be produced (園林的空間越分隔, 感到越大, 越有變化, 以有限的面積, 造無限的空間...). Corresponding to that, Keyuan can be separated into various sections. The first section is the area close to the entrance. When one enters the main gate, there is an entrance gate building followed by a hexagonal or octagonal pavilion called the bohongxiaoshu (擘红小榭) where one can sit and enjoy the scenery of lychee tress, a typical feature of Southern China, and the fishpond, which extends toward the inner courtyard. The separation of the garden adds different layers to the scenery. Also, the veranda called huanbilang (環碧廊) winds around the entire garden. One could follow the path of the veranda when it rains and still be able to see the different sceneries (處處有景, 景景不同; 移步換景). Indeed, as I was walking around Keyuan every extra step I took brought me to a completely different place, but in fact I was just walking around a certain area.
Furthermore, the specific details such as the fake mountain (假山) next to the Zishu terrace (滋樹臺) and the holes on walls show the small in large. They lead one to make associations and feel as if one is in fact in the woods.