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Master of the Nets Garden

Lobby in the greenMaster of the Nets Garden is considered as a good example among small-sized gardens in Suzhou. It was a private garden built by Shi Zhengzhi, a vice minister in the Southern Song Dynasty, when he settled down in Suzhou after retirement.

Master of the Nets Garden features a compact but changing layout, with one courtyard in another. Even more than the architectural achievement is the mood of tranquility and harmony that this humble garden embodies.

Master of the Nets Garden is usually divided into two parts: the eastern house and the western garden. The eastern residential area consists of a linear sequende of four halls, one tower and three courtyards. These halls are the entrance hall, the sedan-chair hall, the major hall(also named the Hall of Ten Thousand Volumes), a two-story Hall of Captured Grace. In the garden, plants and rocks are used to creat views which represent the seasons. It also has three side courts to the east and south. Two dominant elements of the composition are the Barrier of Cloud grotto, a cypress tree dating Spring in the gardenfrom the Ming Dynasty, and pine several centuries old. Besides, the garden has a huge pond that is surrounded by pathways and various buildings including the Ribbon Washing Pavilion, and the Pavillion for the advent of the Moon and Wind. The pond has a inside small pavilion that is accessible by a bridge less than one foot wide. 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 Tour

In a word, there are scenes beyond scenes and gardens within garden. Many buildings are perfectly well-spaced instead of being crammed. The garden is full of change, capturing the effect of boundlessness, and achieving a unity of part and whole. The Master of the Nets Garden serves to illustrate how the few surpasses the many and the small exceeds the large.