Book Express
Published: Jan 26, 2022 07:26 PM
Mountain Resort in Chengde, North China's Hebei Province

In the early Qing Dynasty (1644-1911), Emperor Kangxi built a temporary dwelling palace - the Mountain Resort in Chengde, Hebei Province, also called the detached palace in Chengde. It was not only a garden for passing the summer in leisure, but also a political center beyond the Great Wall.

The planning and design of the Mountain Resort highlight the broadmindedness of the feudal ruler "having a miniature world in his mind." Apart from the palace area, the main garden in the Mountain Resort can be divided into three scenic areas: the lake scenic area, the plain scenic area, and the mountain scenic area, combining northern and southern landscapes. 

The lake scenic area has a strong flavor of the water rich region south of the Yangtze River, the plain scenic area has the scenery of prairies beyond the Great Wall, and the mountain scenic area symbolizes mountains in the north. 

The Mountain Resort also transplanted many scenic spots in gardens south of the Yangtze River. For example, the "Wen Garden and Lion Forest" is an imitation of the Lion Forest in Suzhou, Jiangsu Province, and the "Wenjin Pavilion" is modeled on the Tianyi Pavilion in Ningbo, Zhejiang Province. 

These are artistically recreated in combination with characteristics of the north to integrate poetic folk art into the imperial garden and pursue similarity in spirit instead of sticking to similarity in form. Emperor Qianlong said, "We should in part imitate their meanings, follow their natural trends and keep our advantages."

About the book 

Chinese Architecture Written by Cai Yanxin Published by China Intercontinental Press, Beijing, 2018