Why is Lion Grove Garden special?
As one of the four most famous and representative gardens of ancient classical style in Suzhou City, the Lion Grove Garden is famous for the large and labyrinthine grotto of rock at the garden’s center. The name of “Lion Gove” derives from the shape of these rocks resembling lions.
Lion Grove Garden Highlight
Built in 1342 CE during the Yuan Dynasty by a Zen Buddhist monk, Wen Tianru in memory of his teacher Abbot Zhongfeng, this garden has changed hands and renamed a number of times.
The Rockery Kingdom
Covering an area of roughly 1000 sq m, Lion Grove Garden is famous for its unique Tai Hu stone formations, or rockeries.
These odd rocks – some boulder-sized – have all been collected from the bottom of Lake Tai, then stacked atop one another to create a maze of nooks, crannies, caverns and peaks (not to forget lion shapes) which, from a distance, give the illusion of mountains in miniaturized format.
Specially shaped Tai Hu rocks are given prominent placing, such as those that resemble lions. It is the rockeries that define this garden, and therefore it is no wonder that it is also called the The Rockery Kingdom.
Zhenqu Ting (True Delight Pavilion)
Zhenqu Ting (True Delight Pavilion) is inarguably the garden's most magnificent due to its royal design with an inscription authored by Emperor Qianlong himself of the Qing Dynasty, who visited the garden several times.
Lixue Tang (Syanding-in-Snow Hall)
Lixue Tang (Standing-in-Snow Hall) gets its name from a story about a zealous Zen Buddhist devotee who stood out in the snow all night in reverence to his master.
Mei Ting (Greeting the Plum Blossoms Pavilion)
Wen Mei Ting (Greeting the Plum Blossoms Pavilion) was a venue where painters and poets gathered. In addition to the plum trees that surround the pavilion, images of plum blossoms are carved into the pavilion's furniture, while other plum blossom representations are painted onto various of the pavilion's utensils.
Yifeng Zhibo Xuan (Bowing-to-Peaks-and-Pointing-to-the-Cypress Veranda)
Yifeng Zhibo Xuan (Bowing-to-Peaks-and-Pointing-to-the-Cypress Veranda) is a veranda, or salon, used by one of the garden's former owners to entertain friends, relatives, and more formal guests.
"Zhibo" (Pointing-to-the-Cypress) refers to a line from a poem by Gao Qi of the Ming Dynasty, “Instead of greeting his guest, (the host) smiles and points at a cypress before the hall”. "Yifeng" refers to a line from a poem by Zhu Xi, "Bowing to Lushan, a peak of unique charm."