China: Yunnan: #5 The Zhu Garden and Mansion, Jianshui (Part a)

After dropping off our ‘stuff’ in the hotel, we ventured back out onto the streets of Jianshui. It was already 15.30, so it was time to get going again to explore.

DSC00861 © DY of jtdytravels

DSC00861 © DY of jtdytravels

The street near the hotel was busy with shoppers… but not one was a westerner. Jianshui is still not on many tourist itineraries.

Screen Shot 2015-12-17 at 11.23.30 AM

On one of the side streets we came across a young man painting a sign above a new gallery.

Screen Shot 2015-12-17 at 12.15.13 PM

 

 

 

 

 

 

He happily acknowledged us before going back to his work.

 

DSC00862 © DY of jtdytravels

DSC00862 © DY of jtdytravels

We’d checked out the town map and walked with a plan in mind… to find the Zhu Gardens and Mansion. Further along, in Hanlin Street, we found the main entrance gate.

DSC00866 © DY of jtdytravels

DSC00866 © DY of jtdytravels

The ornate gate heralded what was to come as we entered this place sometimes referred to as the ‘Grand View Garden’.  All of the buildings have saddle-shaped roofs and elaborately painted crossbeams and ceilings.

DSC01020 © DY of jtdytravels

DSC01020 © DY of jtdytravels

The layout of the complex is based on a fairly simple grid pattern.

DSC00869 © DY of jtdytravels

DSC00869 © DY of jtdytravels

Within this layout there are 42 Tianjing (courtyards) and 214 pavilions and towers… lots to see! The whole complex covers many hectares and we just wandered between courtyards and rooms taking photos as we went. So, over the next few musing posts, you can join us as the photos lead us through this maze of buildings, a peep into China’s past in the late 1800s early 1900s.

DSC00870 © DY of jtdytravels

DSC00870 © DY of jtdytravels

The roofs were covered in the traditional Chinese glazed tubular tiles. These are made of clay in a wooden tube-shaped mould. Each pipe is then cut into halves along their length, producing two semicircular tubular tiles. These are overlapped in lines down the roof. When these tiles are used on an eave edge, circular ends are often added, these usually moulded with the pattern of dragon.

DSC00865 © DY of jtdytravels

DSC00865 © DY of jtdytravels

There are many ornately carved and painted wood panels.

DSC00867 © DY of jtdytravels

DSC00867 © DY of jtdytravels

The garden’s penjing, or bonsai, collection is scattered throughout the various courtyards. Although best known in the west as a Japanese art form, this form of training and miniaturisation of plants in a pot originated in China.

DSC00868 © DY of jtdytravels

DSC00868 © DY of jtdytravels

 

These lovely bonsai appear to be very old. They have been created to mimic the shape and style of the mature, full-size trees. Cultivation techniques such as pruning, root reduction, and grafting are used over a long period of time to produce this effect.

DSC00872 © DY of jtdytravels

DSC00872 © DY of jtdytravels

A circular opening, known as a ‘moon gate’, lead us into the next courtyard.

DSC00875 © DY of jtdytravels

DSC00875 © DY of jtdytravels

We had entered the courtyard of the Embroidery Tower, the only two story building in the residence. Here, in former days, female members of the Zhu family enjoyed recreational activities including reading and embroidery. It was later used as a ‘home school’ for the Zhu children.

DSC00876 © DY of jtdytravels

DSC00876 © DY of jtdytravels

A larger Bonsai dominated this courtyard. Its stone label, in three languages, told us that this was a Bougainvillea spectabilis. In flower it would indeed be spectacular.

DSC00878 © DY of jtdytravels

DSC00878 © DY of jtdytravels

Further along, we came to the doorway of one of the rooms in the residence, the doorway again flanked by Bonsai.  A sign in the complex explained that the main residence is typical of Jianshui architecture of the time: “three bedrooms with six side rooms, three living rooms with three side rooms attached in the rear, as well as one major courtyard and four attached small courtyards.”

DSC00879 © DY of jtdytravels

DSC00879 © DY of jtdytravels

A peep inside the room… anyone for a game of cards?

DSC00881 © DY of jtdytravels

DSC00881 © DY of jtdytravels

Yellow chrysanthemums grew beside another ornate door way.

DSC00883 © DY of jtdytravels

DSC00883 © DY of jtdytravels

The chrysanthemums had been heavily pruned and trained. 

DSC00884 © DY of jtdytravels

DSC00884 © DY of jtdytravels

The central shoot of the plant had been nipped out and the resulting side shoots had been trained to the outside edge of the pot and then allowed to grow upwards. Very spidery!

DSC00887 © DY of jtdytravels

DSC00887 © DY of jtdytravels

Inside this ‘room’, in fact a linking passageway, were a couple of chairs but, although we could have done with a bit of a rest by then, they did not look at all comfortable!

I’ll return with more photos of the Zhu Gardens and Mansion in my next post.

David

All photographs copyright © DY  of  jtdytravels

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One comment on “China: Yunnan: #5 The Zhu Garden and Mansion, Jianshui (Part a)

  1. Mitzi Eisenberg says:

    Dear David: Wow! What an amazing place. We are devouring these posts. Thanks so much. Love, Mitzi and Dtsn

    Sent from my iPad Mitzi

    >

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