Lion Grove Garden, situated on the road to Loumen Garden, is one of the
four most famous and representative gardens of ancient classical style
in Suzhou City.
Grove Garden was first built in 1342 during the Yuan Dynasty (1279-1368
AD) by Monk Tianru and other Zen Buddhist disciples as a memorial to their
master, Monk Zhong Feng. The garden was named because Zhong Feng once
lived at Lion Cliff at the Xitianmu Mountains in Zhejiang province, and
in the garden were a large number of rocks shaped like lions. In its early
years, the garden was famous as a place of retreat for painters and calligraphers.
It was revived in 1918 by a wealthy industrialist named Mr. Pei, but was
given to the State after the founding of the People's Republic of China.
an area of about 10,000 square, Lion Grove Garden consists
of 22 buildings, 25 tablets and plateaux, 71 steles, 23 brick carvings
and five carved wooden screens, as well as many old pine and cypress trees.
The garden is famous for its rockery, which is mostly made of limestone
taken from Taihu lake. Reputed as the "Kingdom of Rockery",
the rocks were piled up skillfully and ingeniously, and most of them look
like lions in different postures and verves: playing, roaring, fighting,
sleeping, or even dancing. It is said there were altogether nine stone
lions standing in a row, but the ravages of time and the elements changed
their shapes until those that remain now bear little resemblance to those
are altogether 9 paths and 21 caverns cross among the steep peaks, sharp
crags and narrow valleys made up by countless grotesque rocks.
Grove Garden is also an ideal sightseeing site for ornamental pavilions
and towers in different styles. True Delight Pavilion is said to be the
most magnificent in Lion Grove Garden due to its royal style and tablet
inscribed by the Qing Emperor, who visited the gardens six times, in 1765,
wrote its plaque.
(Fan Pavilion) is so named for its fan-shaped windows and steps. From
here one has a good view of all the buildings in the garden.
Wen Mei Ge
(Plum Tower) used to be a place where painters and poets indited. In addition
to the plum treesaround the pavilion, all
the floors, windows, tables, chairs and utensils inside are decorated
or carved with plum blossom designs.
Li Xue Tang
(Standing-in-the-Snow Hall) came
from a Buddhist story about a pure-hearted Zen adherent standing in snow
for a whole night to wait for his teacher until his teacher woke up.