The history of Prince Gong's Mansion
Covering a ground area of 28,000 square meters, the Garden of Prince Gong’s Mansion is surrounded by the man-made hills on four sides. Totally 25 small and large scenes can be seen there and the architectural features of the gardens from both northern and southern China are combined perfectly in the mansion.
The garden has an arched stone gate in typical Western architectural style, and upon entering the garden, one can see the five-meter high Dule Peak, which is a rock procured from Lake Tai in southern China. Behind it is the Bat Pond (Bat is a homonym of happiness in Chinese). Beyond the pond stands the Anshan Hall and opposite, at the center of the garden, is a hill bearing a stone tablet inscribed with the Chinese character "fu" (happiness) in the calligraphy of Emperor Kangxi (1662-1723). Behind the hill are masterpieces of garden architecture, with more than 20 scenic spots. In addition to its artificial hill, trees, flowers, pavilions and terraces, the garden also contains the unique feature of its own theater.
This theater is lofty and spacious, with subtle lighting, and on its walls Chinese wisteria and green leaves are painted, giving the audience the feeling they are sitting beneath trellises. The floor is paved in pseudo-gold brick, and the seats consist of old-fashioned wooden armchairs furnished with square tables. The performers and the audience are in close proximity, so there is no need for audio amplifying equipment. Here, people can enjoy kunqu, Peking Opera and imperial music, a unique experience full of Qing historical significance.
The distinctive halls, platforms, houses and pavilions, together with waters and plants have created delicate and elegant scenery. As a masterpiece of classical private gardens, the garden of Prince Gong's Mansion is worth a good enjoying.
History and Culture
The Garden of Prince Gong's Mansion used to be the private residence of He Kun, a famous scholar in the reign of Emperor Qiang Long (1736-1796). It was changed into Palace of Prince Qing in the forth year of Jia Jing Region (1786-1821). In the initial Xian Feng Period (1851-1862), it was changed into the Garden of Prince Gong's Mansion. It was controlled by three hosts during 70 years. During the reign of Emperors Xian Feng and Tong Zhi (1862-1875), the garden was repaired in accordance with the orders of Prince Yi Xin, with palaces built, pools dug, mounts piled up and threes planted behind the Garden. As a result, the Cui Jin Garden -- a beautiful garden with the same artistic conception as the Grand View garden described in the famous classical novel Dream of Red Mansions was constructed. It is as attracting as the Mansions of Prince Zheng and Prince Chun which were quite popular at that time. The Garden of Prince Gong's Mansion is the most intact ancient garden preserved. It was cited by government as the key unit of preservation of culture relics.