Xu Garden

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Xu Garden
(Chinese: 煦园; pinyin: Xù Yuán)
East lake in Nanjing Presidential Palace garden.JPG
East lake in Nanjing Presidential Palace garden
Location 292 Changjiang Rd., in Xuanwu District of Nanjing, Jiangsu Province, China

Xu Garden (Chinese: 煦园; pinyin: Xù Yuán), also called '"Xi Hua Yuan"' (西花园), or literally, "West Flower Garden", is a famed classical garden in Xuanwu District of Nanjing, Jiangsu Province. It is located on the west side of the Presidential Palace of Nanjing. It is one of two prominent Nanjing gardens, the other is the Zhan Yuan Garden.


In 1368, the first year of the Ming dynasty, Taizu Zhu Yuanzhang (朱元璋) received the disciples of his opponent, Chen Youliang (陈友谅) and built a "Han King Palace" for Chen Youliang's son, Chen Li. When Ming Emperor Chengzu made his second son, Zhu Gaoxu (朱高煦), the Han King, he awarded him the eastern part of old Han King Palace as the New Han King Palace. The western garden of the new palace was named "Xu Yuan" for its owner, Zhu Gaoxu.

Qing Dynasty established government building for governor general of Two-Jiang (in charge of Jiangsu, Anhui and Jiangxi) here. Its east side lied Jiangning Zhizhao government (in charge of clothes and silk production). Xu Yuan became the garden of house for governor general. From Kangxi 23rd-41st year (1684-1702), the emperor Kangxi visited South China six times, visiting Jiangning Zhizhao government five of the times.

During Taiping era, the garden was expanded when building Heavenly King Palace, and it became the imperial garden of the palace. Because the garden was located on western side of the palace, it was named "West Flower Garden", distinguishing from "East Flower Garden". At the time when the city was conquered by army of Qing Dynasty, the garden was ruined by the war. During Qing Daoguang's years (1821-1851), Zeng Guofan rebuilt it.

On 1 January 1912, Sun Yat-sen was inaugurated as the "Temporary Grand President" in the Warm Pavilion of Xu Yuan, thus claiming the establishment of the temporary government of the Republic of China. Sun's temporary president's office and home were located inside Xu Yuan. From then on, the Nanjing acting government, Jiangsu government, and military commander all had offices there. After the government of the Republic of China was founded in April 1927, the headquarters of National People's Revolution Army, Military Commission, and Military Bureau of President House established offices there. Therefore, Xu Yuan was regarded as "Resort of Four Dynasties".


Xu Garden

Contained within Xu Garden is a 14.5-meter-long timber-mimic stony boat built by gray stones. Now it is the symbol of the garden. Emperor Qianlong used to call it "Bu Ji Zhou" (不系舟), or "unmoored boat."

Xu Garden has an artificial hillock called "South Rockery," made of rocks resembling 12 Chinese zodiac animals. Among these hillock there is a Hexagonal Pavilion. From afar it looks like an overlapping of two pavilions, but a closer look reveals an integrated body. It was called "Mandarin Duck Pavilion," as mandarin ducks are known for appearing in pairs.

"Tong Yin Guan" (桐音馆), or "Paulownia Melody House," is the largest building in the garden, built by paulownia timber. It was used as Zeng Guofan's reception hall. Several huge Chinese parasol trees are planted around the house. When rains fall on the trees, the mellifluous sounds resonate. Behind the house lies "North Rockery". There are caves inside the hillocks, and they are interconnected like a maze. Beside it is a stone tablet, on which Emperor Daoguang's handwriting "Heart Stamping Stony House" (印心石室) is engraved.

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Coordinates: 32°02′42″N 118°47′32″E / 32.045126°N 118.792347°E / 32.045126; 118.792347