Photo Gallery

Lion Grove Garden (first built 1342, rebuilt 1918)

The Lion Grove garden was first built in 1342 by the Monk Tianru and other disciples in memory of their teacher, the monk Zhongfeng. The garden is approximately 10,000 square meters and contains 22 pavilions, 71 steles, and numerous other works of art. The garden is famous for its rockery, which is mostly made of limestone taken from Taihu lake. The rocks have been piled up into forms resembling lions. The name of the garden "Lion Grove," came from a reference to lions in a Buddhist story which included descriptions of a rocky place in a bamboo forest (resembling the garden).

In its early years, the garden was famous as a place of retreat for painters and calligraphers. After Tianru's death, the garden passed through a number of hands and declined in later centuries. 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.

It is said that Emperor Qianlong (18th century) visited the site six times and inscribed the word "Zhenqu" (true delight) to describe the garden's beauty. The inscription is still on display in a pavilion of the same name.

Plan view

Drawing by Timothy M Ciccone, based on multiple sources (see bibliography).
Plan view of the Lion Grove Garden

Bird's eye view

Image adapted from signpost on site.
Bird's eye view of the Lion Grove Garden


All images copyright 2008 Timothy M. Ciccone

Boyd, Andrew. Chinese Architecture and Town Planning: 1500 B.C. - A.D. 1911
  Holmesdale Press Ltd, 1962. London

Cheng, Liyao. Ancient Chinese Architecture: Private Gardens
  Springer-Verlag/Wein, 1999. New York

Dong, Xiaoming. Cultural Heritage: The Old City of Suzhou
  Guwuxuan Publishing House, 2002. China

Feng, Chaoxiong & Fan, Yiguang. The Classical Gardens of Suzhou
  New World Press, 2007. China

Liu, Dunzhen. Classical Gardens of Suzhou
  China Architecture and Building Press, 2005. China

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