Photo Gallery

Surging Waves Pavilion (Canglangting) (built c. 1040 onward)

The Surging Waves Pavilion (Canglangting) is one of the oldest gardens in Suzhou. Situated in the southwest quadrant of the city, it is located directly to the west of the Confucian temple. The garden was originally constructed during the reign of Emperor Qingli (1041-49) of the Northern Song Dynasty by Su Shunqin. He named the garden "The Surging Waves Pavilion" after a poem in the anthology Songs of Chu. During the Southern Song dynasty, the site was taken over by Han Shizhong. It underwent numerous renovations in the centuries to follow, but retains its essential form.

Unlike other gardens in Suzhou, there is a strong emphasis on the contrast between constructed natural settings and the built environment. For example, the front to the garden is dominated by a wide canal linked to the main entrance by a long stone bridge. The relatively massive built forms (the bridge, the tall entrance) provide a strong counterpoint to the water. On the same note, many spaces on the interior of the garden are narrow, claustrophobic, and framed more by walls and corridors than they are by natural forms such as rockeries or vegitation.

According to the author's GPS, the Surging Waves Pavilion lies at approximately 31 17.81677' north, 120 37.26832' east (WGS84 map datum).

Plan view

Drawing by Timothy M Ciccone, based on multiple sources (see bibliography).
Plan view of Canglangting


All images copyright 2008 Timothy M. Ciccone. Photographed May 2008.

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

Wang, Joseph C. Chinese Classical Gardens of Suzhou
  McGraw-Hill, Inc., 1993. New York

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