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The Classical Gardens of Shanghai$
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Shelly Bryant

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9789888208814

Published to Hong Kong Scholarship Online: September 2016

DOI: 10.5790/hongkong/9789888208814.001.0001

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Yu Yuan: Staging a Family Drama

Yu Yuan: Staging a Family Drama

(p.102) 6 Yu Yuan: Staging a Family Drama
The Classical Gardens of Shanghai

Shelly Bryant

Hong Kong University Press

Built when the development of Jiangnan gardens was at its peak, Yu Yuan is not only the pride of Shanghai, but also one of the finest Ming dynasty gardens remaining anywhere in China. Construction of the garden began in 1559, making it a near contemporary of Suzhou’s Humble Administrator’s, Lingering, and Master-of-the-Nets Gardens, Wuxi’s Jichang Yuan, and Hangzhou’s Liu Zhuang and Jiang Zhuang. This explosion of garden development in the region reflected a social change, the rise of a merchant class who possessed the financial means to imitate the gardens that had been restricted to the aristocracy and literati prior to this time. But Yu Yuan’s builder, Pan Yunduan, had the classical training of a scholar. In fact, his family was known in their time for having two generations of scholars living in one household. Pan’s work in and writings about the garden reflect this background.

Keywords:   Gardens, Shanghai, Architecture, Art, Poetry, Politics, Culture

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