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689panda Chinese Classical Garden Medals


Set Type: Classic Gardens Medals, 2010-Date, Mint State and Proof
Owner: 689Panda
Last Modified: 11/11/2016
Views: 352

Rank: 2
Score: 32144
Leading by: 17181
Points to Higher Rank: 24582
  
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Set Description:

Characteristics of Chinese Classical Gardens Showcased by the Shanghai Mint Medal Series

I discovered the initial medals of this series after visiting the Summer Palace in China. I have since tried to collect as many of the medals as I can. These gardens embody a very important aspect of Chinese cultural heritage and architecture. Furthermore, quite a lot of minting innovation went into the production of these medals.

I wish to share the following personal insight on the Chinese Classical Gardens that have been the subject of the medals released in the Series. This is an attempt to understand why these gardens were selected.

There are more extensive discussions of these medals on the Chinese coin discussion forum china-mint.info/forum under the thread: The Journey of the Chinese Classical Garden series of medal (http://china-mint.info/forum/index.php?topic=11056.0).

Yuyuan
Initially envisioned and constructed for private family use. Subsequently opened up to the public. Provides an oasis in an otherwise very busy and crowded city. Regarded as the best garden in southeast China. Houses the famous Great Rockery and Exquisite Jade Rock.

Lan Ting Garden (The Orchid Pavillon)
One of the four most famous gardens in China. Built during the reign of the Qing emperor Kangxi. A major part of its fame and persisting popularity arises from the epic calligraphic work of Wang Xizhi (AD 321-379). Also famed for its orchids.

Yiheyuan (“New” Summer Palace)
Currently the most preserved (and largest) Imperial garden in China. Called the “Museum of Chinese Gardens” because it contains elements of Chinese gardens and design styles from all over China. Initially planned for rest and leisure by the Imperial family. Subsequently became an all-year residence for the family and Empress Cixi’s power base. Has a large man-made lake complex and hills. Contains the world famous Long Corridor and the Xiequyuan.

Yuanmingyuan (Old Summer Palace)
Immense engineering and architectural achievement. One of the longest running (150 years) of such building works. Either the best or very close to the best of Gardens in the whole world. Very eclectic design; incorporated features from all over China with significant Tibetan, Mongolian and European input. The effects of its destruction still reverberate. The initially overwhelming prospect of reconstruction (remodeling and update) may become easier to tackle if spread out over a time frame that mirrors (to some extent) that of its initial construction. “A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step”.

The Mountain Resort of Chengde
Built by the Imperial family as a retreat for escaping the hot summer weather of Beijing (Peking). Two emperors (Jaiqing and Xianfeng) died here while in residence. The Imperial family sought refuge here during the Anglo-French invasion and destruction of the Beijing-based gardens in 1860. Houses one of the tallest stone built pagodas in China. This garden is also famed for it’s 72 “scenic spots”.

Geyuan
First built during the Ming dynasty and rebuilt in the Qing dynasty period. Has been referred to as the Magnum Opus of private gardens. Seems to have the longest running history of all the Chinese classical gardens (but I need confirmatory citations*). Also famous for its abundance and variety of bamboo; at a stage it was reputed to have more than 100 species of bamboo. In fact its current name “Ge” arose from the similarity of the bamboo leaf cluster to the Chinese character for Ge. An additional characteristic feature of this garden is it’s "four-season" rockery design.

Liuyuan
This is another very famous private Chinese classical garden (now State owned and maintained by the city of Suzhou). It has an extensive collection of Scholar stones including the world famous Auspicious Cloud Capped Peak stone. Another famed feature of the garden is it’s 700 meter covered walkway that connects the various buildings. This is just short of the 728 meters of the Long Corridor of the Yiheyuan. Liuyuan also acts as a repository for Pingtan and Guqin music, which are both UNESCO designated “Intangible World Heritage Arts”.

Zhuozhengyuan (Humble Administrator’s Garden)
This is one of the UNESCO world heritage site gardens in the city of Suzhou. It is also regarded as one of the four most famous gardens in China. For much of its history it was in private ownership although it was destroyed and rebuilt several times, partitioned and sold to different owners, before being taken over by the Chinese government. Cao Xueqin was reputed to have lived in this garden at some stage of his early life. The garden is also famous for more than 700 penjing (a.k.a. penzai) trees that it houses. The word “Humble” comes from the initial owner’s self-characterization.
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