Sunday, 31 May 2015

Video: One of the four famous gardens of Lingnan, Qinghuiyuan

During my fieldwork in June/July 2014 I visited again the Qinghuiyuan 清晖园. It is considered one of the four famous gardens of Lingnan, an outdated term designing globally the region around Guangdong.

In reality this "top 4" only takes into account gardens relatively well conserved around Guangzhou, as the most renown were for the most part destructed.

Here is an amateur video of the main scene of this garden. 
The Qinghuiyuan is located in Daliang, Shunde 顺德. It was first a residence owned by Wang Shijun under the Ming Dynasty, but the current garden takes its origin in the constructions made for Long Yingshi at the end of the reign of Emperor Qianlong (1735-1796). It includes buildings such as the Returning Hall, the Chengyi Pavilion, the Bixi Caotang, the Xiyin Study, the main building being the Boat Hall which was supposedly built for the daughter of the owner. Two ponds are located on both sides of the boat hall, on the south-east is the original pond on which the garden is centred; and the south-west pond was added during modifications from the Jiaqing period (1796-1821). It has been largely renovated in the second half of the 20th century, and only one of the pond has kept relatively intact appearance - the one you can see in this video.

Thanks to UCCL and to the Landscape Department at the University of Sheffield for funding my fieldwork.
Most books on Lingnan gardens are written in Chinese, therefore I recommend this bilingual edition:
Lu, Q., Zhang, B., & Li, Y. (2004). Lingnan yuanlin yishu 岭南园林艺术 (Art of Lingnan gardens). Beijing, Zhongguo jian zhu gong ye chu ban she.

Tuesday, 26 May 2015

Biddulph Grange, videos

Wondering if you should come along to our guided visit to Biddulph Grange on the 18th of June? Here is something to convince you!

See also the short extract from BBC Four here
Any recommendations of videos welcome in the comments.

Book your guided visit from Sheffield here!

Sunday, 17 May 2015

Free lecture to start the "Chinese garden history" events in the University of Sheffield

Jichangyuan, Wuxi, 2012. Credit: J.Richard. All rights reserved.

We are glad to announce that a free lecture will start the series of events on Chinese garden history in the University of Sheffield. The Confucius Institute of Sheffield is welcoming our main speaker, Dr Alison Hardie, to give a lecture on:

Chinese gardens: history, design and meanings. 

Lecture by Alison Hardie

Thursday 21 May 2015,  
3:00 - 4:00pm
4:00-4:30, networking with drinks and biscuits  

Conference Room, Alfred Danny Building, University of Sheffield, Western Bank, S10 2TN

This talk will cover the historical development of Chinese gardens, relating it to comparable or contrasting developments in European garden history.

It will outline the different types of Chinese gardens, including imperial, private and institutional (temple or academy) gardens. It will consider the cosmological ideas and design principles underlying the layout and features of Chinese gardens. Finally it will discuss the social significance and uses of Chinese gardens, particularly in the late imperial period.

Speaker biography:
Alison Hardie is a Senior Lecturer in Chinese Studies at the University of Leeds and Director of the National Institute of Chinese Studies under the White Rose East Asia Centre, a collaboration between the Universities of Leeds and Sheffield. Since 2010 she has been a Senior Fellow (advisory committee member) in Garden and Landscape Studies at Dumbarton Oaks, the research institute in Washington DC affiliated to Harvard University. Dr Hardie holds degrees in Classics from the University of Oxford and in Chinese from the University of Edinburgh, and a doctorate from the University of Sussex. Her main research interest is in the social and cultural history of early modern China. She will retire this summer and a conference this 19th June will celebrate her career.

Enquiries to be sent to

Other "Chinese garden history" events to come at the University of Sheffield:

"New approaches in Chinese garden history" conference 19th June
See announcement & bookings here.

Guided garden visit to Biddulph Grange, 18th June
See announcement & bookings here.

Wednesday, 13 May 2015

Reduced delegate fee for the "New approaches in Chinese garden history" conference 19th June

19th JUNE 2015

We are pleased to announce that, thanks to the support of the Confucius Institute at Sheffield, we have been able to reduce the conference delegate rate for "New approaches in Chinese garden history".


This conference dedicated to Dr. Hardie on the occasion of her retirement will exceptionally bring together international scholars each interested in a different aspect of the Chinese garden and its wider theme: architecture, garden history, cultural history, translation studies, orientalism and chinoiserie, and the impact of Chinese gardens on the concept of English gardens.

The conference's schedule has been approved with a total of 7 academic speakers and 3 postgraduate speakers. Lunch and coffee breaks provided.

Student rate: £20

Delegate rate: £40

Full announcement here.
Book your seat here.
See also the Commented visit to Biddulph Grange on the 18th June here.

Sunday, 3 May 2015

Conference abstract: "Cantonese gardens in the 19th century"

Yuyin shanfang, Panyu, Guangzhou suburbs. Picture: J.Richard 2010, all rights reserved.

New approaches in Chinese garden history, conference abstract

19th June 2015, at the University of Sheffield


Josepha Richard, PhD candidate, University of Sheffield, UK

"Cantonese gardens in the 19th century"

Gardens in Lingnan, particularly those located in and around Guangzhou (Canton), were among the first Chinese gardens to be visited by Westerners, as until the Opium Wars, movements of foreigners were restricted to the city of Guangzhou, with the exception of a few missionaries who were able to enter Beijing. Thus Guangzhou gardens, and more specifically the Co-Hong (or merchant) gardens of the 19th century, have largely informed Western understanding of Chinese gardens at a time when Suzhou gardens were inaccessible to foreigners. However, despite its historical importance the Lingnan region has not been thoroughly explored by Western scholars, and research in China has mostly seen local exposure. This paper will present a conjectural reconstruction of Co-Hong merchant Howqua’s garden, built at the beginning of the 19th century in the suburbs of Guangzhou. This reconstruction is based on Western diaries, records and photographs, as well as Chinese sources such as annals, export paintings and poetry. Howqua’s garden is presented in the context of social life of late Qing Guangzhou, when its inhabitants were developing a discourse of local culture in the wake of the creation of the Xuehaitang Academy.

See Josepha's profiles here and here.

Friday, 1 May 2015

Conference abstract: "The evolution of Chinese public gardens in the concessional Shanghai, 1840-1940"

Representation of the Yuyuan 豫园 in Shanghai, 1884 申江名胜图说 p83

New approaches in Chinese garden history, conference abstract

19th June 2015, at the University of Sheffield

Mo Fei, PhD candidate, University of Sheffield, UK

"The evolution of Chinese public gardens in the concessional Shanghai, 1840-1940"

The Chinese notion of public recreation changed dramatically after the establishment of English, French and American concessions in Shanghai from the 1840s. Traditional public spaces for recreation did not satisfy the evolving social demands for recreation, particularly after the opening of the Public Garden on the Bund by the British in 1868. The majority of the Chinese were not allowed to access, but it triggered a general desire to experience foreign gardens and increased tensions between Chinese and foreign communities in the use of public open space, particularly as the Chinese, rather than foreigners, contributed the majority of rates in the foreign concessions. From the 1870s to the 1920s, privately owned ‘commercial’ gardens acted as public gardens for the Chinese population, as well as traditional sites such as temple compounds. The Nationalist Government of Republican China elected at the end of the 1920s first provided the conditions to develop municipal parks. In the post concessional period after 1943, the Chinese government developed transformed foreign and Chinese public gardens, parks and recreation grounds into park systems for the benefit of the population.

See Mo Fei's profile here.