Noted for its magnificent architecture and extraordinary history, the Yuanming Yuan is China's most famous imperial garden. The complex was begun in the early 18th century, and construction continued over the next 150 years. Chinese historians, and many Chinese in general, view the garden as the paramount achievement of Chinese architecture and landscape design. This text provides a comprehensive study of the palatial garden complex and a tour of its architecture and history. Wong begins by inspecting the garden's physical appearance and its architectural elements. He discusses the origin and evolution of these structures and the aesthetics of their design and arrangement. He refers throughout to maps and original models of individual buildings and other existing gardens of the Ming-Qing period, including the well-preserved Yihe Yuan and the Chengde Summer Mountain Retreat in Rehe. The book also explores the activities and daily life of the royal household.
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Young-tsu Wong is professor of history at Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University.
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