Abstract

With the development of literati gardens during the Ming dynasty (1368–1644), the layout and design level of gardens reached an unprecedented height. As the representative of Suzhou gardens, The Humble Administrator's Garden (Zhuozhengyuan, 拙政园, 1530) has unique natural conditions and mature garden design, and its water management art is particularly exquisite. The best-preserved graphic information of The Humble Administrator's Garden are the poems and paintings by Wen Zhengming (文徵明, 1470–1559), including Thirty-One Scenes of The Humble Administrator's Garden (拙政园三十一景图, 1533), thirty landscape poems, and the biography Wang's Humble Administrator's Garden (王氏拙政园记, 1533). As the research object, this article aims to restore the image of The Humble Administrator's Garden by analyzing the water scene of the garden, summarizing its water technique and art, and extracting “Source of inflowing water” (为有源头活水来), “Esteem the mountain, revere the water, imitate the heaven and earth” (敬山畏水, 象天法地), “Fusion of the imitation of nature and the subjective ideas of the artist” (外师造化, 中得心源), and “Free and unfettered, enjoy the joy of leisure” (逍遥自得, 享闲居之乐) as the water aesthetic thoughts of the garden. In addition, this article provides some reference for the current landscape design.

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