Saturday, August 24, 2013

Lan Su Chinese Garden

Portland certainly has two gems worth visiting, which are its Japanese Garden and the Lan Su Chinese Garden.  While wandering the streets of downtown Portland we walked over to Chinatown, which is not at all like the Chinatown of Los Angeles.  The latter town has numerous Chinese stores and restaurants, and has a very colorful, bustling scene- which cannot at all be said for Portland's Chinatown.  However, within the Chinatown district is the Portland Classical Chinese Garden, also known as Lan Su.  The name represents the relationship between Portland and Suzhou, Portland's sister city in China's Jiangsu province which is famous for its beautiful gardens.  With the gardens is also a home designed in the 15th century Ming style by artisians and craftspeople from Suzhou.  Rocks in the garden are mined from a freshwater lake near Suzhou.
The garden features a bridged lake, open colonnades, and stone paths that wind through courtyards, and nine pavilions.  Doors and windows through out the garden and house form views within views, creating the illusion of infinite space within a single city block.  "Leak Windows" leak the view from one area of the garden to another.  In all there are 52 windows, each having a different pattern.  In the picture below there are windows behind the tree, which offer a view into another section of the garden
The rooms of the house, actually they are referred  to as the pavilions, are equally impressive as the gardens.  The scholar's study is a place where the men of the family studied as well as played.  Here such activities as writing, poetry, practicing calligraphy, as well as reading and admiring art collections took place.
I think that it was in this room where I encountered some fortune sticks.  I shook a cup of them and one fell out.  It said that I was soon going to attain a position which I have always wanted.  Strangely, that is true!  In March I will become a grandmother as Melissa and Spencer are expecting their first child.
The rockery, pictured above, is designed to appear as rugged mountains in the distance, with waterfalls and cascading streams.  An inscription, written in Chinese, on the mountain reads: " Ten Thousand Ravines Engulfed in Deep Clouds".  In one of the pavilions there are six panels which illustrate some ancient gardens of Suzhou.  One the back of one is written:  "Most cherished in this mundane world is a place without traffic; truly in the midst of a city there can be a mountain and forest".  That pretty much says it all about this garden.

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