AccScience Publishing / JCAU / Volume 4 / Issue 1 / DOI: 10.36922/jcau.v4i1.175

Zhao Liewen’s Gardening Practices and Activities as Reflected in His Diary Nengjingju Riji – A Secondary Publication

Xiao Li1 Shuaike Yin2
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1 School of Architecture, Tianjin University, Tianjin, China
2 School of Horticulture and Forestry, Huazhong Agricultural University, Wuhan, Hubei, China
Journal of Chinese Architecture and Urbanism 2022, 4(1), 175
Published: 30 August 2022
© 2022 by the Journal of Architectural History. This article is an open access article distributed under the terms and conditions of the Creative Commons Attribution -Noncommercial 4.0 International License (CC-by the license) ( )

Zhao Liewen, a late-Qing-dynasty scholar, wrote more than a million characters in his diary titled Nengjingju Riji. Through analysis of Zhao’s text, the author of this paper reconstructs the daily life in the Tranquil Garden (Jing Pu) and brings light to the site selection, house construction, garden planning, as well as the‘elegant gatherings’of literati that took place in the garden. More specifically, in the 7th and 8th lunar months of 1865, the 4th reign year of Emperor Tongzhi, Zhao traveled to the south of the Yangtze River. After considering the prices of houses and fengshui of the sites in different cities, he finally chose a place in Jiuwanwei, Changshu. As his family was growing, the house and garden became more clearly divided according to their functions. Especially, the library space of Tiangfanglou, and the garden area along the Tranquil Stream (Jing Xi) were rebuilt on several occasions. Zhao often invited relatives and friends to gather here. The creative work inspired by his life at the Tranquil Garden was modeled after the Wangchuan poetry collection of Tang poets and born from the gatherings held in the garden between 1876 and 1877, the 3rd and 4th reign years of Emperor Guangxu (r. 1875‒1908).

Jing Pu
siting and garden planning
Nengjingju Riji
elegant gatherings
Changshu Garden
Fundamental Scientific Research Business Funds for central colleges and universities

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