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Water in Prince Kung’s Palace

Updated: Jun 24, 2022

Water is an indispensable and charming element in garden art. The garden waters of Prince Kung's Palace make it more vital.

Rectangular Pond and Pavilion 

The Rectangular Pond and Pavilion is a major feature of the Palace’s west section. It consists of a rectangular pond covering 2,000 square meters and supporting a mid-lake pavilion. Water flows into the pond via three stone-carved dragon heads in different directions from a spring in the hill. The pink lotus flowers stand gracefully, and complement each other with green leaves. The white geese playing in the water and the jumping goldfish break its tranquility.

Bat-shaped Pond

The Bat-shaped Pond is named for its bat-like shape. In Chinese, the pronunciation of bat, fu, is the same as “good fortune”, so the pond has an implication of praying for blessings. Elm trees are planted around the pond. Every late spring, copper-coin-like elm seeds (in Chinese called “Yuqian”, where “qian” means money), fall into the Bat-shaped Pond. Therefore, it implies that both “good fortune” and “money” are sure to bless the owner.

Verdant Rock

The rockery is composed of numerous stones from Taihu Lake. Its superb design and exquisite piling and cementing are unique. On both the eastern and western sides, there is a winding path to the top, where two water jars with holes are placed. The servants used to pour water into the jars, and the water would flow out to sink onto and moisten the rockery stones. As a result, the rockery’s surface is covered with rich lichens due to the rockery’s high temperature and humid environment in summer and autumn. Therefore, it was given the name Verdant Rock. 

Pavilion of Deep Autumn 

Pavilion of Deep Autumn on the East Road was built with an allusion to "Qushui Liushang", a style of relaxing in which people sit around the curved canal, place specially made wine cups (mostly light lacquerware) upstream, and let them float slowly along the winding water. Whoever the wine cup floats past will take a drink. In addition to drinking, he has to write a poem. 

When we stand in the east-west direction, the curved canal turns back and forth, like the seal character designating "water". From the north-south direction, it looks like the character of "longevity", so this pavilion is also called "Shuishou Pavilion", which means "longevity is like long flowing water".

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