XJTLU Museum presents a series of lectures and activities on aspects of Suzhou culture for XJTLU students and staff to facilitate the cultural merge and interaction. Renowned artists, authors and scholars who are widely recognized for their achievements in Suzhou local culture will be invited to our lecture series. Here comes the eighth lecture of this series. Lindi Cao will share the fascination of Suzhou Gardens, exploring their underlying humanistic values, life styles and aesthetic interests.
Professor of Humanity and Art School, Soochow University; Doctoral supervisor of Design Arts; Member of editorial board of Chinese Gardens; Consultant of Suzhou Gardens Bureau.
Professor Cao was born in August 1944 in Wuxi, Jiangsu Province. She graduated from Peking University, majored in Classical Literature of the Chinese Department in 1969 and achieved the master degree of Arts from Northwest University in 1981. Nowadays, she acts as the professor of Literature and Art Institute of Suzhou University and the doctoral supervisor of Design Arts. As well, she has worked as the guest professor of Chinese Department of Japan Tezukayama University and Soochow University in Taipei. She now is also the member of editorial board of Chinese Gardens, the consultant of Suzhou Gardens Bureau, the special adviser of Suzhou Creation Peach Garden Company, the consultant of the Jiashan Project of Chinese Happiness Construction Company and the director of Gardens Culture Institute of Suzhou Gusu Gardens Incorporated Company. Cao mainly engages in the educate and study of Chinese Ancient Literature and Chinese Gardens Culture, Her published writings include Classic Gardens, The theory of Chinese Gardens Art，The Recording of Suzhou Gardens Construction, The Comparison of Chinese and Japanese Gardens Culture, The Culture of Chinese Garden, Reading Gardens with A Peaceful Mood and The Introduction of Ancient Books Arrangement.
Suzhou Gardens were first born in the spring and autumn period when Wu Kingdom established its capital in Suzhou, gradually formed in the five dynasties, improved into perfect in Song Dynasty and reached its peak in the Ming and Qing Dynasty. There were 170 and more various gardens in Suzhou by the end of Qing Dynasty. Currently around 60 gardens are preserved completely and 19 of them open up to the outsiders, such as Garden of Surging Wave Pavilion, Grove Garden, Humble Administrator's Garden, Lingering Garden, Master of Nets Garden, Joyous Garden, The Mountain Villa, Art Garden, Garden of Couple's Retreat, Retreat and Meditation Garden.
As the leader of Chinese gardens, Suzhou gardens have the reputation of “The gardens of south of the Yangtze River tops those elsewhere, Suzhou gardens tops that of south of the Yangtze River”. The brilliant artistic technique and garden art endow Suzhou Gardens with dynamic and implicit beauty, which enables them to possess deep artistic values. What is more to be worth mentioning is the cultural connotation containing in the landscapes, reflect and represent the spirit of Chinese traditional culture, allowing Suzhou Gardens to be the model garden art of Eastern civilization.
The World Heritage Committee comments on the Suzhou Gardens that: “There are no other gardens could be more suitable for reflecting the ideal quality of the design of Chinese Classical Gardens than the four gardens in the historical celebrated, Suzhou. Suzhou gardens are publicly recognized as the model of the design conception of creating a new world within close distance. These gardens that built in 16-18 century reflect profound artistic conception that comes from nature yet beyond nature in the Chinese culture through their well-crafted designs.”
Museum & Chinese Cultural Teaching Centre
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