Chinese Scholar's Garden -- Arcadia in New York City

Xinhua | Updated: 2017-05-03 16:56
NEW YORK -- Located behind a cottage row in Snug Harbor and regarded as a hidden gem in New York's Staten Island, the Chinese Scholar's Garden offers a pleasant surprise for its visitors.

"The Garden of Poetic Pleasure," reads a plaque upon the entry, in Chinese calligraphy.

Poetry is richly dwelled on in this garden, the idea of which was first conceived in 1984.

Frances Paulo Huber, then Snug Harbor Botanical Garden's president, recognized the presence of Asian cultures among the harbor's sailor community at the time, and the idea was later evolved into this garden, Puiyan Taglianetti, an educator at Snug Harbor, told Xinhua.

Opening to the public since June 1999, it was the first authentic Chinese Scholar's Garden in the United States.

The resemblance to its Chinese prototype is appalling. In fact, the whole concept of the layout was carried out on the other side of the Pacific, as the garden is based on the original design of Zou Gongwu, one of China's leading scholars in classic garden design.

All the architectural components were prefabricated, and all rocks were carefully chosen in Suzhou, China's long-acclaimed Garden City.

"It isn't modeled after any one particular garden in China, it is generally a Ming-Dynasty era type of gardens," said Taglianetti, while walking the visitors through the 1-acre retreat.

The small exquisite layout is compacted with Chinese philosophy. Visitors would be presented with the first suspense when they are blocked by a wood screen upon entering.

"Many scholar's gardens don't want to show the obvious," she explained, as this could give visitors anticipation and the excitement of the unknown.

The connotation of the Chinese culture unfolds as visitors get in. The windows on the courtyard wall, for example, give no blockage to the outside while serving merely as a frame, offering an ever-changing view beyond the border, thus representing a very common Chinese design concept of "borrowed view."

Like its Chinese models, the New York Chinese Scholar's Garden is a reflection of the Chinese view of the universe, a complete assertion of heaven and earth. The yin-yang concept of cosmic forces can be found in the varying shapes of colors, textures as well as spaces of the bricks, rocks, and eavesdrops.

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