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Garden Rocks

Although Chinese garden design changed considerably throughout the centuries, the uniquely perforated limestone rocks from Lake T'ai near Suchou have been admired, collected and featured in private gardens since the Sung dynasty (960-1279). The centerpieces of many literati gardens, large T'ai-hu rocks in combination with other stones, represented the great mountains of the universe. By the 17th century, Suchou gardens were in effect, symbolic metaphors for the forces of the universe and the balance found in nature.

Travelling Among the Five Sacred Peaks Travelling Among the Five Sacred Peaks Travelling Among the Five Sacred Peaks

Album of Rock Portraits: Travelling Among the Five Sacred Peaks

The original, large stones in the decorative 18th century garden had been removed long ago. Only a few small support rocks remained when the museum purchased the library in 1996. All of the T'ai-hu and bamboo shoot stones featured in the garden come from old gardens in the Chiang-nan region, the center of literati art and garden design during Ming and early Ch'ing.