Wangshi Garden

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Wangshi Garden, Suzhou, Jiangsu

Wangshi (Master of the Nets) Garden (网师园) is a key cultural relic site under state protection, occupying 0.53 hectares on Shiquan Street in Suzhou. Its predecessor was the Wanjuan (Ten-Thousand Volumes) Hall, alias Yuying (Fisherman's Retreat), owned by Shi Zhengzhi, a book collector of the Southern Song Dynasty (1127-1279). During Emperor Qianlong's reign of the Qing Dynasty (1644-1911), the retired official Song Zongyuan bought the garden and named it the Wangshi (Master of the Nets) Garden.

The most striking features of the garden are: all its pavilions are surrounded by water; and small as its size is, the scale of its buildings is large, yet nothing appears cramped.

Now, Wangshi Garden is unique for its night life, when performances of Kunqu operas, Pingtan ballad-singing, Jiangnan music and other folk arts are staged in its illuminated halls and pavilions.