MRI Forum 74

"The Jesuit Garden and Emperor Qianlong’s View of the Labyrinth"

by Hui Zou

19 June 2013








Press Play to listen (Full length: 55 minutes)

Summary of the Presentation

In the late 18th century, the European Jesuits designed a “Western-like” garden within the Yuanming Yuan for Emperor Qianlong. The Jesuit garden began with a Baroque labyrinth and ended at an open-air theater. The theater bordered a small Chinese garden, named the Lion Grove. In the Yuan dynasty, a group of monks constructed a garden in Suzhou, also named the Lion Grove, which was later famous for its labyrinthine rockery hill. Modeling after the Suzhou Lion Grove, Qianlong built two Lion Groves in his imperial gardens. The co-presence of Chinese and Western labyrinths in the Yuanming Yuan established Qianlong’s comparative view of labyrinth, which was applied to his palace garden of retirement, the so-called Qianlong Garden, in the Forbidden City.

Profile of the Speaker

Dr. Hui Zou (邹晖) is an Associate Professor in the School of Architecture of the University of Florida. His research interest lies in comparative studies in History and Theory of Architecture. He was a Fellow of Garden and Landscape Studies at Dumbarton Oaks of the Harvard University and the Kenneth and Nelly Fung Fellow of the Asian Cultural Council in New York. His monographs include A Jesuit Garden in Beijing and Early Modern Chinese Culture (The Purdue University Press, 2011) and 《碎片与比照:比较建筑学的双重话语》 (Fragments and Mirroring: The Twofold Discourse of Comparative Architecture) (北京:商务印书馆, 2012).