Welcome to Dongguan Live! In this month’s show, our host Geno DeVille, took us to an ancient and local Dongguan gem, Keyuan Garden. Keyuan Garden is one of the four famous gardens in Guangdong Province and was declared a State Level cultural relic by the “State Council of China” in 2001.
For those who think Keyuan is just a garden, think again. Originally intended as just a garden, Keyuan was built by a rich official called Zhang Jingxiu in 1850, which was during the reign of Emperor Daoguang in the Qing Dynasty. Zhang was a skilful mason, calligrapher, painter and musician who had many friends. Some of those friends, Ju Lian and Ju Chao, founded the “South China Painting School” right next to Keyuan and lived in the Garden for ten years. Over these ten years in such close proximity to the painting school, the Garden became known as a supporting cradle for Lingnan styled paintings. Shortly following, the Garden became a cultural rendezvous for scholars, poets and painters until it was rebuilt as a museum of ancient Chinese architectural art and listed as a scenic spot.
With an artistic layout, Keyuan must have made an exquisite residence, with a living room, lotus pool, pavilion, and a courtyard with flowers in an expansive garden. In all, Keyuan Garden spans 2,204 square metres. The idea behind Keyuan is to build a mini-forest featuring architectural characteristics primarily from South-China. The priceless cultural relics include works of calligraphy and paintings which have become part of the garden landscape. With interlocking structures and winding pathways, this secluded spot is known as the gem of Southern China landscaped gardens.
Not just a garden or museum, Keyuan has become known as a cultural training centre and sits right in the middle of Dongguan City. With an entrance fee of 8RMB, it’s approximately 10 minutes by taxi from most urban areas.
(By Susan Su and Sev Pischl)