July 30th, 2019


Then and Now: Yu Garden

Yu Garden 豫园 has been recarved and remodeled so many times that you could write a whole book just about its permutations. In 1949, the photographer Jack Birns documented an acrobatics performance on a small square west of the square pond, in front of the the famous ornamental Jade Rock 玉玲珑. Since then, the square has been turned back into a pond that had been there historically.

Looking south:

Here is what that spot looked like in the 1880s (a wider view in the opposite direction, from the south). The rocks were in a different place, pushed further to the north. But this is NOT the zigzag bridge leading to the "Willow-Pattern Teahouse," but a bridge to the west of it:

Map of modern Yuyuan, from The Chinese Garden, with the acrobatic spot outlined.