Missouri Botanical Garden

Chinese Garden Tour

The Pavilion

Many Chinese pavilions are noted for elaborate and fanciful carvings of animals, dragons, and sea monsters, but this garden is in the more restrained style of the "literary," or scholar's, garden. These pavilions traditionally served not only as scholarly retreats, but as places for delightful social gatherings and poetry contests. Pavilion

The pavilion was fabricated in Nanjing and reassembled here on site. The structure fits together like an intricate Chinese puzzle; only the roof is fastened with nails. Each of the six columns is made from a single tree. The massive ceramic tile roof is a dramatic swooping shape that seems to float, suspended from its lotus flower finial. Its "smiling curves" echo the upward sweep of tree branches behind the pavilion. The rich carvings on the roof and balustrades repeat the motifs of the phoenix, bamboo, and mountains.


Beside the pavilion, a lively stream of water trickles down a slope lined with stones to resemble a rocky mountain gorge. The stream flows beneath the bridge and into the quiet pool.

An Ancient Tradition
A Frame and a Focus
Mountains and Water
Plants as Symbols

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