Missouri Botanical Garden

Chinese Garden Tour

The Lotus Gate

Stone panels Behind the pavilion, five stone panels carved in China are mounted on the white stucco wall like a horizontal scroll. The low relief depicts a contemporary Windowsview of the Confucius temple area in Nanjing, as seen from the Qinhuai River that surrounds the city. Just beyond, another stucco wall is pierced with four different decorative window openings, known as the "eyes" of the garden, that provide glimpses of the bamboo grove beyond. The wall leads to the massive wooden exit gate roofed with black tiles and carved with lotus flower motifs.
Lotus Gate

A literary garden without an inscription would be as incomplete as a Chinese painting without rows of calligraphy in one corner. On the wall beside the lotus gate is a tablet of black stone inscribed with a classic poem. The inscription was carved from Chinese characters created by the great calligrapher Pu Jie, brother of the last Chinese emperor Pu Yi:

Sitting alone in a secluded bamboo grove,
I was singing while playing the qin*
Before realizing, in the deep grove,
The moon had already joined me
With her beautiful light.

*The qin is a Chinese stringed instrument.

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

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