Friday, August 07, 2009

Liu Fang Yuan - Garden of Flowing Fragrance

I visited the Chinese Garden in Huntington Library yesterday with my older niece. We haven't been there since 2007 after I opened the store. It was under construction at the time. Watching it happen in LA is absolutely sentimental for me, a subject close to heart and close to home.
I took almost 350 photos yesterday before we got escorted out at 4:30. Its beauty is astonishing, every step you take, every degree you turn is a new picture in sight. Looking up, looking down, everywhere you look is a picture. I don't think I have ever taken so many picture at one place.
Look at the details of the floor! Amazing.My niece watching the fishies at a bridge called Fish Joy Bridge, the only bridge she's tall enough to sit on.
Each circle is a picture frame in every direction, creating a picture within a picture effect. Brilliant ideas by our ancestors centuries ago. Sometimes I wonder if we have digressed as human race by making everything happen fast via short cuts.

Left column: Beautiful mountains must be seen as pictures.
Right column: Flowing water can be heard as music.
Ai Lian Xie - Lotus love Pavilion, only if I could make tea here! I'd do almost anything for that. :P

Entrance to Liu Fang Yuan.
When I visited China the first time in the 90's, I was amazed how beautiful traditional architectures are, but had no idea what the details meant. After reading a few books in recent years, I began to understand and appreciate the culture and meaning behind it. One of the books was written 1960's by a scholar at age of 90+ studied Chinese gardens all his life, the title is You Yuan - Wander the gardens. It's a guide of centuries Chinese work of gardens, entailing why the see through windows and where they should be placed, why not the straight bridges and corridors, what material and color to use for season's changes, southern and northern styles, structure location, function of structures, theme, naming, mountain back ground, stones, plants for all seasons, water flow of ponds, air flow in the compound, sun direction at each hours that affects the view, etc.
This garden is a typical Southern China style, water feature is a must for this region, due to the abundance of water ways and canals, fair weather allows 4 season ever green and blooming plants, fishes can also survive outdoor. Although this pond/lake is man made, it's a job well done. Liu Fang Yuan is finely made as a modern creation, and it continues to build out. It makes me want to move to China sooner than later. I think I'll call my tea master to find me a few more books on Chinese architecture tonight.

I have been staring at these pictures all day today. Stunning! Stunningly Beautiful!


Will said...

That reminds me that I still need to check it out. Maybe we'll go tomorrow.

Is the calligraphy exhibit still up?

Imen said...

GO GO GO, you have to go, the sooner the better.

I didn't see the calligraphy exhibit yesterday.


Thanks Imen, I keep reminding myself to go here and always get sidetracked. Actually, I looked at their site and they accept volunteers, so ideally I'd like to go volunteer in the Gardens sometime. If you're interested, let me know. (By the way, we met at the Cal Tech tea thing :P)


Imen said...

Hi Dan,

What type of volunteers are they looking for? I would love to volunteer to participate for some sort of Chinese culture related events, tea preferably but it can be anything. A story teller maybe? :D

Maitre_Tea said...

The second photo you took reminds me of the covered walkway in the Summer Palace in Beijing. I haven't been to the Huntington Garden since I came back from China...maybe I'll notice some similarities


Hi Imen,

You can volunteer to give a tour of the Chinese gardens. Other than that I'm not sure. I was going to send an email asking some other questions anyway, so I asked them about Chinese cultural events, too.

Imen said...

Maitre Tea,

The summer palace is much nicer with a LOT more details.

In terms of the structural similarities, most of the Chinese Gardens (both northern/southern styles) carry the same fundamental principle.

Liu Fang Yuan is very nice for its location outside of China and built in modern day, it's extraordinary, but can not compare to the ones in China in terms of details.

Imen said...


Great! Please let me know of the outcome.

I'd love to do something about it, but under the tight schedule, I may not be able to be a tour guide.

I am going back in a week, taking a couple of friends.

Victoria said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Victoria said...

I was there for my birthday in February, it was very nice. I took a ton of pics too. When I saw the floor pic, I immediately knew where this was! We had tea at the tearoom too. The usual tearoom tea offering but the food was quite nice. It was very enjoyable overall.

Victoria from TeaChat

Imen said...


I love the cultural diversity of LA, and this is one of the main attraction for me. :)

teatimer said...

Their tea room is super cute and they have great tea with fingerfoods. They had this one fruity tea that I liked. I looked it up on the web and the closest thing I could find was at called Fruity Dream. Very delicious and entcing to look at.