Tang Zhengrong looks at the plaque of Nanyuan Garden.
A bird's-eye view of the restored Nanyuan Garden
A panoramic view of Nanyuan Garden
Nanyuan Garden, an ancient garden located in Sanlin, Pudong New Area, took on a new look recently. For the past 14 years, its present owner, Tang Zhengrong, has been renovating the buildings inside the garden. The garden was originally built in the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644) by Chu Yu, an advisory officer, for the purpose of spending his remaining days there in comfort. It has changed hands several times over the past three centuries.
Tang, a Shanghai native, has been working in the architecture field for 25 years and has a deep affection for ancient buildings. When he first heard the story of Nanyuan Garden from Cao Qineng, a well-known expert on national culture, he read through various historical material, then made up his mind to renovate the garden.
Tang came across some exquisite ancient mansions in Jiangxi Province and felt that it would be a pity to dismantle them. So he had them all transported to Sanlin piece by piece.
To restore the original beauty of Nanyuan Garden, Tang also spent a decade learning woodcarving from a carpenter whose family in Jiangxi's Leping city had passed down the trade for three generations.
Some of Tang's friends suggested he hire more workers for the renovation. However, Tang believes that the architecture of a garden is a reflection of the cultural foundation of its master. As such, he undertook every responsibility himself.
The garden is not only a recreation but also the brainchild of Tang's painstaking efforts. His strive for perfection has helped restore the garden as a historical landmark as well as nostalgia for the people of Sanlin.