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Wandering through the Chinese Scholar's Garden at Hamilton Gardens is a journey of discovery. Above the Garden's tiled entrance way, the bold red Ting Pavillion seems within easy reach to the Chinese Scholar's Garden. Take your time to get to it and you will be well rewarded.
A winding journey takes you over the seasonally blooming Wisteria Bridge, across the Island of Whispering Birds, past the elusive Hidden Philospher, and through lush bamboo to finally reach the Pavillion and its breathtaking views of the Waikato River.
Scholars' gardens represented an imaginative world of allegory, fantasy, mystery and surprise and were rich in evocatice symbolism, ambiguity and thought provoking artiface. While these are elements found in some other ancient gardens and architecture, generally they are unfamiliar to modern western gardeners who focus on the functions of a garden and on plant collections. Hence we often find them difficult to understand and to value.
The art of Chinese gardening is one of the oldest artistic expressions in existence with a heritage that stretches back to the Han Period, at least 2,000 years ago. Because Chinese gardening has been a very influential art form it is sometimes called the 'mother of gardens'. Gardens of the Han Period were designed in close relationship to the contemporary arts of Chinese landscape painting, poetry, calligraphy and music (often written in or about the gardens and the landscapes that they evoke). Notable people (from Wuxi and Taiwan) have designed the examples of calligraphy in the Chinese Scholar's Garden to give this garden prestige. Eventually more calligraphy giving quotes, mottoes, and poetic verse may be added to the garden.
Come visit and explore for yourself.
Hamilton Gardens is a conceptual garden based in the Waikato that explores the context, history and meaning of gardens through time, and from around the world. It is internationally recognised for its unique concept and is the Waikato region’s most popular tourist destination.
Only five minutes drive from Hamilton’s CBD, the Gardens is open 7 days a week during daylight hours and entry and parking is free. Mobility scooters, wheelchairs and pushchairs are available to hire and guided tours are available.