I’ve recently returned home from my travels and work in China and when I saw this week’s theme of “leading lines” from Where’s My Backpack, I immediately thought of the Yuyuan Gardens in Old Shanghai. These beautiful gardens were first established in 1559 as a private garden created by Pan Yunduan to please his father Pan En, a high-ranking official in the Ming Dynasty. They had fallen into disrepair and were almost completely destroyed by the British during the Opium Wars; fortunately, they have been restored and provide a quiet respite from the chaos and noise of the tourist marketplace of Old Shanghai.
Pan was a master of using the “leading lines” to beckon the visitor into the gardens. I imagine Pan Yunduan’s visitors as they were drawn further in, wandering through the harmony of water, wood, and stone, and I can picture them sitting on one of the many benches, meditating or gossiping.