The Astor Chinese Garden Court, Ming dynasty. Medium:Taihu rocks, granite terrace, ceramic tile flooring, roof tiles, and door frames, various woods (nan wood columns, pine beams, gingko latticework), brass fittings. The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York.
The Chinese word for landscape shanshui literally means “mountains and water” which are both necessary components of these gardens with the rocks being an important and symbolic one. Rocks set on end are called peaks (feng); piled compositions are called artificial mountains (jiashan). The overall principle in the garden design is to create the illusion of space beyond space–giving the viewer different vantage points through the lattice of the windows and doors.