Showing 4 results

Archival description
Dr. Sun Yat-Sen Garden Society fonds Suzhou (China) With digital objects
Print preview View:

Dr. Sun Yat-Sen garden - a friendly bridge

Item is a documentary on the construction of the Dr. Sun Yat-Sen garden. The first section discusses the development of the classical garden in Suzhou, its history, and its purposes. This narration is illustrated with footage of morning scenes of streets and parks, the Yangzi River, and several gardens in the city. The second and much longer section covers the construction of the Vancouver garden. Footage of the construction is combined with narration describing the process; with emphasis throughout placed on how little the construction of the garden has changed since the Song Dynasty in the use of hand tools, traditional building methods, and traditional materials.

Specific stages of construction examined are the importing of the materials from China, the construction of the pillars and the assembling of the pavilions, clay tile roofing and roof finishing, the placement of Lake Tai rocks and the thin tall stones, the courtyard paving and internal tiling, the ‘leak window’ construction, and the construction and finishing work of the screens and railings in the carpentry shop. Also included is a short interview with Joe Wai, project architect, in which he discusses the background of the garden project. The documentary concludes with footage of the opening ceremony with a Chinese delegation, and footage of the completed garden.

Jan Walls - storytelling in the garden

Item is an amateur recording of a lecture/performance in the main hall of the Dr. Sun Yat-Sen Garden by Dr. Jan Walls on the subject of humorous Chinese folk storytelling. The general theme of the lecture was drawing parallels between the low class ‘vulgar’ folk stories and the high class classicism of the gardens, with emphases on the themes of surprise, perspective, exaggeration and distortion of size and time, and the distinction between fantasy and reality. For each short story he presents it (or a piece of it) in Mandarin first, and then presents a translation in English, often with the accompaniment of kuai ban, traditional bamboo clapping instruments.

The stories presented include a story about a man who lives a whole lifetime in a year, a giant woman with even more giant shoes, a country bumpkin at a birthday celebration, illustrations of beggar storyteller themes, and a ‘dummy’ paying a new year’s visit to his in-laws. Following the lecture there is a question period which covers subjects of self-deprecation, storytelling beggars, poetic elements (e.g. metaphor, rhyme, rhythm, and alliteration), and personal questions about Dr. Walls own experiences. The lecture is bookended with an introduction and thanks by [Nilene Yaas], the education coordinator of the garden.

People will talk

The item is a recording of a segment of a longer news program called ‘People Will Talk’ hosted by Laurier LaPierre on the subject of the Dr. Sun Yat-Sen Classical Chinese garden. The segment is in two main parts, the first part is a report by David Kincaid which includes footage of the construction of the gardens and later footage of the gardens in their completed state. Narration accompanying the footage describes the history of the classical Chinese garden in general, the construction efforts, and the goals of the final project, and some of the theories around the art form of the classical Chinese garden.

The second part is an interview with Sue Yung Li, a landscape architect and filmmaker from San Francisco. They discuss the role of the classical Chinese garden in Chinese culture as a source of artistic inspiration, the difference between a Chinese and a Japanese garden, the importance of rock and water in the garden, the accessibility of these kinds of gardens to the western audience. They also discuss elements of Li’s personal life, footage of the construction of the gardens and later footage of the gardens in their completed state.

Refreshment for the Heart

Item is a documentary film about the construction of the Dr. Sun Yat-Sen Classical Chinese Gardens. It is divided into two sections: the first section is a discussion of the classical Chinese gardens in Suzhou while the second, much longer, section discusses the construction of the gardens in Vancouver. It uses footage filmed during the construction process, descriptive narration, and short segments of an interview with Joe Wai, one of the project architects.

The documentary opens with narration about the importance of water to the region and the history of the region, illustrated with footage of boating and agricultural life. The city of Suzhou is introduced with narrated scenes of the city, canals, and tourist destinations. Next the film explores a few of Suzhou’s famous gardens. The gardens discussed are: The Master of Fish Nets Garden, The Humble Administrator’s Garden, Lion Grove Garden, and The Lingering Garden. The film then concludes this section with a discussion of design elements and the Taoist elements of each feature.

The film then moves to Vancouver, beginning with footage of famous city landmarks and city views (e.g. Lions Gate Bridge, Canada Place, the Skytrain) with an emphasis on the modern technological nature of the city. Street scenes of Chinatown are the backdrop to a discussion of the history of Chinese people in Canada, the development of the Chinese Cultural center, and the pre-construction process of getting the approval and funding to build the garden. Discussion of the construction of the garden focuses on the Suzhou artisans who built the garden according to traditional means, emphasising the use of traditional tools, building methods, and materials. This is illustrated with footage of moving the Lake Tai rocks by hand and placing them into position.

Tthe film talks about the artisans, with scenes of the builders socialising at a banquet, singing, and playing table tennis. The documentary then focuses on the finishing touches and role they play in the finished garden. The documentary concludes with the official opening ceremony with dignitaries and the artisans followed by footage of the completed garden.