The imperial gardens were elegant resorts for all forms of entertainment. Rapid developments in Chinese society, the economy and the arts lent great impetus to the construction of elaborate and elegant imperial parks, while the technical virtuosity of the waterways and a preference for exotically formed rockeries produced enchanting and constantly changing man-made worlds. The genre reached its zenith with the uanmingyuan garden, generally accepted as one of the finest of its kind ever created in China.
* Photographs: Beihai; Zhonghai-Nanhai; Summer Palace; Yuanmingyuan Garden; Summer Resort at Chengde. * Text: The Embryonic Form and Later Development of Chinese Gardens. A Gradual Metamorphosis from Primitive Hunting Grounds to Exquisite Resorts for Enjoyment.- The Period of Ultimate Splendour. The Quing Dynasty Gardens, Culmination of Imperial Garden Architecture.- Appendix.- Notes to Photographs.- Maps.