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    The Retreat and Reflection Garden is a major view spot of Tongli Town. It was built by Ren Lansheng, a dismissed official who returned to his hometown in the Qing Dynasty, whose name means “meditation over one's previous faults when discharged from duty”.
    The Retreat and Reflection Garden is composed of the housing complex,garden courts and a garden which are aligned on a west-east axis.
??The housing complex consists of inner and outer houses. The outer house has a succession of three halls.The inner house to the east is made up of two two-storied buildings in the shape of “U”, reached by two stairways on two sides.
?? The spacious garden court is the transitional area between the housing complex and the garden. There's a boat-like pavilion near the entrance for the reception of guests ,a form of architecture typical in the Venetian region of Tongli.
??The garden to the east is the cream of the property. Small and exquisite buildings, built close to the pond, are in admirable proportion to water scapes and landscape. The thatched Hall of Retreat and REflection, a main structure of the garden, was constructed on the moon-viewing terrace, from which one is able to feast his eyes on surrounding scenes. Carefully arranged and well-spaced buildings around the pond include the Lotus Blooms Pavilion, the Stone Boat, the Hardship Terrace, the Zizania Rain Brings Coolness Pavilion, and the Celetial Bridge which is, in fact, a rare double-gallery in the south of the Lower Yangtze. To the southwest of the garden is the Osmanthus Fragrans Lour Hall in a peaceful and enclosed mini-garden within the garden. At the northwest corner is the Gathering Beauty Pavilion that overlooks the entire garden. The pavilion,connected with the Lasting Spring and Moon Viewing Tower in the middle part, borrows scenes from the garden and vice versa, an excellent example of garden scenes in the south of the Lower Yangtze.
??In short, the Retreat and Reflection garden is full of changing vistas. There're gardens within the garden, principal and subordinate scenes. Space, including water space,has been ingeniously handled to suggest more space. Endless scenes have been created within limits. It serves as a fine example of how the few surpassing the many.
??The Retreat and Reflection Garden possesses 24 buildings, 28 tablets and plateaux, 12 steles, and 15 valuable old trees such as magnolia denudata Desr., celtis sinensis Pers,etc., which fall into 9 catalogues.

Edit by: ch
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