Jinan …where Dad grew up part 2

Continued from Part 1

According to this one ..

Zhang Yuan, also known as The Ten-Thousand Bamboo Garden due to large clusters of bamboo was built in the Yuan Dynasty (1271 – 1368). The first owner was Yin Shidan 殷士儋 (? – 1582) who was a Jiajing Jinshi (of 1547). He became 宰相 prime minister only to (明隆庆四年) resign from the post in 1570 due to corruption. He depart from the officialdom completely and moved to the garden, naming it 通乐园 – Tongle Yuan, Garden of Happy All Around. Some scholar believed he also named the garden as 通泺园 – Tongluo Yuan. 泺 is another name for the famed 趵突泉 Baotu Spring to its east and their water courses/routes are interconnected.

The garden felt to despair in the intervening years till Wang Ping 王苹 (1661 – 1720) who was Kangxi (四十五年) Jinshi (of 1706) came to the rescue. He was disenchanted by the literary trend and seek refuge in the garden, which he humbly named 二十四泉草堂 the Hat of the 24th Spring because 望水泉, one of the three springs in the garden is listed as the 24th Spring out of 72 springs in Jinan. He replanted bamboo and restored the garden to glory.

After he passed away, the literati were all decamped, the garden once full of songs and poetry again felt into eerie and despair. My Great Grandfather purchased it in 1912, a year after the abdication of the last emperor Puyi when he was the commander of the Fifth Military Region of the North Standing Army (later army inspector and governor of Shandong Province). Initially it was meant for his boss Yuan Shikai but unfortunately Yuan passed away soon in 1916. My Zengzu then decided to make it his own residence and spent the next 10 years to renovate and expand.

Zhang Yuan locates about 1 km west of Pearl Spring. It was middle of September, tourists have all but gone home. We found a parking spot easily along the fence. The entrance to Zhang Yuan is very spacious yet enclosed. A set of vertical couplet that read


adorn the door, alone with two playful lions.

Architecturally it combines both northern and southern courtyard style, sits on 1.2万平方米 or 3 acres (21亩?) of land. It had one flower garden, three springs, four pavilions and five bridges. It’s aesthetically pleasing on the eyes and senses. The 186 rooms and 13 courtyards (石榴院、杏花院、海棠院、木瓜院 ..?) are divided into three big sections that facing each other circularly.

known as the springs city because of its 72 famed natural artesian fountains. Three of the gushing springs, Wangshuiquan 望水泉, Baiyunquan 白云泉, and Donggaoquan 东高泉 are located in Zhang Yuan, also called Wanzhu Yuan, Ten Thousand Bamboo Garden. It is located in downtown, was built during the Yuan Dynasty (1271 – 1368). Zengzu purchased it in 1912 and spent the next decade renovating and enlarging to its present size. It has 186 rooms within 13 courtyards, divided into three sections, with four pavilions and five bridges, sits on 3 acres of land. Most the houses are one level but few are two stories high. Chinese see multiple generations under one roof as a sign of fortune and prosperity.


(“Number One Spring under the Heaven” gushed g Dynasty Emperor Qian Long
The famed 趵突泉公园 Baotuquan Park, Spurting Spring (sometimes also translates as Jet Spring) in the heart of the city is the premier artesian karst. It located east to Zhang’s and they were combined in 1999, to the present park.)

officially open to the public in 1984

Shandong cuisine (鲁菜) is one of the eight great traditions of Chinese cuisine. It can be

Shanda university … Zhou


Dad was born in Beijing, had intermittent stays in Tianjin but primarily grew up on the Zhang’s Garden 张园 (or the Ten Thousand Bamboo 万竹园) in JiNan.
On the second day in Jinan, Dabo and Auntie Jennie couldn’t wait to take me there, visiting their childhood home where abundant happy memories were housed.

more pix on FB, the stone sculptures
festoon doors

the office


Unlike the Xiao Pangu 小盘谷 tour where it was only me and the surroundings, I had knowledgeable tour guides who loved to recount their days on this estate. It was vivid and lively. Few times I just closed my eyes and trying to embedded myself into their lives and into another era.

The tour begin with the back of their mother, my grandma’s bedroom. It was covered with lush ivies. They competed with each other for the memories: where, what, when, why, who … It’s immensely enjoyable.

The little library was once a restaurant a decade ago. Dabo got to celebrate his 70th birthday there.


Could I finally connect with my Dad?

More pix on FB, a few doors and festoon doors

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