A Virtual Tour of Ho Family Garden

Ho Family Garden

The best-known private garden of the late Qing dynasty

East Park
The construction of Ho family private garden began in 1883 and lasted 13 years. But the owner Ho Zhidao and his family only lived there for 18 years when they moved to Shanghai. In 2002, Ho family garden opened the door to the world as an important part of Yangzhou’s cultural heritage. The best-known private garden of the late Qing dynasty bloomed charm again. The four characters engraved on the moon gate were written by the owner. The original name of the Garden ”Ji Xiao”are taken from a Chinese poem written by Tao Yuanming, meaning returning to simplicity and nature.

The Garden is composed by East Garden, West Garden, residential building and the Pianshi Rockery House.

The peony hall gets its name from the carving on the gable roof. The unique composition and cutting technique make it a precious artwork.

The Peony Pavilion

Peonies, the garden flower of Ho family garden, are planting around the hall along with herbaceous peony. Each year, from April 18th to May 18th, the beautiful flowers decorate the garden as a colorful world during the Flowery March International Economy and Travel Tourist Festival.

Rockery Built Along the Wall

The Rockery

The rockery built along the wall here is quiet different from the original ones. It wriggles to the west part of the garden and connects with the Tower of Study. This unique design reveals that there is no royal road to learning.

The boat hall was built in a boat shape because the owner once worked in the customs dealing with boat affairs almost every day. In this hall, ladies meet with the visitors. The waves made of erect tiles and cobblestones on the ground create an artistic conception that the boat is sailing on the ocean. Thanks to the casement windows in the walls, the beautiful scenery will come into your sight from each side of the hall. The couplet indicates that the owner wants to retire from the corrupt officialdom and live in solitude.

The Boat Hall

The tranquil East Garden in the sunshine.

Reading Building

This is the tower of study. He shenghao, the eldest son of the owner studied here and now his test paper and a bulletin paper are exhibited here.

The Study Room

The red characters are written by cinnabar, and in the ancient time, emperors always instructed the memorial to the throne in red. In 1890, He Shenghao got the 9th of the imperial examination presided by the emperor and was awarded the Hanlin Bachelor of Hanlin Academy just like his grandfather.

West Park
West and East parks are both the private gardens of Ho Family.

Double-Path Cloister

Double-Path Cloister

The best corridor in the world is the covered flyover corridor in Ho family garden. With about 1500 meters in length, it connects all the buildings in the garden, and this structure is the only one in south Chinese garden.

In the middle of the corridor, it separates into two paths, which is considered the rudiment of modern flyover in china.

Thanks to the corridor, visitors can enjoy the tour even when it is raining heavily.

Pond-Centered Pavilion

The Pavilion

The pavilion standing in the center of the pond was used as the stage of Chinese opera. The water can work as a natural loudspeaker.

Many Chinese historical period drama are captured here.

The pavilion standing in the center of the pond was used as the stage of Chinese opera. The water can work as a natural loudspeaker.

There is a water pool in the center of the West Park, next to which stands the the Butterfly Hall where the banquets were hold.

Patterned Hollow Window

The Window

In the wall, there are flower windows, and they are all pattern differently and beautifully. Flower window is another feature of Ho family garden. Through the windows, visitors can view different sceneries on the other side.

Moon Enjoying Building——
The tower of moon was built for the owner’s mother. The iron fences were imported from France which show the social status of the owner. The four characters mean longevity. Nv zhen planted on both sides stand for moral integrity. The pattern consisted of a phoenix and deer on the ground symbolizes the owner was dutiful son.

Mansion of Yu Xiu
Yuxiu Building
Mansion of Yu Xiu is the residential building of Ho family. It got its name from the magnolia and the big leaf hydrangea planted in the garden.

The fireplace and the wooden cask make the building a typical example by combing eastern and western construction styles.

The Living Room

There are 16 suits of rooms in total and each of them used to be a living room. Now they are turned into archive rooms, telling the story of the Ho descendants, among whom there are many people who played or are playing an important role in Chinese politics, education and sciences.

This is the bedroom of the owner. In the middle, there is a Japanese sliding door. The fan imported from foreign country makes the room very cool in summer while the fire place makes it warm in winter. We can see both Chinese and western architecture here.


This is the study room of the owner. All the rooms in the building are in the same structure. The sliding door makes a room into two parts. The ceramic on the fireplace were imported from western country, and the phonograph is the original one.

The Study Room

The lady’s room is arranged according to He zuoxian. She is the great granddaughter of the owner. This room is in an European style, and it is the earliest European Architectural Style in Chinese private garden.

The Daughter's Room
Nanmu Hall
Ho’s main hall is also called Yugui Hall. This name reflects that the owner wanted to withdraw from corrupt officialdom and live solitude. Yugui hall is the largest and best preserved phoebe hall in Yangzhou which indicates the strong capacity and social status of Ho family.

The glass windows bring western architectural conception into traditional Chinese construction and makes the hall bright and vibrant.

The Yugui Hall
Horse Riding Building
The horse building is a guest house. The shape of it looks like a saddle. Huang Binghong, a master of traditional Chinese painting lived here for a precious period of time.

The right part of the hall is divided into three parts which makes it like a maze.

The Horse Building
Pian Shi Rockery House
Pian shi rockery house is the only existing copy of Shi Tao, a master of painting in later Ming dynasty. The peak height is 9.5 meters which is quite rare in south Chinese garden. It is seen as the best rockery in the world.

The rockery is piled up by Taihu stones, and there are two rooms inside it. From Pian shi rockery house, we can feel the artistic attainments of Shi tao.

The Small Hall

The four arts of ancient Chinese - zither, chess, literature and painting are hiding in this small hall by the water.

Literature: the Study

Zither: the beautiful sound of the spring water.

Painting: the natural picture of bamboo and rockery in the window.
Chess: A chess board made of hundred-years-old tree root.

Today Pianshi Rockery House is attracting tourists from across the world.

A big mirror is hanging on the wall in the rockery house. If you don't look carefully, you will easily think it's a window.

A "moon" reflected in the water.

Nanmu Hall, with more that 400 years' history, is the oldest in Ho Family Garden.

The ancestral hall
The ancestral hall has been open to public since 2007.

The ancestral hall is divided into two parts: Xiang Tang Hall (study, sharing and discipling) and Qin Tang Hall (ancestral worshiping).

The Ho Family Hall

Eleven regulations of Ho family are exhibited in Xiangtang Hall, and on the first day of every month, Ho’s children were ordered to learn these regulations here.

The next hall is called Qin Tang Hall. All the photos were donated by the descendants.

According to Ho descendants, there were portraits hanging in the hall. Now what you see are the copies of them.

The photo on the left is Hejun, the owner’s father. Beside him is the owner’s mother. Owning to his excellent performance, the imperial court honored him as the first rank in the post and also bestowed his ancestors as the first rank officer. The photo on the right are He zhidao and his wife.

In the restoration of the Qingtang hall, a well was found inside it. According to the records, the dwellings of local people in the south of Anhui are equipped with wells on both sides, which are warm in winter and cool in summer. The well here plays an educational role that it is to remind people of drinking from the source.

Yangzhou Ho Family Garden
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