The Chinese Lang (covered corridor)
and Ting (pavilion or kiosk) represent two typical architectural styles
in Chinese landscape gardening.
Lang: Covered Corridor
A long, belt-like structure,
Lang, the covered corridor is a roofed passage usually with low railings
and long side benches. It not only adds beauty of the surrounding scenery but
also plays a useful role by providing people with shade from the sun and
protection from the rain,
The Chinese Lang can be divided into
You Lang which links two or more buildings, Hui Lang (the
winding corridor), Qu Lang (the zigzag corridor), Hua Lang which
is used for the display of potted flowers, and Shui Lang which borders on
lakes or goes over ponds.
Among all the classical corridors in
China, Chang Lang (the
Long Corridor) in Beijing's
Summer Palace is one of the most distinguished and a
unique treasure in the art of gardening arrangement. An exquisite winding
structure of 728 meters, it stretches its 273 bays between the hill and the
lake, broken at intervals by four double-eaved octagonal pavilions, which
represent the four seasons of the year. All its beams are painted with colored
pictures of landscapes, human figures, flowers, birds and scenes of historical
and popular stories. These paintings total more than 40,000 in number, and the
visitor would need eight hours just to linger two seconds before each
As history records, the Long Corridor was
built by Emperor Qianlong of the Qing Dynasty (1644-1911) in order that his
mother might safely enjoy the scenes of rain or snow over the lake.
Famous private Chinese gardens, located
mostly in the southern province, are often ornamented with corridors. In
Suzhou's Zhuozheng Garden (The
Humble Administrator's Garden), part of the winding corridor is erected over a
pond and has been described as a "rainbow over water". With its reflection in
the water, sometimes ruffled by a breeze, it is a favorite spot for visitors to
take snapshots of themselves. In Liu Garden (The
Lingering Garden), another well-known garden of Suzhou, the
buildings, pavilion, terrace, hall and tower are linked by a 600-meter-long
corridor. Its wooden walls have fancy cut-through window through which visitors
can enjoy the surrounding scenes, and they are also inset with 300
stone-engravings of calligraphy works and poems by famous ancient masters; both
the windows and the engravings are regarded as masterpieces of their respective
The Chinese pavilion, Ting,
which is also named a kiosk, is built normally either of wood or stone or bamboo
and may be in figures of square, triangle, hexagon, octagon, a five-petal
flower, and a fan, etc.
Ting has a long history in China. Differing from the present functions,
in the Zhou Dynasty (11th contrary-256 BC), Ting was a sentry at the
frontier fortress for defense. Later, in the Qin and Han dynasties (about 200
AD), Ting changed into a name for a certain institution in the
countryside. It was in the Tang Dynasty (618-907) that Ting finally
developed into a typical architectural style in Chinese landscape
All pavilions described as Ting have this in
common: they have columns to support the roof, but no walls. In parks or at
scenic spots, pavilions are built on slopes to command the panorama or on
lakeside to create intriguing images in the water. They are not only part of the
landscape but also belvederes from which to enjoy the scenery.
functions differently. The wayside pavilion is called Liang Ting (cooling
kiosk) to provide people with shade from the sun and protection from the rain,
and also a place to rest. The Shibei Ting (stele pavilion) gives a roof
to a stone tablet usually on which were engraved records of an important event.
Ting also stands on some bridges or over water-wells.
Rare among pavilions are those built of
bronze. The most famous of this kind is Baoyun Ge (Pavilion of Precious
Clouds) in Beijing's
Summer Palace. The entire structure including its
roof and columns is cast in bronze. Metallic blue in color, it is 7.5 meters
tall and weighs 207 tons. Elegant and dignified, it is popularly known as the
The largest Ting in China is also in the Summer Palace. The ancient building, named Kuoru
Ting (the Pavilion of Expanse), has a floor space of 130 square meters.
Its roof, converging in a crown on top and resting on three rings of columns (24
round ones and 16 square ones), is octagonal in form and has two eaves. With all
its woodwork colorfully painted, the pavilion looks at once poised and majestic,
well in harmony with the surrounding landscape.
In Beijing's Jingshan Park, there are five pavilions on the ridges.
From east to west they are: Guanmiao Ting (Wonderful View Pavilion),
Zhoushang Ting (Surrounding View Pavilion), Wanchun Ting
(Everlasting Spring Pavilion), Fulan Ting (Panoramic View Pavilion) and
Jifang Ting (Harmonious Fragrance Pavilion). From the hilltop, visitors
can have a bird's-eye view of the city. There used to be a bronze statue of a
god in each of the pavilions. Unfortunately four of them were stolen by the
allied forces of the eight world powers in 1,900, and the one on the uppermost
pavilion was totally damaged.
In modern times, kiosks (also called
Ting in Chinese) have been erected in urban areas as postal stalls,
newsstands or photographers' sheds for snapshot