The Master-of-Nets Garden is the historical monument for national reservation. And it is inscribed on the World Cultural Heritage List by UNESCO. The garden was founded in the 1180 in the Southern Song Dynasty. Its founder was Shi Zhengzhi, a high official of the Song Court. The earliest name of the garden was the Ten Thousand Volumes Hall. The residence was also known as Fisherman’s Retreat. In the reign of Emperor Qianlong (1736-1796) of the Qing Dynasty, a bureaucrat named Song Zongyuan bought it and built a garden on the site after he went into retirement. Drawing inspiration from the name of Fisherman’s Retreat, he called the garden Wangshi Yuan which meant Fisherman’s Garden, or the garden of the Master of the Fishing Nets. It most popular name in English is the Master-of-Nets Garden. Such a name could express the owner’s aloofness from politics and material pursuits. The garden covers an area of 1.35 acre, and is compactly laid out, with halls, corridors and pavilions well positioned. The garden is of typical residential style. It’s very unique in Suzhou. The residential area is in the eastern part of the garden. From south to north are arranged three elegantly decorated halls—the sedan hall, main hall and rear hall, which are symmetrically built along the same axis.
Net Master Garden