The Landscape Guide

Confucian planning

Asian gardens design and history overview

The great Chinese philosopher argued for an ordered society founded on the concepts of ceremony, filial piety, loyalty, humaneness and gentlemanly behaviour. They are ethical principles and led to the layout of geometrically ordered cities on a north-south axis with dwellings facing south.

The best example of a Confucian city plan is the Forbidden City in Beijing. The earliest planned Chinese cities were in effect palace cities - the other buildings within the compound were a support structure for the imperial family. Regulated markets and residential quarters were later included with the walled grid layout.

The best example of an aristocratic garden and dwelling is the Kong family mansion in Shandong Province (on the lower reaches of the Yellow River). It is near Confucius' shrine and the family claimed descent from Confucius. The mansion occupies 4.6 hectares and is also the best example of a Ming dynasty residence.