Mengxi Garden, Risidence of Shen Kuo – ticket, Opening Hours, Location, and Highlights

mengxi garden zhenjiang residence of shen kuo

Mengxi Garden (梦溪园) served as the residence of the eminent scientist Shen Kuo during his later years in the Northern Song Dynasty. It was within the tranquil surroundings of Mengxi Garden that Shen Kuo penned his monumental scientific work, “Dream Pool Essays” (“梦溪笔谈”). Dr. Joseph Needham, a renowned British scientist specializing in the history of Chinese science and technology, praised “Dream Pool Essays” as a scientific landmark of the 11th century.

In historical records, Mengxi Garden stood out as a prominent residential garden of the Song Dynasty, although its original appearance has long disappeared. The present-day reconstruction of the garden is based on Shen Kuo’s “Zi Zhi” (Autobiography). The garden featured several structures, including An Lao Hall, Xiao Xiao Hall, Qiao Xuan Pavilion, Shen Zhai Pavilion, and more. Additionally, a stream meandered through the garden, enhancing its picturesque charm. An Lao Hall, situated atop Bai Hua Rockeries, served as the main residence for Shen Kuo’s family. Xiao Xiao Hall was a place for receiving guests, while Qiao Xuan Pavilion served as Shen Kuo’s bedroom and workspace for reading and writing.


Table of Contents


Basic Information

Estimated Length of Tour0.5 – 1 hour
Ticket PriceFree
Opening Hours10.00 – 17.00
Telephone Number0086-0511-85286597


Location and Transportation

Mengxi Garden is located at 21 Mengxiyuan Lane in Zhenjiang City, Jiangsu Province, China. Tourists can take bus 1, 9, 10, 19, 24, 28, 39, 51, 60, 75, 81, 82, 84, 102, 109, 113, 116, 201, 202, 208, or 29, get off at Mengxi Square West Stop (梦溪广场西站) and walk about 150 meters to the north to reach the attraction.


Who is Shen Kuo

Shen Kuo (沈括), born in 1030 in Hangzhou, was a scholar with a passion for learning from a young age. He excelled academically, eventually becoming a Jinshi, and during the reign of Emperor Shenzong, actively supported and promoted the reforms led by Wang Anshi. Shen Kuo held progressive political views and rose to the position of Hanlin Academician. His broad knowledge and literary skills, combined with a lifetime dedication to scientific research, led him to make significant contributions in astronomy, geography, mathematics, calendrics, geology, biology, chemistry, medicine, and more. Shen Kuo emerged as a leading scientist of his time, with his late work, “Dream Pool Essays,” being a valuable scientific masterpiece, particularly in the field of natural sciences, showcasing advancements at the global forefront.


Exhibition Halls in Mengxi Garden

The contemporary Mengxi Garden consists of two rows of six plain blue-brick houses and a small courtyard. Above the entrance gate, a stone plaque with the bold calligraphy of the renowned Chinese scientist Mao Yisheng bears the characters “梦溪园,” signifying Mengxi Garden. Stepping into the first building, visitors are greeted by a frontal portrait of Shen Kuo, depicting his dignified and graceful demeanor during his tenure overseeing the Central Financial Institutions of the Northern Song Dynasty. To the left and right are reception and exhibition rooms, featuring a sand table model depicting the original layout of the ancient Mengxi Garden and displaying precious artifacts. Among them, an engraving of Shen Kuo’s inscriptions on a cliff and the ancient stone stele of “Mengxi” attract attention. The reddish-brown rectangular stele, inscribed with the sturdy characters of “梦溪,” dates back to the eighth year of Emperor Shen Zong’s Yuanfeng era (1085) in the Song Dynasty, confirming the year of Mengxi Garden’s establishment and naming. Surrounding the room are biographical sketches and significant events in Shen Kuo’s life.

Exiting the first building leads to a small garden with artificial hills, a flowing stream, an ancient well, emerald bamboo, stone pathways, and flower walls, all reminiscent of the enchanting landscapes once found in Mengxi Garden. The second building serves as an exhibition hall highlighting Shen Kuo’s scientific achievements. At the entrance, attention is drawn to a life-size seated statue of Shen Kuo, wearing a blue robe and traditional headgear, displaying a serene expression. In his left hand, he tightly grips a meteorite, while his right hand rests on a book, reflecting deep contemplation. Flanking the statue are displays of records of magnetic declination from Western Europe dating back four hundred years. The surroundings also feature a copy of “Dream Pool Essays,” published in Chinese during Japan’s Edo period, and Dr. Joseph Needham’s book “Science and Civilisation in China,” along with tangible artifacts and images showcasing Shen Kuo’s scientific achievements throughout his life.


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