Xiaolian Villa (Little Lotus Villa), Nanxun – Ticket, Opening Hours, Location, and Highlights

xiaolian villa nanxun

Xiaolian Villa, also known as Little Lotus Villa (小莲庄), is a private garden built by Liu Yong, the wealthiest of the four great families of late Qing dynasty Nanxun. Construction began in the 11th year of Emperor Guangxu’s reign (1885) and took forty years to complete, finishing in 1924. The villa was named in admiration of the Lotus Villa built by the Yuan dynasty artist Zhao Mengfu. Today, Xiaolian Villa is a nationally recognized cultural heritage site in China.

Xiaolian Villa spans a total area of 17,399 square meters and is divided into three main sections: the outer garden, the Liu family ancestral hall, and the Yizhuang (charity house). The garden is centered around a lotus pond, with the landscape designed to harmonize with the natural terrain, creating an inner and outer garden. The inner garden, located in the southeast corner of the outer garden, is a garden within a garden, featuring a small mountain as its focal point. Inspired by Tang dynasty poet Du Mu’s poem “Mountain Journey,” the garden includes a pond with lotus flowers, rocky outcrops forming the mountain, and winding paths flanked by pine trees and red maples. This miniature landscape resembles a grand bonsai and is separated from the outer garden by white walls with lattice windows, creating a sense of connection and separation between the two areas.

Table of Contents

Basic Information

Estimated Length of Tour1 – 2 hours
Ticket PriceIncluded in the ticket for Nanxun Ancient Town
Opening Hours8.00 – 17.30 (1st April – 31st October)
8.00 – 17.00 (1st November – 31st March)
Telephone Number0086-0572-3016999

Location and Transportation

Xiaolian Villa, also known as Little Lotus Villa, is located at 51 Renrui Road, in the town of Nanxun, Huzhou City, Zhejiang Province, China. To get there, you can take bus 139, 165, 168, or Huzhou 162 and get off at Xiaolian villa Stop (小莲庄站).

Highlights of Xiaolian villa

Main Buildings

main buildings in xiaolian villa nanxun

The main architectural ensemble includes several key structures around the lotus pond. On the south bank of the pond stands the “Tuixiu Pavilion,” an exquisite example of Jiangnan-style waterside pavilions. This pavilion is linked to the owner’s study, “Yangxin Dezhai,” through a winding corridor. Due to the abundance of banana plants in the courtyard, this study is also known as the “Banana Hall.”

On the north bank of the pond, the “Zhegu Creek” features a rockery and dwarf bamboo along its banks, with a hexagonal pavilion situated on the dike. The east bank of the pond once housed the “Seventy-two Mandarins Tower,” which was destroyed during the war, but a century-old wisteria plant remains. In bloom, the wisteria drapes like a purple ribbon over the bridge, offering a stunning visual display.

The west bank features the “Dongsheng Pavilion,” a Western-style building commonly referred to as the “Miss’s Building” for its exotic charm. Additionally, the west bank houses the “Jingxiang Shiku,” a place where the owner and literary friends would gather to compose and recite poetry.

Liu Family Ancestral Hall

liu family ancestral hall in xiaolian villa nanxun

The Liu family ancestral hall, separated from the garden by a long corridor, is another major architectural group within Xiaolian Villa. Construction began in 1888 and was completed in 1897. The ancestral hall serves as the venue for the Liu family’s ancestor worship ceremonies. It is oriented north-south, with structures arranged in sequence from south to north, including a screen wall, stone archway, entrance hall, middle hall, main hall, and Xinde Hall. The main hall features a plaque with the inscription “Honoring Ancestors and Promoting Harmony” bestowed by the Xuantong Emperor, a symbol of the Liu family’s prestige.

stone inscription gallery in xiaolian villa nanxun

To the west of Xiaolian Villa lies a long corridor adorned with stone inscriptions. The corridor walls are embedded with 45 engraved stones, including works from the “Wisteria Flower Pavilion Collection” and the “Plum Blossom Immortal Pavilion Collection.” These inscriptions are known for their vigorous calligraphy and literary elegance, rivaling the famous “Bohai Treasure Collection” from Ninghai. The inscriptions encompass a variety of calligraphic styles, including regular script, cursive script, and seal script, and are noted for their meticulous craftsmanship and cultural significance.

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