Marco Polo was dazzled by the riches of China – brocaded clothes, magnificent palaces but found peace in the tranquil gardens. The Great Chinese Gardens traces the history of some of the world’s most beautiful gardens, and the ancient principles on which they were designed. The text by expert Fang Xiaofeng is clear and informative, but it is the illustrations that take centre stage. Hundreds of colour images, including modern photography and traditional fine art, show how the Chinese art of gardening was perfected over the centuries. The illustrations, combined with notes on design technique and plant care, will inspire and enable gardeners to create their own oasis of tranquility and harmony, as well as casting light on wider aspects of Chinese culture and arts, such as the importance placed on harmony and balance within the concept of beauty.