Be transported into Botanica’s Chinese Garden of Friendship! As a tribute of friendship to Wichita’s sister city, Kaifeng, Botanica displays traditional Chinese gardening in a majestic showcase of art and architecture.
The Garden was designed in two major parts. The south side includes the entrance, courtyard and the Rose Wind Pavilion. This area is known as the earthly world, an area where people live, work and experience earthly life. The heavenly world or dream world is on the north side of the Garden. This area encompasses landscape scenery, a pond, stream, Thousand-Foot Bridge, Treasured Friend Pavilion and a waterfall. It is a peaceful place reflecting an ideal dream world.
The 10 Horses sculpture depicts the legend of the Emperor Wang Mu. He dreamed of being a deity and visiting a heavenly paradise. His chariot and horses took him there to partake of the peach blossoms, a symbol of immortality. In this sculpture, the sixth horse ran so fast through the yellow mountains that it looked like 10 horses.
On the east wall of the Garden, view a replica of Along the River During the Qingming Festival. Attributed to Song Dynasty artist Zhang Zeduan, it captures the daily life of people and the landscape of the capital. The Qingming Scroll is 64’ long. It is the most famous scroll in China and depicts a springtime river festival. Some have called it the Mona Lisa of China.
The three murals on the west wall of the terrace are from original Chinese paintings by Chiaw-Weai Loo. They are Crane Couples, Mandarin Duck Pair and Peacock Duo. Cranes and Pine Trees are symbols of longevity. Mandarin ducks symbolize a happy marriage. Peacock is the king of birds, and Peony is the king of flowers. Paintings with these two objects symbolically suggest the perfect and desired lifestyle and happiness.
Before entering the Garden, observe the blue and white porcelain donor walls. Each donor’s name is inscribed into a landscape of mountains, trees, hills, bamboo, willow, lily pads, cranes and koi fish.
The Dragon Wall, hand-made of more than 200 pieces of glazed porcelain, portrays a dragon in motion. Fu Cang Long, the Treasure Dragon, with a pearl in its mouth, is the protector and keeper of underground treasure. Dragons represent supreme spiritual power in Chinese culture. Botanica’s Dragon resides along the stream with hopes of bringing rain for the Garden.
Foo Dogs guard the entrance to Botanica’s Chinese Garden of Friendship. Often placed outside palaces, government offices and tombs in China, they are made of granite. Typically found in male and female pairs, the male’s paw is on the ball representing supremacy over the world. The female is restraining a playful cub, representing nurturing and fertility.
Four Beauties is one of most famous legends in China. In the story, the first lady was so beautiful the birds flew to the ground to listen to her. The second lady was so beautiful the flowers would close in her presence. When the third lady walked in the gardens at night, the moon clouded over. Fish followed the fourth lady because she was so beautiful.
Located in Lotus Hall, the Four Seasons piece highlights flowers of each season. The Peony in spring, Lotus in summer, Chrysanthemum in fall and Plum in winter.
Tian Lai means the sounds of Mother Nature. The water in the Garden has a soft soothing sound, hence called Heavenly Sound Water.
The 10 Leak Windows, painted in celadon green, allow light to leak into the garden and views of the garden to leak out into the world. As you enter the Chinese Garden of Friendship, you will see large leak windows with flower designs. The Dragon Wall features a round Chrysanthemum Leak Window.
Wichita artist Jennie Becker painted Plum Tree. Located in the Rose Wind Pavilion, it depicts a Plum Tree in full bloom.
The Thousand Foot Bridge represents Wichita’s friendship with Kaifeng. Li Bai, a famous poet in Chinese history, has a poem titled Farewell My Friend Wanglun. In the poem, Li’s friendship with Wanglun is deeper than the thousand feet deep lake. The Thousand Foot Bridge is a place to pause and think while looking at the world reflected in the pure and peaceful water.
The Treasured Friend or Mountain Pavilion promotes inner peace and personal awareness. It is the highest point in the Garden, a place to sit and meditate. The Pavilion is reserved for enjoying great views of the waterfall. Several holy rocks found nearby represent the mountains. All of these limestone rocks came from the Kansas Flint Hills.