Shen Garden is located in between Yanan road and Luxun Road. It was initially established in the South Song Dynasty. When bringing up Shen Garden, Chinese people may immediately picture in their mind the image drawn by the two famous Ci poems and the closely related love story.
You may be confused about the difference between poems and Ci poems of China. Briefly, Ci poems have certain tunes and can be sung while poems cannot. Ci poems have varieties of tunes, each of which was entitled with a particular name, such as Chai Tou Feng, Yu Mei Ren, and Pu Sa Man, so as to be distinguished easily from each other. Such tunes refer to Ci Pai in Chinese. And Chai Tou Feng, Yu Mei Ren, and Pu Sa Man respectively refer to a certain Ci Pai (tune). When composing a Ci poem, you should first choose a Ci Pai (tune) you prefer, and then fill in words to fit the chosen tune. And different people may fill in different words which express different meaning in the same Ci Pai (tune). Hence, Ci poems are somewhat like songs. It is common for you to come across several Ci poems which share a common Ci Pai (tune), for example Chai Tou Feng, while have different wording.
The two famous Ci poems were both composed according to the Ci Pai (tune): Chai Tou Feng. They were respectively written by Lu You and his ex-wife: Tang Wan. The two expressed their deep and hopeless love in their Ci poems. Lu You was an extremely talented poet in the South Song Dynasty. He was born in 1125 in Shaoxing, and married Tang Wan in 1144. They were deep in love with each other. But, Lu You芒鈧劉s mother was not satisfied with Tang Wan. She finally made her son cast off Tang Wan and send her home in 1145. Afterwards, Lu You and Tang Wan respectively got married to other people and lost contact with each other.
Ten years later, when Lu You was enjoying the beautiful spring scenery in Shen Garden, he encountered Tang Wan and her husband, who too came to Shen Garden to enjoy the spring. The two met with sorrow as deep as sea. And the deeply-buried love seems to be the hardest word between them. Tang Wan sent a servant to send food and drink to Lu You as a greeting and then left. Lu You recalled the happy memory which was gone forever, and felt so sad that he got drunk and wrote a Ci poem on a wall of Shen Garden, which expressed his sorrow and regret. Later, Tang Wan saw the poem and wrote one in reply. She was so disheartened that she fell sick and died before long. Her death left an incurable scar on Lu You芒鈧劉s heart. Lu You revisited the garden for many times and wrote a lot of poems in memory of Tang Wan. These poems together with the two Ci poems and the tragic love story made Shen Garden a famous garden.