A CORNER of a Stratford garden will soon be forever Chinese.
Stratford District Council has been gifted a Peony Pavilion from the People’s Government of Fuzhou Municipality as part of an on-going cultural exchange and friendship project centred on the relationship established around the area’s respective playwrights – Shakespeare and Tang Xianzu.
The Peony Pavilion is a typical symbol for Tang Xianzu’s works and a classical symbol of Chinese culture, and a traditional part of the country’s architecture. The covered structure without surrounding walls is often found within temples, although pavilions are not exclusively religious structures.
The pavilion will be located in the Firs Garden in Grove Road – subject to the relevant planning permissions being agreed – and is expected to be in place early next year.
District council leader Tony Jefferson said: “We are extremely grateful for this gift. It is a tangible symbol of the international status of Stratford-upon-Avon.
“Both the UK and China have rich and distinctive cultures and by sharing our history and culture we will deepen the already strong ties. It is hoped that our cultural collaboration will continue to yield results for businesses and this growing cultural partnership will help boost trade, jobs and investment.”
Mr Ding Hua from Central Culture Development Group UK was pleased to see the friendship flourishing.
He added: “As a project champion between Fuzhou and Stratford-upon-Avon, it is pleasing to see another cornerstone of friendship being established. It is an honour to be involved and contribute to such a meaningful international exchange between China and the UK.
“And hope this cooperation on every potential aspect continues going forward successfully under the current friendship framework from 2016.”
A civic party from the district council will again be visiting Fuzhou at the end of September for the second Tang Xianzu International Drama Festival.
Located 14km from Fuzhou in a mountainous region, Sanweng Town forms part of a new cultural tourist attraction, which will be themed around Shakespeare, Xianzu, and Spanish author Miguel de Cervantes who penned Don Quixote – known as the ‘Three Giants’ in China – with replicas of each of their home towns included within the project.