Many Chinese gardens were in a state of deterioration when Siren visited them (between l922- l935). The garden is designed to be perceived aesthetically, for the "production of aesthetic pleasure." This pleasure is the joint result of all the values of the object, of the connoisseur`s contemplation and communion with the mysterious forces present in the garden and its design.
Even very big (imperial) gardens were actually limited, but even small gardens were designed so that one cannot really tell their actual size. Actual size was in this sense less real than the experience, which really counted. One of the favorite design strategies was "borrowing scenery" (Chinese, chieh-ching -- Japanese, shakkei), actually unframing, or delimiting the fixed, limited space of the room, or garden, toward the outer environment, borrowing part of its scenery for the space and the onlooker inside the wall (frame). The shape of the opening served as a frame for the borrowed scenery, which was now a ready-made painting. By framing it, the designer borrowed the exterior scenery of the outside environment for the interior. Whatever was suitable outside the frame of the garden, could become a part of the aesthetic experience relevant for the space inside the frame.
Chinese gardens (and their designers) had names, like any other work of art. In big gardens, which had separate parts, each part had a separate name. In one of the classic Chinese novels, The Dream of the Red Chamber (The Story of the Stone) a process of naming is described in details. After finishing the designing, the owner gathered guests, relatives, and friends, and each name was proposed and chosen, in a friendly contest, after careful consideration. In considering various names, they had in mind the original intentions of the designer, and the literary, philosophical, and art tradition.