Xu Huizu and the Eastern Garden

As the eldest son of Xu Da (Zhongshan King), Xu Huizu was made a knight of the Wei. After Zhu Yuanzhang passed away, he assisted emperor Jianwen and took charge of defense of the capital. He was later captured when Zhu Di launched Jingnan campaign, having taken Nanjing. On January 13 in the fourth year (1402 A.D.) under Jianwen reign of the Ming Dynasty, all civilan and military ministers in the imperial court agreed to be subjects of Zhu Di, except Xu Huizu. On the the following day, Zhu Di personally summoned him, intending to win over him who kept silent without any sign of submission. Later, the court judge forced him to make confession. He took up the pen silently, asking for the younger generation of his familiy to be exempt from death, hoping that his father’s exploits as a founding general of the Ming Dynasty could be taken into consideration. Enraged, Zhu Di removed Xu Huizu’s official position supposed to be handed down from generation to generation and kept him in house arrest. In the fifth year under Yongle reign (1407 A.D.) he died of depression at the age of forty.
Since Renxiao, wife of Zhu Di as Chengzu emperor, was the eldest daughter of Xu Da, she showed solicitude for Xu Huizu after he was removed of his official position and bestowed him with a piece of land on the southern bank of the Qinhuai River in eastern Nanjing as a plot for growing vegetables. In the third year under Zhengde reign (1508 A.D.), Xu Tianci, an offspring of the sixth generation of Xu Da, built the Eastern Garden on this piece of land also called “Xiaopeng Hill” whose magnificance ranks the first among all gardens in Jinling (Nanjing). After the fall of the Ming Dynasty, the Eastern Garden declined, with its remains in Bailu (egret) Park now.


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