Prince Gong’s Mansion was constructed in 1777 for minister He Shen during the Qianlong-reign in the late Qing Dynasty. From a young age, He Shen got the trust of Emperor Qianlong, and was able to make large promotion in the imperial administration. In this way he became very wealthy. Because of accusations of corruption, He Shen was executed and the mansion was confiscated in 1799, under the reign of Emperor Jiaqing in favor of Prince Qingjunwang, the 17th and youngest son of Emperor Qianlong.
The Mansion is composed of three complexes of buildings, central, eastern and western. The rear hall is a two-storey structure more than 180 meters wide. The main courtyard of the western complex includes the Xijin Studio as its main hall and is entered via a gate with the name of “Courtyard of Heavenly Fragrance” carved above it. The garden to the north of the rear hall was designed on a large scale without the constraints imposed on the mansion’s formal buildings. The rear section of the garden has a multi-leveled artificial hill built of Lake Tai stones. Besides its artificial hill, trees, flowers, pavilions and terraces, the garden also has the unique feature of its own theater. This theater is high and spacious, with warm lighting, and on its walls there are Chinese wisteria and green leaves painted, offering the audience the feeling they are sitting under trellises.