Lesser Yingzhou(小瀛洲) is one of the three man-made islets in West Lake, along with Mid-lake Pavilion (湖心亭) and Ruan Gong Islet (阮公墩). This islet is one of the chief attractions with a popular view known as “Three Pools Mirroring the Moon (三潭印月) ” . It is one of “Ten Scenes of West Lake” famously shown on the 1 RMB note.
Built in 1607 of dredged silt from the bottom of West Lake, it cleverly features “a lake within an islet and an islet within a lake.” On this 60, 000-square-meter islet, water makes up about 60 percent of the surface. In Chinese gardening, water is essential, and known as the ‘soul’ of gardening. A garden without water is like a man without a soul.
On the islet, there is the zigzag bridge, better known as the nine-turn bridge (九曲桥). This alluring bridge enables visitors to appreciate the scenery from different angles with the wonderful result being a “different scene for each step”. There are two pavilions along this bridge: Open Net Pavilion (开网亭), is a triangular construction upon which sits a carved crane, the symbol of longevity. The other one is a quadrangular pavilion with a special name “Pavilion, Pavilion, Pavilion (亭亭亭)” , its name suggesting that people should take a short break in this pavilion while enjoying the picturesque scene of West Lake. A few steps further along the bridge, there is a decorative wall with four flowery windows representing four seasons: spring, summer, autumn and winter. The flowery windows are a traditional construction dating back to the Sui Dynasty (581–618 AD).
Source: New Greater Hangzhou: A New Guide by George Chen