The Art of the Japanese Garden

Language: English

Pages: 176

ISBN: 4805311258

Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub


**Winner of the 2006 American Horticultural Society Book Award**

The Art of the Japanese Garden is the only historical overview of Japanese gardens that covers Japanese gardening culture in one beautiful book.

Japanese gardens are rooted in two traditions: an indigenous prehistoric tradition in which patches of graveled forest or pebbled beach were dedicated to nature spirits, and a tradition from China and Korea that included elements such as ponds, streams, waterfalls, rock compositions and a variety of vegetation. The Art of the Japanese Garden traces the development and blending of these two traditions, as well as the inclusion of new features as gardening reached new heights of sophistication on Japanese soil.

300 full-color Japanese garden illustrations and photographs highlight notable gardens in Japan, including graveled courtyards, early aristocratic gardens, esoteric and paradise gardens, Zen gardens, warrior gardens, tea gardens and stroll gardens. Also included are sections on modern trends and Japanese gardens in other countries.

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The most famous garden designer from this period was Kobori Enshil. (1579-1647), an aristocrat and high-ranking bureaucrat in the central government. As a commissioner of public works, Enshū was responsible for designing palace gardens and overseeing the construction of castles. At Kenrokuen in Kanazawa City, the branches of old trees are given the support of wooden crutches. Tidying plants at the Iris Garden at Meiji Shrine, Tokyo. Rope "umbrellas" at Kanazawa's Kenrokuen. Pine tree branches are tied to the ropes to prevent them from breaking under the heavy weight of winter snow.

Because such walls were easily damaged by wind and rain, they were mostly abandoned after the Heian Period, though board fences continued to be used. Fencing materials and construction methods vary widely. In addition to the use of boards, some of the most common materials are bundled twigs, bamboo, reeds and bark. Flexible materials such as reeds and split bamboo can be fastened by cords and vines to a sturdy frame constructed of horizontal poles attached to vertical members sunk in the ground. They also can be fastened to each other and hung from a horizontal top pole, or in the case of strips of bark, woven together and attached to the frame.

Buildings were constructed wherever a flat spot could be found, leading to an arrangement that lacked the symmetry of urban temples. Two of the most important esoteric temples are Enryakuji on Mount Hiei, the headquarters of Tendai Buddhism, and Kongobuji on Mount Koya, one of the headquarters of Shingon Buddhism. Some esoteric temples extend up the sides of mountains. Buildings are constructed on terraces that are surrounded by trees and connected by long flights of steps. Their "gardens" are not planted or contoured spaces, but the surrounding forest in which they are situated.

In a sense, ma is space waiting for an event to happen. In music, ma refers to the meaningful space between notes, and in drama, it refers to a dramatic pause in the action or spoken lines. In painting, ma is used to describe the empty spaces characteristic of black ink painting. A related concept is the idea of mu in Zen Buddhism. Mu is sometimes translated as "the void. " This is misleading. Mu refers to the realm of pure potentiality beyond space and time from which the phenomenal world of the senses is constantly being born.

This technique is part of the "hide-and-reveal" strategy employed so successfully at Katsura Rikyū. The Detached Palace Prince Toshihito received the Katsura estate in return for his services as a liaison between the imperial family and the Tokugawa shogunate. Originally, the property was the site of a Heian Period mansion that may have provided the setting for some of the episodes in Lady Murasaki Shikibu's famous novel, Genji Monogatari (The Tale of Genji). The Sukiya style villa consists of four staggered structures-the Old Shoin, Middle Shoin, Music Room and New Palace-all connected to create a single building that is well integrated into the extensive 6.

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