Japanese Stone Gardens: Origins, Meaning, Form

Japanese Stone Gardens: Origins, Meaning, Form

Stephen Mansfield

Language: English

Pages: 161

ISBN: 2:00272666

Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub


Japanese Stone Gardens provides a comprehensive introduction to the powerful mystique and dynamism of the Japanese stone garden—from their earliest use as props in animistic rituals, to their appropriation by Zen monks and priests to create settings conducive to contemplation and finally to their contemporary uses and meaning. With insightful text and abundant imagery, this book reveals the hidden order of stone gardens and in the process heightens the enthusiast's appreciation of them.

The Japanese stone garden is an art form recognized around the globe. These gardens provide tranquil settings where visitors can shed the burdens and stresses of modern existence, satisfy an age-old yearning for solitude and repose, and experience the restorative power of art and nature. For this reason the value of the Japanese stone garden today is arguably even greater than when many of them were created.

Fifteen gardens are featured in this book, some well known, such as the famous temple gardens of Kyoto, others less so, among them gardens spread through the south of Honshu Island and the southern islands of Shikoku and Kyushu and in faraway Okinawa.

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the viewer of this moss and stone matrix is very contemporary, drawing comparisons with the work of the European abstract painter Piet Mondrian. In creating the eastern Garden of the Big Dipper, the first garden in Japan representing the constellations, Shigemori reused seven cylindrical foundation stones taken from the temple’s latrine building. The northern and eastern gardens are good examples of mitate-mono, the use of old objects as garden elements. 110 LEFT The verdant and watered

appreciated from several viewpoints. As one circles the edges of the garden, scenes change dramatically. The superb views from the upper floor of the castle help to make sense of the strategic pattern of the garden, revealing a layout that resembles the original castle’s fortifications and moats. Angled dispositions and the use of raised, linear walls rather than simply sand and rocks for the design, represent a radical departure in the style of the karesansui. Shigemori designed the garden so that

modern garden, it also adheres to traditional garden methods. The tree lines of the Takahashi Memorial Gardens to the immediate east and the tree tops of the Akasaka Palace to the north and northeast are incorporated into the garden in the manner of Edo period borrowed scenery. RIGHT In accord with the idea of a Canadian geological landscape torn apart by glaciers, Shunmyo Masuno’s stonemason has left the rocks as they were when they split. name of Garden 149 150 ABOVE A marker stone or

73, 124–7, 125 Kiyosumi-teien, Tokyo, 62 Kofun period, 15 Kompuku-ji Temple, Kyoto, 35 Komyo-in Temple, Kyoto, 71, 81 Komyo-ji Temple, Kamakura, 77 Kongobun-ji Temple, Mount Koya, 32 Korea, 16; influence on gardens, 19 Koren, Leonard, 38 Kozen-ji Temple, Kiso Fukushima, 79 Kuck, Lorraine, 37–8, 70 Kuitert, Wybe, 37 Kyokusu no Niwa garden, Matsuo Taisha Shrine, Kyoto, 116, 116–17 Kyoto Imperial Palace, 17 Manshu-in Temple, Kyoto, 39 Mappo, 42 Masaaki, Tachihara, 27 Masuno, Shunmyo, 148 Matsue

like the body’s arterial system producing nails and teeth.... The earth has the famous mountains as its support, rocks are its bones.“ Tellingly, the side of a stone with the finest attributes is called the “face,“ the top of the stone “heaven,“ though in the distant past it was referred to as the “head.“ Arguably, the astringency of these gardens is best appreciated during winter, when, with their greenery removed, rock surfaces are scraped close against the skull. TRAY GARDENS If the blueprint

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