Sakuteiki: Visions of the Japanese Garden: A Modern Translation of Japan's Gardening Classic (Tuttle Classics)

Sakuteiki: Visions of the Japanese Garden: A Modern Translation of Japan's Gardening Classic (Tuttle Classics)

Language: English

Pages: 256

ISBN: 0804839689

Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub


Learn the art of Japanese gardening with this classic, fascinating text.

The Sakuteiki, or "Records of Garden Making," was written nearly one thousand years ago. It is the oldest existing text on Japanese gardening—or any kind of gardening—in the world. In this edition of the Sakuteiki the authors provide an English-language translation of this classic work and an introduction to the cultural and historical context that led to the development of Japanese gardening. Central to this explanation is an understanding of the sacred importance of stones in Japanese culture and Japanese garden design.

Written by a Japanese court noble during the Heian period (794-1184), the Sakuteiki includes both technical advice on gardening—much of which is still followed in today's Japanese gardens—and an examination of the four central threads of allegorical meaning, which were integral features of Heian-era garden design. For those seeking inspiration to build a rock garden or just better understand the Japanese stone garden, the Sakuteiki is an enduring classic.

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up of concise, technical advice on how to lay out or construct various elements of the garden. We find, for instance, the following: When designing the Southern Courts of aristocratic residences, the distance from the outer post of the central stair roof to the edge of the pond should be eighteen to twenty-one meters. II. Southern Courts (p. 152) The surface of the pond should be twelve to fifteen centimeters beneath the bottom edge of the veranda of the Fishing Pavilion. III. Ponds and

addition, the author eventually goes beyond merely commenting on the design of the waterfall itself and turns his attention to describing how the setting of the waterfall can create a feeling of mystery in the garden: . . . waterfalls appear graceful when they flow out unexpectedly from narrow crevices between stones half hidden in shadows. At the source of the waterfall, just above the Waterfall Stone, some well-chosen stones should be placed so that, when seen from afar, the water will appear

showing that the banner icons were drawn as seen from the emperor’s south-facing point of view. The arrangement is also good from the standpoint of military planning as well: Quick-moving, mobile Phoenix in front; stable, armored Tortoise to the rear; and the powerful, flexible Tiger and Dragon on both flanks. The figure shown here is a rubbing from a Jin-dynasty (265-420) grave of the Four Guardian Gods arranged in the cardinal directions and divided into separate areas by diagonal lines. It

Stakes should be placed where a pond will be built and marked with this height. In this way one can determine exactly how much a given stone will be covered with water and how much will be exposed. The soil base underneath stones set in a pond must be reinforced with Foundation Stones. If this is done, even though many years might pass, the stones will not collapse and, moreover, even if the pond is drained of water, the stones will look as if they are well set.23 If an island in the pond is

Path, then plant seven catalpas in its place. The pond to the south is the Scarlet Bird. If there is no pond, then plant nine katsura trees there. The hill to the north is the Black Tortoise. If there is no hill there, then plant three cypress trees.115 Those who follow these rules will create places encompassed by the Four Guardian Gods and be blessed by ascending careers, personal wealth, good health, and long lives. Trees express the solemnity of man and Buddha. For this reason, when Kodoku

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