But the ryanji garden consisting solely of rocks and

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Unformatted text preview: nal Museum) The Canons of Medieval Taste 137 quent Japanese gardens, those of the iwasaka and himorogi were used in their natural state and were not sculpted or otherwise altered. Here we see early examples of the aesthetic of naturalness, which has been a fundamental characteristic of Japanese gardens throughout the centuries. Even in its most stylized form, the Japanese garden has always been conceived as a representation of a natural setting. Its antithesis is the geometrically arranged garden, which has often been favored in the West and which is based on the imposition of human concepts of spatial design upon nature. The chronicles indicate that Japanese aristocrats from at least the mideighth century customarily had gardens near their homes; and during the Heian period, as we observed, a fairly standard type of garden evolved in conjunction with the rambling shinden-style of courtier mansion. Situated directly in front of the mansion, the garden was built around a stream-fed pond with a small, artificial island in its center. For the pleasure-loving Heian courtiers, such a garden was both a source of visual delight and an excellent setting for outdoor parties. Later in the Heian period, with the growth in popularity of Pure Land Buddhism, the shinden style of both architecture and garden was adapted to the construction of temples that were conceived as representations on earth of Amida’s paradise in thc western realm of the universe. One of the earliest and finest examples of this kind of temple was, of course, the Byòdòin at Uji. During the medieval age, the Japanese, while still retaining such features of their traditional garden as the pond, stream (often dammed at some point to create a small waterfall), and artificial island, began to experiment in new and abstract ways with the use of rocks. The pioneer in this kind of experimentation was the Zen priest Musò Soseki (1275– 1351), designer of the famous moss garden at the Saihòji in Kyoto. Musò and his successors increasingly...
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This note was uploaded on 02/08/2013 for the course ANTH 142 taught by Professor Hans during the Spring '13 term at UBC.

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