Fighting raged from one end of the country to the

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Unformatted text preview: used rocks of varying shapes and textures to represent both natural formations and man-made structures, such as mountains, cliffs, waterfalls, and bridges. In addition, they employed sand and white pebbles as “water” and thus, in some of their works, eliminated the pond, which for so many centuries had been the central feature of the Japanese garden. It was during and after the Higashiyama epoch that the finest of the medieval dry rock gardens, known as kare-sansui or “withered landscapes,” were built, all on the grounds of Zen temples. Some of these gardens, such as the kare-sansui at the Daisen’in abbacy of Daitokuji Temple in Kyoto, are reproductions in miniature of scenes from nature. In the Daisen’in garden, for example, we see in the background several large rocks representing towering mountains; and in the middle distance there is a flat, bridgelike rock and, flowing beneath it, a “river” of white sand (fig. 40). This and other kare-sansui are very much like three-dimen- 138 The Canons of Medieval Taste Fig. 40 Garden at the Daisen’in of the Daitokuji Temple (photograph by Joseph Shulman) sional monochrome ink paintings and are based on the same aesthetics as sumi-e. Not surprisingly, some of the leading monochrome artists of the age, such as Sesshû and Sòami, were also noted designers of gardens. Perhaps the most famous Japanese rock garden is the kare-sansui at the Ryòanji Temple in Kyoto (fig. 41). Consisting of a flat, rectangular surface of raked white sand with fifteen rocks scattered about singly and in clusters, the Ryòanji garden is ostensibly a representation of the ocean with islands protruding above its surface. The representation of an island or islands in the ocean can be traced back to the early evolution of gardens in historical times, and indeed the pond and island of the garden of the Heian period shinden estate derived from this tradition. But the Ryòanji garden, consisting solely of rocks and sand, is so extremely severe in layout that it seems to be an ultimate visual depiction of the medieval aestheti...
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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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