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 Japanese garden

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Sakura
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PostSubject: Japanese garden   Mon Oct 08, 2012 2:46 pm



Japanese gardens (日本庭園 nihon teien) are traditional gardens that create miniature idealized landscapes, often in a highly abstract and stylized way. The gardens of the Emperors and nobles were designed for recreation and aesthetic pleasure, while the gardens of Buddhist temples were designed for contemplation and meditation.
Japanese garden styles include karesansui, Japanese rock gardens or zen gardens, which are meditation gardens where white sand replaces water; roji, simple, rustic gardens with teahouses where the Japanese tea ceremony is conducted; kaiyū-shiki-teien, promenade or stroll gardens, where the visitor follows a path around the garden to see carefully composed landscapes; and tsubo-niwa, small courtyard gardens.
Japanese gardens were developed under the influences of the Chinese gardens, but gradually Japanese garden designers began to develop their own aesthetics, based on Japanese materials and Japanese culture. By the Edo period, the Japanese garden had its own distinct appearance. Since the end of the 19th century, Japanese gardens have also been adapted to Western settings.


Origins of Japanese gardens:
Ise Jingu, a Shinto shrine begun in the 7th century, surrounded by white gravel
Japanese gardens first appeared on the island of Honshu, the large central island of Japan. In their physical appearance they were influenced by the distinct characteristics of the Honshu landscape; rugged volcanic peaks, narrow valleys and mountain streams with waterfalls and cascades, lakes, and beaches of small stones. They were also influenced by the rich variety of flowers and different species of trees, particularly evergreen trees, on the islands, and by the four distinct seasons in Japan, including hot, wet summers and snowy winters.
Japanese gardens have their roots in Japanese religion of Shinto, with its story of the creation of eight perfect islands, and of the shinchi, the lakes of the gods. Prehistoric Shinto shrines to the kami, the gods and spirits, are found on beaches and in forests all over the island. Sometimes they took the form of unusual rocks or trees, which were marked with cords of rice fiber (shimenawa), and surrounded with white stones or pebbles, a symbol of purity. The white gravel courtyard became a distinctive feature of Shinto shrines, Imperial Palaces, Buddhist temples, and zen gardens.
Japanese gardens also were strongly influenced by the Chinese philosophy of Daoism, and Amida Buddhism, imported from China in or around 552 A.D.. Daoist legends spoke of five mountainous islands inhabited by the Eight Immortals, who lived in perfect harmony with nature. Each Immortal flew from his mountain home on the back of a crane. The islands themselves were located on the back of an enormous sea turtle. In Japan, the five islands of the Chinese legend became one island, called Horai-zen, or Mount Horai. Replicas of this legendary mountain, the symbol of a perfect world, are a common feature of Japanese gardens, as are rocks representing turtles and cranes.


Japanese gardens in antiquity:
The earliest recorded Japanese gardens were the pleasure gardens of the Japanese Emperors and nobles. They are mentioned in several brief passages of Nihon Shoki, the first chronicle of Japanese history, published in 720 A.D. In the spring of the year 74 AD, the chronicle recorded: "The Emperor Keikō put a few carp into a pond, and rejoiced to see them morning and evening". The following year, "The Emperor launched a double-hulled boat in the pond of Ijishi at Ihare, and went aboard with his imperial concubine, and they feasted sumptuously together". And in 486, "The Emperor Kenzō went into the garden and feasted at the edge of a winding stream".
The Chinese garden had a very strong influence on the early Japanese gardens. In or around 552 A.D. Buddhism was officially installed from China, via Korea, into Japan. Between 600 and 612, the Japanese Emperor sent four legations to the Court of the Chinese Sui Dynasty. Between 630 and 838, the Chinese court sent fifteen more legations to the court of the Tang Dynasty. These legations, with more than five hundred members each, included diplomats, scholars, students, Buddhist monks, and translators. They brought back Chinese writing, art objects, and detailed descriptions of Chinese gardens.
In 612, the Empress Suiko had garden built with an artificial mountain, representing Shumi-Sen, or Mount Sumeru, reputed in Hindu and Buddhist legends to be located at the center of the world. During the reign of the same Empress, one of her ministers, Soga no Umako, had a garden built at his palace featuring a lake with several small islands, representing the islands of the Eight Immortals famous in Chinese legends and the Daoist philosophy. This Palace became the property of the Japanese Emperors, was named "The Palace of the Isles", and was mentioned several times in the Man'yōshū, the "Collection of Countless Leaves", the oldest known collection of Japanese poetry.
It appears from the small amount of literary and archeological evidence available that the Japanese gardens of this time were modest versions of the Imperial gardens of the Tang Dynasty, with large lakes scattered with artificial islands and artificial mountains. While they had some Buddhist and Daoist symbolism, they were meant to be pleasure gardens, and places for festivals and celebrations. Like the Chinese Emperors and court, the Japanese aristocrats enjoyed their gardens in small boats with carved dragon heads.

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PostSubject: Re: Japanese garden   Mon Oct 08, 2012 4:14 pm

Gardens of the Heian period (794–1185):
Phoenix Hall in the garden of Byōdō-in, Kyoto, is a temple of the Amitābha or school of Pure Land Buddhism (1053)
In 794, at the beginning of the Heian Period, the Japanese court moved its capital to Heian-kyō (present-day Kyoto). During this period, there were three different kinds of gardens; palace gardens and the gardens of nobles in the capital; the gardens of villas at the edge of the city and the gardens of temples.
The architecture of the palaces, residences and gardens in the Heian period followed Chinese practice. Houses and gardens were aligned on a north-south axis, with the residence to the north and the ceremonial buildings and main garden to the south, there were two long wings to the south, like the arms of an armchair, with the garden between them. The gardens featured one or more lakes connected by bridges and winding streams. The south garden of the imperial residences had a specially Japanese feature; a large empty area of white sand or gravel. The Emperor was the chief priest of Japan, and the white sand represented purity, and was a place where the gods could be invited to visit. The area was used for religious ceremonies, and dances for the welcoming of the gods.
The layout of the garden itself was strictly determined according to the principles of traditional Chinese geomancy, or Feng Shui. The first known book on the art of the Japanese garden, the Sakutei-ki, written in the 11th century, said:
"It is a good omen to make the stream arrive from the east, to enter the garden, pass under the house, and then leave from the southeast. In this way, the water of the blue dragon will carry away all the bad spirits from the house toward the white tiger."
The Imperial gardens of the Heian Period were water gardens, where visitors promenaded in elegant lacquered boats, listening to music, viewing the distant mountains, singing, reading poetry, painting, and admiring the scenery of the garden. The social life in the gardens was memorably described in the classic Japanese novel, the Tales of Genji, written in about 1005 by Murasaki Shikibu, a lady-in-waiting to the Empress. The traces of one such artificial lake, Osawa no ike, near the Daikaku-ji Temple in Kyoto, still can be seen. It was built by the Emperor Saga, who ruled from 809 to 823, and was said to be inspired by Dongting Lake in China.
A scaled-down replica of the Kyoto Imperial Palace of 794 A.D., the Heian-jingū, was built in Kyoto in 1895 to celebrate the 1100th birthday of the city. The south garden is famous for its cherry blossoms in spring, and for azaleas in the early summer. The west garden is known for the irises in June, and the large east garden lake recalls the leisurely boating parties of the 8th century.
Near the end of the Heian period a new garden architecture style appeared, created by the followers of Pure Land Buddhism. These were called "Paradise Gardens," built to represent the legendary Paradise of the West, where the Amida Buddha ruled. These were built by noblemen who wanted to assert their power and independence from the Imperial household, which was growing weaker.
The best surviving example of a Paradise Garden is Byōdō-in in Uji,near Kyoto. It was originally the villa of Fujiwara Michinaga, (966-1028), who married his daughters to the sons of the Emperor. After his death, his son transformed the villa into a temple, and in 1053 built the Hall of Phoenix, which still stands. The Hall is built in the traditional style of a Chinese Song Dynasty temple, on an island in the lake. It houses a gilded statue of the Amithaba Buddha, looking to the west. In the lake in front of the temple is a small island of white stones, representing Mount Horai, the home of the Eight Immortals of the Daoists, connected to the temple by a bridge, which symbolized the way to paradise. It was designed for mediation and contemplation, not as a pleasure garden. It was an lesson in Daoist and Buddhist philosophy created with landscape and architecture, and a prototype for future Japanese gardens.

Notable existing or recreated Heian gardens include:
* Daikaku-ji



* Byōdō-in



* Kyoto Imperial Palace



* Jōruri-ji

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Moshimo negai ga kanau no nara
Donna negai wo kanae masu ka?
Boku wa mayowazu kotaeru darou
Mouichido. . . anata ni aitai
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