Secret Teachings in the Art of Japanese Gardens: Design Principles, Aesthetic Values (Anglais) Broché – 15 avril 1991
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In the first section the author draws on his own experience as an apprentice to a master gardener in Kyoto, as well as his considerable knowledge of Japanese classical texts, to present the garden design process in terms of three primary aesthetic considerations:
Scenic effects--reproductions of appealing natural landscape forms.
Sensory effects--varieties of scale, framing, rhythm, motion, and spatial quality.
Cultural effects--the incorporation of allusions to classical literature, poetry, and painting.
The final section comprises a complete translation of a classic gardening manual used by Buddhist monks in medieval Japan. Its rules for planting trees and setting rocks still make good design sense today, and the author includes numerous garden descriptions as examples of how ancient masters practiced their craft.
This clear, authoritative work, fully illustrated with diagrams and photographs, elucidates much about the Japanese compositional sense. But at the same time it is a plea for a more holistic approach to landscape design-a recognition that a garden should conform to certain natural principles as well as meet the emotional needs of those who view it.
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Another wonderful resource this book has is a translation of Illustrations for Designing Mountain, Water, and Hillside Field landscapes by Zoen. Much there in terms of stone meaning, arrangements, taboos. Seeing the distillation of landscapes into single stone, stone arrangements, and layout suggestions for an entire garden design. Although much of this applies to the gardens of the era, I have always felt the need to understand 'why' as much or more than 'how'. I felt this book helped educate me on the path. To know more about the secret teaching in the art of Japanese gardens...
In case you're wondering about the outcome of our design effort: we've gotten lots of praise from neighbors and from total strangers, from American and from Japanese friends, for our little Japanese-style rock garden. And everybody who looks at our front yard gets what we were trying to express artistically! I have no doubts that we could never had this type of success without having had access to Slawson's remarkable book.
A number of years passed, nearly four of them spent in graduate architecture school studying formal geometries, history, architecture as a verb.....architecture with a great big capital A.
Yet, I did not fully appreciate the book until recently. I dusted it off when I was hired to set 2 semi-truck loads of stones. I reviewed it and found that my studies from it ten years earlier had indeed made an indelible impression upon me. The seemingly daunting task of composing 50 tons of boulders in an aesthetically pleasing manner was made much easier thanks to Slawson's studies. His book was more useful than 3 1/2 years of architecture school. Believe me, read it and get your hands dirty. Work with big stones, the dirt. It is the real work.
You will likely find the book "thick" in the sense that at times, each sentence is filled with succinct words. You may find yourself re-reading sentences to understand. Better graphic descriptions could have helped here. In particular the sections comparing Arnheims "Art and Visual Perception" with compositional arrangements, proportions and general japanese garden aesthetics are excellent. It is in these sections where one begins to understand how intelligent japanese garden design is. It fully engages the haptic sense as well as one's psychology.
Slawson makes many important notes and observations about the making of Japanese gardens. Yet he also points out that Japanese gardens evolved in Japan because of particular conditions of culture and nature. He points out that the teachings would not necessarily recomend "copying" these teachings in other region with climates different than those of Japan.
Slawson gives us an excellent resource to consider Japanese "teachings" in composing gardens, for example, in the desert southwest (USA). A garden influenced by the desert southwest would simply not fit in Japan. Yet, if you make the "teachings" your own you could create a japanese influenced garden.
Similarly, many Japanese garden copies in America don't fit. With the exception of the Portland Japanese Garden in Portland, Oregon.
I recomend the book because I continue to turn to it year after year. The sign for me of a valuable book.
It is true that this book is not an easy read. However, it has always been an enjoyable and enlightened one.
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- Livres anglais et étrangers > Boutiques > Chercher au Coeur! > Livres en anglais
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