japonisme: a chinese garden?

09 January 2008

a chinese garden?

This trio of rocks occupies the "Middle Sea" of the trio of dry gardens located around the abbot's residence of Daisen-in. It is typical of such triads in having a high central stone flanked by two lower ones, not unlike the arrangement seen in sculptural groups of the enthroned Buddha flanked by bodhisattvas or other Buddhas, giving rise to the theory that such groups represent a Buddhist Trinity. There is literary evidence that this may have been the case in early gardens, but if the stones are seen as mountains (as many interpreters see them), they could also represent the standard Chinese formula for mountain landscape painting, where one mountain lords it over lesser mountains. Or when isolated in a gravel "sea" as they are here, they can be thought to evoke the Daoist Islands of the Immortals. But none of these interpretations is documented where this garden is concerned, nor where most gardens are concerned, and it is misleading to imply that such arrangements of stones must always be symbolic or even referential.

(the stones are from a japanese garden built in 1509.)

(i can't believe i never consciously noticed this correspondence before.)

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2 Comments:

Anonymous Ed Weekly said...

Lotus - It looks to me by the signature that the top two and bottom triptych images are by Chikanobu. I don't know who the third print is by.

http://ccdl.libraries.claremont.edu/col/cyw

Ed Weekly

11 January, 2008 07:46  
Blogger lotusgreen said...

thank you ed. i knew the second and fourth ones were by him, but the first (and third) didn't seem to match.

except that in truth i don't always know what to be looking for in signatures, so thanks for your expertise.

11 January, 2008 09:57  

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hi, and thanks so much for stopping by. i spend all too much time thinking my own thoughts about this stuff, so please tell me yours. i thrive on the exchange!

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