3 History of Chinese Garden Design


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Hortykim has put together this power point on the history of Chinese garden design to help spark discussion in the class or inspire a trip to your local Chinese garden in order to identify the elements and design principles associated with Chinese gardens.
Check out: http://wikieducator.org/The_History_and_Traditions_of_Landscaping/Activities
for more information.
Hortykim thanks wikipedia for many excellent images and information.

Published in: Education
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3 History of Chinese Garden Design

  1. 1. 17th to 20th Century Influences on Landscape - Chinese 園 Gardens Hortykim Hortykim, Otago Polytechnic 2010
  2. 2. Origins of the Garden Hortykim, Otago Polytechnic 2009 If you want to understand today, you have to search yesterday. ~Pearl Buck If you want to understand today, you have to search yesterday. Pearl Buck Welcome to our interesting study of garden history where you will look at major characteristics from the Neolithic age through to contemporary New Zealand gardens. Gardening is an ancient art in which people have created gardens for a combination of practicality and style. In order for us to create gardens, it is important to study design principles, elements and features from the past in order to see where we are today. We hope you will enjoy this journey back in time and be inspired by the past garden styles from all over the world, many of which we will be able to link to gardens today.
  3. 3. Origins of the Garden Hortykim, Otago Polytechnic 2009 The wise find pleasure in water, the virtuous find pleasure in hills. -Confucius The next thirty- three slides look at the evolution of Chinese gardens from BC to present day. Portrait of Confucius by Tang Dynasty artist Wu Daozi (680-740)
  4. 4. Origins of the Garden Hortykim, Otago Polytechnic 2009 So far we have looked at the development of western gardens. We will now go east and see that China is to eastern civilization what Egypt, Rome and Greece are to western civilization. Western gardens have a theme of being highly architectural with a strong emphasis of control on the environment.Asian gardens are quite different due to a different philosophical approach to the world. Example of western style garden design.
  5. 5. Origins of the Garden Hortykim, Otago Polytechnic 2009 At the beginning of eastern civilization a form of religion based on animist beliefs developed.The mountains, sky, seas, rivers and rocks were materialized spirits to be honored. From this background a Chinese philosopher, Lao tzu, began to teach Taoism which taught people to integrate themselves with the rhythms of life.This resulted in the importance of good manners towards nature and human beings. A stone sculpture of Lao tzu, located north of Quanzhou at the foot of Mount Qingyuan.
  6. 6. Origins of the Garden Hortykim, Otago Polytechnic 2009 Their beliefs led the Chinese to take much pleasure in the calming landscapes of their natural environment and eventually emulate these scenes so they were closer to hand. This was achieved through the creation of landscape paintings to view or by creating imitation landscapes some of which were on a very large scale. Emperor Xuanzong's Journey to Sichuan, a Ming Dynasty painting after Qiu Ying (1494-1552).
  7. 7. Origins of the Garden Hortykim, Otago Polytechnic 2009 f There are many ancient Chinese paintings and poems dedicated to the admiration of natural landscapes and the thoughts inspired by them. You may well relate to the idea that creating a garden is an act of reverence as well as joy. A Thousand Peaks and Myriad Ravines by Wang Hui (1693).
  8. 8. Origins of the Garden Hortykim, Otago Polytechnic 2009 The first Chinese gardens were vast pleasure parks comprised of plains, valleys, hills, streams, lakes and islands and were used for hunting and imperial court meanders. Many trees, shrubs and flowers could be admired in the woods and fields of these immense gardens.They were hardly dissimilar from the natural landscape. Green Hills and White Clouds by Gao Kogong (1270-1310 AD).
  9. 9. Origins of the Garden Hortykim, Otago Polytechnic 2009 One of the first recorded landscapes of this natural style was constructed for Han Emperor Wei (140 - 89 BC) and the design was based on an ancient myth called the Mystical Islands of the Blest. The story goes that the islands contained plants which included mushrooms of immortality, connected to the Taoist search for longevity and immortality. Photo of unusual fungi found in Upper Botanic Garden, Dunedin, New Zealand.
  10. 10. Origins of the Garden Hortykim, Otago Polytechnic 2009 Sui Emperor Ti had a huge park built near his capital of Lo Yang. A million workers laboured on the project and hills were built of earth and rock while large areas were excavated to create large lakes. The Lo-Yang Park has long gone but there are similar parks in China (eg. West Lake in Hangzhou and Beihai Park in Beijing). Beihai Park in Beijing.
  11. 11. Origins of the Garden Hortykim, Otago Polytechnic 2009 Beihai Park was initially built in the 10th Century. It is amongst the largest of Chinese gardens and contains numerous historically important structures, palaces and temples. The structures and scenes in the Beihai Park are described as masterpieces of gardening technique that reflects the style and the superb architectural skill and richness of traditional Chinese garden art. Views of Beihai Park lakes
  12. 12. Origins of the Garden Hortykim, Otago Polytechnic 2009 The memory of these parks has continued to inspire garden design for centuries. But the Eastern Han Dynasty was controlled by Confucian scholars who disapproved of the excesses of their ancestors. Thus, the idea of small is beautiful became the new measure of a garden's success. It was at this time temple grounds, and siheyuan courtyards began a conversion to designed gardens. Confucianism, Taoism, and Buddhism are one, a painting in the litang style portraying three men laughing by a river stream, 12th Century, Sung Dynasty.
  13. 13. Origins of the Garden Hortykim, Otago Polytechnic 2009 Another strong philosophy that influences Chinese garden is the importance of balance and harmony. The Chinese garden expresses the relationship to nature and the idea of balance through the observations of their natural world and the way things seem to complement one another: male/female, rough/smooth, mountain/plains, rocks/water. . Symbol of Yin and Yang
  14. 14. Origins of the Garden Hortykim, Otago Polytechnic 2009 Yin and Yang juxtapose complementary opposites: as hard as rock can be, the softness of water can dissolve it. In fact, rock is a very important feature of Chinese gardens and could be gathered from great distances as a high connoisseurship developed to find exactly the right colour, shape, and finally the perfect placement within the garden. Hmmmm -not that kind of rock! (Cui Jian, considered the father of Chinese rock.)
  15. 15. Origins of the Garden Hortykim, Otago Polytechnic 2009 The style of Chinese gardens may vary among economic groups and different dynasties but the main elements/features are always present. Rocks, water, bridges and pavilions are among the most common features of scholar gardens for the wealthy classes. Courtyards, wells, and terra cotta fish tanks are common among the general population. Dunedin Chinese Garden
  16. 16. Origins of the Garden Hortykim, Otago Polytechnic 2009 Within these smaller gardens, features were used to evoke aspects of the wild in a stylized representation which may include some of the following: hills, mountains, waterfalls, streams, lakes, twisting trails and contorted rocks and trees. The belief is that having these features or representations of them in the garden would help impart a closeness with nature and, in turn, a deeper understanding of life. Dunedin Chinese Garden
  17. 17. Origins of the Garden Hortykim, Otago Polytechnic 2009 China’s troubled 20th Century is responsible for destroying many of the older gardens but luckily, paintings and detailed descriptions dating back to the Sung Dynasty (960 AD- 1279) show that there is incredible consistency that continues today. (man made hills, carefully chosen/placed rocks, some type of natural looking water feature, an island or bridge and of course selected plants). Scholar in a Meadow, Chinese painting of the 11th century
  18. 18. Origins of the Garden Hortykim, Otago Polytechnic 2009 Many Chinese gardens are made where space and the natural environment can supply some of the features. Paths are constructed to accentuate the changing scenes and views into the garden and beyond. The Chinese garden is built to be experienced as you move through its spaces. Symbolism is also a key element of Chinese garden design. Chinese garden path, Ellerslie Flower Show, 2009
  19. 19. Origins of the Garden Hortykim, Otago Polytechnic 2009 Paths in Chinese gardens are often uneven and zigzag. The paths are like the passages of a human life. There is always something new or different when seen from a different angle, while the future is unknown and unpredictable. Paths may also link to the beauty of scroll paintings where the landscape is revealed not in one hit but in a succession of views. Dunedin Chinese Garden
  20. 20. Origins of the Garden Hortykim, Otago Polytechnic 2009 Let’s continue to look at some of the typical elements found in Chinese gardens and what they represent. For example, bamboo and pine are indispensable plantings in a Chinese garden.Can you guess what human characteristics these plants represent in the context of Chinese culture? Western gardens tend to have a profusion of plantings whereas the Chinese garden style is more minimal. Bamboo
  21. 21. Origins of the Garden Hortykim, Otago Polytechnic 2009 Trees and shrubs are planted in more naturalistic arrangements - perhaps in pure stands or in association with a special rock. Grasses may be used beside a stream but never used as a lawn. Dunedin Chinese Garden
  22. 22. Origins of the Garden Hortykim, Otago Polytechnic 2009 The ground may be covered in stone, pebbles or tiles. Or it might be swept clean and interspersed with patches of moss or other low ground covers. Dunedin Chinese Garden
  23. 23. Origins of the Garden Hortykim, Otago Polytechnic 2009 Sparse plantings of seasonal flowers are scattered about but will never be found in geometric arrangements - again the objective is to achieve a stylized, naturalistic feel. However, flowers often have great symbolism. What do you think the Lotus symbolizes? Lotus flower
  24. 24. Origins of the Garden Hortykim, Otago Polytechnic 2009 lotus - perfection peach - longevity pine - age, silence and solitude mulberry - human activity / toil bamboo - strength and resilience peony - wealth Peony
  25. 25. Origins of the Garden Hortykim, Otago Polytechnic 2009 chrysanthemum - the courage to make sacrifices flowering peach - promise of spring flowering plum - renewal and strength of will (very important plant to include in the garden and highly symbolic) banana trees - make a pretty sound as the breeze flows through the leaves.
  26. 26. Origins of the Garden Hortykim, Otago Polytechnic 2009 As previously mentioned rocks are very important in the Chinese garden. They act as a link between the elements of pure nature and architecture (man-made buildings). Rocks with bizarre shapes are highly valued and they are often set against simple backgrounds so that their intrinsic beauty may be fully appreciated. Sp Special rocks at the Dunedin Chinese Garden against an austere background.
  27. 27. Origins of the Garden Hortykim, Otago Polytechnic 2009 Rocks and gnarled and knotted trees are revered. A Chinese garden's structure is based upon the culture's creation myth which is rooted in rocks and water. To have longevity is to live among mountains and water, to live with nature, to live like an immortal being (Xian). The garden evokes a healthy lifestyle that makes one immortal and free from the problems of civilization - how is that working for you? Dunedin Chinese Garden
  28. 28. Origins of the Garden Hortykim, Otago Polytechnic 2009 In the Taoist view mountains and water are opposite (shan - shui) expressions of yin and yang, and must be balanced within the garden. Water is used in natural looking streams, waterfalls and pools and in larger opulent gardens as lakes and seas. Artificial water features are not used. Dunedin Chinese Garden
  29. 29. Origins of the Garden Hortykim, Otago Polytechnic 2009 A popular Chinese game is to float wine cups down a stream under an open pavilion and the floatee must compose a poem before the cup passes below the end of the pavilion - but no pressure! A pavilion may also be specifically sited for viewing the moon and star-lit nights as the enjoyment of nature at night is another great use of the garden. "Island pavilion" in Chinese Garden Zürich
  30. 30. Origins of the Garden Hortykim, Otago Polytechnic 2009 花間一壺酒。 A cup of wine, under the flowering trees; 獨酌無相親。 I drink alone, for no friend is near. 舉杯邀明月。 Raising my cup I beckon the bright moon, 對影成三人。 For her, with my shadow, will make three people. 月既不解飲。 The moon, alas, is no drinker of wine; 影徒隨我身。 Listless, my shadow creeps about at my side. 暫伴月將影。 Yet with the moon as friend and the shadow as slave 行樂須及春。 I must make merry before the Spring is spent. 我歌月徘徊。 To the songs I sing the moon flickers her beams; 我舞影零亂。 In the dance I weave my shadow tangles and breaks. 醒時同交歡。 While we were sober, three shared the fun; 醉後各分散。 Now we are drunk, each goes their way. 永結無情遊。 May we long share our eternal friendship, 相期邈雲漢。 And meet at last on the Cloudy River of the sky. By Li Bai or Li Po or Li Bo, a Chinese poet (701 – 762)
  31. 31. Origins of the Garden Hortykim, Otago Polytechnic 2009 House and garden walls may have shaped doors or windows built into them in order to frame a view. Circles portray togetherness, especially for family members, and are depicted in moon gates and round tables placed within square backgrounds. The moon gate and other whimsical doorways also act to frame views and to force the viewer to pause for a transition into a new space. Ellerslie Flower Show, 2009
  32. 32. Origins of the Garden Hortykim, Otago Polytechnic 2009 To compliment the earthy tones of the Chinese garden, a touch of red or gold is often added to bring forth the Yin/Yang contrast. The colors red and gold represent luck and wealth. Bats, dragons and other mystic creatures carved on wooden doors are also commonly found in Chinese gardens; these are signs of luck and protection. Dunedin Chinese Garden
  33. 33. Origins of the Garden Hortykim, Otago Polytechnic 2009 A courtyard may contain a collection of potted, dwarfed plants, unusually formed trees and miniature landscapes which would be appreciated as much as in their full size versions. In fact, observers could shrink themselves into the miniature landscapes and explore the tiny mountain peaks without having to put on crampons. Container-grown plants, including trees and many other plant types, have a history stretching back at least to the early times of Egyptian culture. However, the lineage of bonsai derives directly from the Chinese penjing.
  34. 34. Origins of the Garden Hortykim, Otago Polytechnic 2009 View the following images and point out the elements which strike you as embodying the philosophies and design principles associated with the history of Chinese garden design. Or better yet, head down to The Dunedin Chinese Garden which is the only authentic Chinese Garden in New Zealand. It is the first in the Southern Hemisphere and one of only a handful outside China. It opened to the public on Tuesday, 8 July 2008.
  35. 35. References and Resources Hortykim, Otago Polytechnic 2009 http://en. wikipedia . org/wiki/Confucius - Confucius http: //wapedia . mobi/en/History_of_gardening ? t=3 .5 . - History of Gardening http://en. wikipedia . org/wiki/Beihai_Park - Beihai Park http://www. dunedin . govt . nz/facilities/dunedin_chinese_garden/history - Dunedin Chinese Garden http://en. wikipedia . org/wiki/Bonsai - Bonsai http://en. wikipedia . org/wiki/Chinese_garden - The Chinese Garden http://en. wikipedia . org/wiki/Moon_gate - Moon 月亮 门 Gate Brooks, J., Room Outside, Thames & Hudson, 1969 Newton, N.T., Design on the Land, Belknap, Harvard University, 1971 Thacker, C. , The History of Gardens, Reed,1979 The full online text of Marie-Luise Gothein's History of Garden Art