Secret teachings in the art of Japanese gardens Book Cover Secret teachings in the art of Japanese gardens
David A. Slawson, Zōen,
Architecture
Kodansha America
1987
220
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The art of the Japanese garden is a 1,500-year-old landscape design tradition that is still evolving, still instructive. Secret Teachings in the Art of Japanese Gardens explains the fundamental principles of this tradition and describes how those principles may be applied to a much wider range of environments than exists in Japan.

Purchase (Your Amazon purchase from this link benefits Japanese Gardening Organization):
      Secret Teachings in the Art of Japanese Gardens: Design Principles, Aesthetic Values

 

Michael Roybal’s comments:
I have only begun to plumb the depths of this book. Being new to Japanese gardening I have spent considerable time on the sections of this book that describe the transmission of the art including a description of the historical learning process and suggestions on how to “Make it your own” in appendix 4. I found the description of Fuzei and the shift from more feature oriented to quality oriented landscape captivating. (Though I am still working to understand it). The Sensory effects area of the book is helping start to develop insights into how to see the garden from different perspectives including framing, rhythm and spatial quality with depth cues and atmospheric effects.

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….

Related Books
Shifting away from theory, there were the opposite kind of book, how to build specific items. All helpful, however finally coming upon Japanese Gardening Hints: Saito, K. (1969).

Also, to extend upon capturing shape effects on symbolism, including mood, Magic Of Trees And Stones: Secrets of Japanese Gardening was a wonderful resource.

If you desire more theory the classic Sakuteiki is a must I read Sakuteiki Visions of the Japanese Garden. It is more on the abstract theory and sayings of creating a garden. Sakuteiki, by the way is great when paired with Infinite Spaces: The Art and Wisdom of the Japanese Garden. It seems in a way, with every new revision and growth toward better design in my garden, the sayings and guiding principles in Sakuteik come to life.

With that context set, I will attach a few snippets of this book I found most helpful will be attached as follow ons… I am not done, but please comment and I would be happy to extend this posting.

Details: and possible future posts/links…

  • Make it your own” in appendix 4.
  • Learning process Pgs.54, 55
  • Natural and manmade materials often used in Japanese gardens Pg. 62
  • Examples of mountain, river, and ocean rocks Pg. 68
  • Fuzei and the shift to Quality-Oriented Landscape Pgs. 70-72
  • Extending the frame into the garden and Rhythm proportions of size and spacing: Pgs. 83-87
  • Composition of rocks embodying the three forces. Pg. 98
  • Spatial quality and atmospheric effects Pgs. 106, 107
  • Narrow and widen Pgs. 108, 109
  • Figure K in a path. Pg 208

Learning process. Body learning vs Verbal learning groupings with a bit of context from the book.

Learning Process

Learning Process

 

Purchase (Your Amazon purchase from this link benefits Japanese Gardening Organization):
      Secret Teachings in the Art of Japanese Gardens: Design Principles, Aesthetic Values

 

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