Tuesday, May 17, 2011

The in-class Japanese garden project

Students will create a colorful, carefully sketched, one-page representation of the characteristics of a Japanese garden in class.

Background -

Some of the Japanese gardens most famous in the West, and within Japan as well, are dry gardens or rock gardens, karesansui, says Wikipedia.

The tradition of the Tea masters has produced highly refined Japanese gardens of quite another style, evoking rural simplicity. In Japanese culture, garden-making is a high art, intimately related to the linked arts of calligraphy and ink painting.

The tradition of Japanese gardening was historically passed down from sensei to apprentice.

Typically a visitor will find -
- Water, real or symbolic.
- A bridge or stepping stones.
- Rocks or stone arrangements (or settings).
- A lantern, typically of stone.
- A teahouse or pavilion.
- A hedge, fence, or wall.

Karesansui gardens (枯山水) or "dry landscape” gardens were influenced mainly by Zen Buddhism and can be found at Zen temples of meditation. The raked gravel or sand simulates the feeling of water. The rocks or gravel used are chosen for their artistic shapes, and mosses as well as small shrubs are used to represent ponds, islands, boats, seas, rivers, and mountains in an abstract way.