GARDEN | >ZEN GARDEN | >TEA
- Temple of the Silver Pavilion
Ginkaku-ji buildings originally were the retirement villas of shogun
Ashikaga Yoshimasa (1435-1490). After his death the complex was
converted to the Zen temple of Jisho-ji. Yoshimasa was the shogun
Ashikaga Yoshimitsu's grandson. In honor of his grandfather and
in an attempt at pursuing art, Yoshimasa planned to cover portions
of the two-story wooden pavilion in silver. Although his intentions
were never executed, the idea captured the Japanese imagination,
and the name "Silver Pavilion" was born.
natural living material such as plants and trees are placed against
the sand that is raked. The constructed sand is in contrast to the
natural materials. The interpretation between the sand and plants
relationship draws from Zen, Tao, and Shinto. In Zen philosophy,
the contrast admits the contradiction as a part of existence.
Zen garden - Karesansui -Landscape garden
the word garden is mentioned, one would think of green scenery,
which includes plants, trees, bushes, grass, flowers, a pond, and
so on. Zen gardens however, are created with little plant material,
and have neither pond nor river. This garden has only rock, gravel,
sand, and perhaps a few pieces of moss. The dry garden dates back
to the Muromachi period, the fifteenth century. Its physical form
represents Zen Buddhist philosophy, Zen self-examination, spiritual
refinement, and enlightenment. The Zen garden originally was created
as an aid to meditation and to teach the principles of the religion.
are regarded as representational of Zen discipline, because the
garden is regarded as expressions of individual worlds of thought,
therefore, copying was strictly forbidden. Their true meaning lies
in the viewer's imagination and interpretation of the abstract symbolism
landscape. Most Zen gardens rely on a strong sense of enclosure
for its mood. Enclosure functions as the garden's definition, and
is often a quiet escape place. The surrounding wall represents a
visual boundary or by placing stones against the ground and gravel.
of the Muromachi period experimented with various methods to design
stone gardens, and their famous works still exist as examples of
garden art. Often the same Zen priest was both painter and garden
designer. One well known designer was Soami of Daison-in, whose
style and design are frequently seen in both art forms. His work
however, doesn't seem to exist any longer in the present time.
The main components
that are used in the Karesansui or "dry-landscape" gardens
are earth and natural elements. Every stone, plant, wood, or sand
spread has meaning and representation in its placement.
to natural elements, some man-made architectural elements can be
added. Bridges, pathways, and lanterns are usually found in Zen
gardens. Wooden and stone lanterns are chosen over metal because
the main focus of a Zen garden is to create a natural atmosphere,
a peaceful, balanced environment that is quiet and meditative.
Zen gardens often are not to be entered, especially the sand areas
of the garden. In the Zen garden, sand represents water, and these
areas often were preciously racked into circles that signify water
ripples. It is to be viewed from a designated distance.
of materials concept in the Zen garden to its absolute minimal reflects
the Japanese attitude toward the sensitivity to art, beauty, and
spaces, in which are often implied rather than stated: The spaces
in Zen garden are to be sensed more than viewed!
and their meaning in Zen gardens
- Gates (torii),
fences, straw ropes, and cloth banners acted as signs to demarcate
- Shrines were
more of a mental construct than physical emplacements, a place
that existed in the mind instead of a place that could be seen.
The shrine is a setting of spirit. It is also a place where humans
and spirit meet.
- The garden
is the setting for human activity.
- Sand represents
- Stones are
the major elements of design in Japanese garden. They are considered
more important than trees to the Japanese, perhaps due to the
strong desire for eternity and stones represent the eternal elements
in nature. Stones also represent fertility mostly because of their
phalli's shape. The stones from the mountains near Kyoto have
been highly treasured for centuries. The fine stones, especially,
were handed down through generations of warlords. In Japanese
garden design, stones are used in combination with other stones,
or sand to imply a natural scene or to create an abstract design.
The shapes of natural stones have been divided into five categories
called five natural stones. The Japanese used the characters of
wood, fire, earth, metal and water to represent stone elements,
and are applied to five classes of stone shapes:
- Taido: wood.
Tall vertical. Implies high trees. Also called body stones, placed
in the back of a grouping.
- Reisho: metal.
Low vertical. Implies the steady and firmness of metal. Often
grouped with tall verticals. It is sometimes called soul stones.
- Shigyo: fire.
Arching. Branches that shape like fire. These types of branches
called stone atmosphere and peeing stones. Often placed in the
front and to one side of other shapes.
water. Flat or horizontal. Called level base stones or mind and
body stone. Usually used for harmonization in rock groupings.
earth. Reclining. Often known as root or prostrate stones. Usually
placed in the foreground to create a harmony appearance.
- Rocks represent the sense of power and desire or feeling of
tranquillity .To the Oriental's perception, rocks suggest mountains,
- White sand cones represent the Shinto salt cones of purity.
- Crane and turtle islands represent symbols of longevity.
- Temple of the Golden Pavilion
gaining power of Japan in 1338 and remaining in control for 150
years, the Ashikaga family reestablished Kyoto, and turned it into
their capital. The Ashikaga reopened trading relations with China,
which had been closed for centuries. During this period, a second
wave of Chinese culture entered Japan, and this time with the influence
of the Sung Dynasty. The Ashikaga family were the patrons of the
Buddhism Zen sect and the arts; this had a great effect on Japanese
culture. Although Ashikaga Yoshimitsu (1358-1408) was the third
shogun in the Ashikaga family, he was the first who was interested
in art and culture. Gathering ideals from artists, poets, and Zen
priests who had visited China, imitating the ideals of the Sung
Dynasty and the Heian period in Japan, he built for himself a retreat
in Kyoto called Kinkaku-ji, Temple of the Golden Pavilion, shortly
before he officially retired in 1394.
architectural character was from the Chinese Sung Dynasty. Its overall
form reflecting the pavilions and buildings seen in paintings of
the period. The pavilion is a mixture of Japanese and Chinese forms,
but the blending was so subtle that in the final analysis it is
called Japanese style.
Most of the
temple complex was destroyed during the Onin Wars of 1467-1477,
only the Golden Pavilion and the pond surviving intact. In 1950
the pavilion was burned down by a deranged student monk A replica
was built in 1955. The current main temple buildings, the tea house,
and its garden were added in the early 1600s by the Emperor Gomizuno.