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Home > Worldwide Gardening > Chinese Garden > Chinese Landscape Design
Chinese Landscape Design
Chinese Landscape DesignThree general types of garden developed in China. The large, extravagant, and exotic -- sometimes `kaleidoscopic` -- gardens belonged to the imperial household, or highest officials, and later to richest merchants. The second type was garden related to temple complexes, ancestral halls, or natural scenic parks. The third, most interesting type, was `scholar garden,` smaller private garden belonging to scholar-officials, literati, retired officials, or artists.

"Scholars who provided the ideas and motifs for garden design were steeped in the traditional values of society and motivated by the many schools of philosophy. Ideologically the cult of the garden could be made to fit within the context of Confucian, Daoist, and Buddhist ethics, all of which gave scope for the interplay of positive and negative, the straight line and the curve, and for combining the works of mind and works of nature."

As Buddhism gained momentum increasing its influence on culture and spiritual life, this also brought a fruitful synthesis of Taoist and Buddhist principles in landscape design. Buddhism had influence on Chinese landscape design and environmental aesthetics between the 6th and 11th century. One of the centers was the city of Lo-yang. What follows is an attempt to expose the implicate philosophy of art and garden aesthetics present in Chinese landscape design, highlighting certain aspects of its spiritual background. This does not mean that the designers were necessary affiliated to certain philosophy, but they operated on common principles. In some cases they had training in landscape painting, and Chinese landscape paintings are "plastic duplicates of Hua-yen philosophy, in the sense that both attempt to express a vision of the manner in which things exist."

"All who were concerned with garden design sought inspiration from painting, and the exceptional qualities of the Chinese garden environment are very much the product of the Chinese method of representing in their paintings three dimensions on one plane, where there is no single viewpoint but many. In the West, Chinese painting is probably the best-known example of this concept, which concerns itself with time as well as space, and involves the spectator in the subject rather than in optical perspective."
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