Religious and Philosophical Syncretization in Classical Chinese and Japanese Gardens

By Min Lum Mossman.

Published by The Humanities Collection

Format Price
Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

The topic of religious and philosophical syncretization as found in East Asian gardens must begin with a discussion of the origins, development, and transmission of Chinese garden design and its culturally connected symbolism. This review is outlined in this paper’s sections sub-titled ‘The Chinese Framework,’ ‘Confucian Ethics and the Residential Quadrangle (Si-he-yuan)’, and ‘The Classical Chinese Garden.’ The section sub-titled ‘Chinese Influence on Japanese Gardens’ outlines Chinese garden design transmission into Japan during the Tang Dynasty (618-906 CE), widely known as the Golden Age of the Chinese Arts. This was an a result of the journeys by Japanese imperial diplomatic delegations of envoys seeking to learn every aspect of the Chinese culture and monks who traveled as pilgrims in search of the Buddhist philosophical faith brought to China from India around the 1st century BCE to the 1st century CE. The importation of Chinese garden concepts into Japan will be presented in a comparative study of cultural Confucian and Taoist classic elements. Buddhist, Zen Buddhist, Neo-Confucian, and Shinto garden and residential complex elements illustrate the composite nature of the Chinese and Japanese cultures. This study is done in an effort to connect the material level of garden description to the symbolic associations not usually seen by the average viewer of the East Asian garden.

Keywords: Religious, Philosophical, Syncretization, Chinese Gardens, Suzhou Gardens, Beijing Summer Palace, Japanese Gardens, Gardens, Buddhism, Zen, Zen Buddhism, Confucianism, Neo-confucianism, Taoism, Shinto, Chinese Residential Quadrangle, Si-he-yuan, Beijing Hutongs, Japanese Shinden Residence, Ryo-anji Temple Garden, Karesansui, Japanese Dry Landscapes, Raked Gravel, Islands of the Immortals, Abodes of the Immortals, Shan-shui, Hill-and-pond, Pond-and-hill, Chinese Dynasties, Japanese Historical Periods, Tang Dynasty

International Journal of the Humanities, Volume 7, Issue 5, pp.157-174. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 3.421MB).

Min Lum Mossman

Adjunct Instructor, School of Architecture, Arts & Philosophy Department, University of Miami, Miami, Florida, USA

I am an Adjunct Instructor in the School of Architecture (currently on leave) at the University of Miami, and in the School of Architecture and Arts & Philosophy Department, Miami Dade College, Miami, Florida. I have a B.S. in Music Education, a Bachelor of Architecture 5-year professional degree, and a Master of Liberal Studies that includes graduate coursework in Art History, Architecture, Music, Literature, Drama, Asian Studies, Religion, and Philosophy. My inter-disciplinary training and interests have led me to do professional work and teaching in architecture, historic preservation, landscape design, and museum research. I am ethnically Chinese, of parents who were raised and educated in mainland China, and I have studied and resided in the U.S.A. I have presented papers at the Society of Architectural Historians Annual Meeting in Toronto, Canada, (2001), and the International Conference in Arts & Humanities in Honolulu, Hawaii, (2003).

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