Mountain

Mountain

Dr. Sun Yat-Sen Classical Chinese Garden

© Dr. Sun Yat-Sen Classical Chinese Garden 2002. All Rights Reserved.


The miniature mountains have structural as well as symbolic roles in the garden. Structurally, they form a natural backdrop for one scene, and separate it from the next without the need of an artificially erected barrier. By intentionally concealing everything behind the scene, the strategically-placed mountains add to the sense of diversity and magnitude of a small garden. Without them, the whole garden would be taken in with a single gaze, all of its mysteries laid bare at once. This intentional concealing and revealing is in itself a profound statement about the way we perceive the universe and its myriad phenomena.

Indeed, these grotesque gray rocks dominate the garden landscape, evoking uncertainty and a feeling of 'wei': being perilously poised upon the craggy precipice of a mountain. Mountains represent the skeleton of the Earth, and rocks form the bony structure. Rivers and streams are the arteries and veins for water, the living pulse of the Earth.
The miniature mountains have structural as well as symbolic roles in the garden. Structurally, they form a natural backdrop for one scene, and separate it from the next without the need of an artificially erected barrier. By intentionally concealing everything behind the scene, the strategically-placed mountains add to the sense of diversity and magnitude of a small garden. Without them, the whole garden would be taken in with a single gaze, all of its mysteries laid bare at once. This intentional concealing and revealing is in itself a profound statement about the way we perceive the universe and its myriad phenomena.

Indeed, these grotesque gray rocks dominate the garden landscape, evoking uncertainty and a feeling of 'wei': being perilously poised upon the craggy precipice of a mountain. Mountains represent the skeleton of the Earth, and rocks form the bony structure. Rivers and streams are the arteries and veins for water, the living pulse of the Earth.

© Dr. Sun Yat-Sen Classical Chinese Garden 2002. All Rights Reserved.

Mountain in a Chinese Garden

Mountain in a Chinese Garden

Dr. Sun Yat-Sen Classical Chinese Garden

© Dr. Sun Yat-Sen Classical Chinese Garden 2002. All Rights Reserved.


Waters, in the form of streams, lakes, or ponds, are indispensable in the Chinese garden. Waters are the source and the sustenance of all life. Like mountains, waters were almost sacred objects of contemplation in Chinese Daoism: the mountain for its solemn stability and transcendence of the dusty affairs of earth; water for its non-assertive yielding as it follows the path of least resistance and carves through stone.

Water, to the Daoist, is not only the Source of Life; it is the Way of Life, the perfect model of effortless achievement.
Waters, in the form of streams, lakes, or ponds, are indispensable in the Chinese garden. Waters are the source and the sustenance of all life. Like mountains, waters were almost sacred objects of contemplation in Chinese Daoism: the mountain for its solemn stability and transcendence of the dusty affairs of earth; water for its non-assertive yielding as it follows the path of least resistance and carves through stone.

Water, to the Daoist, is not only the Source of Life; it is the Way of Life, the perfect model of effortless achievement.

© Dr. Sun Yat-Sen Classical Chinese Garden 2002. All Rights Reserved.

Pond

Pond

Dr. Sun Yat-Sen Classical Chinese Garden

© Dr. Sun Yat-Sen Classical Chinese Garden 2002. All Rights Reserved.


Waterfall

Waterfall

Dr. Sun Yat-Sen Classical Chinese Garden

© Dr. Sun Yat-Sen Classical Chinese Garden 2002. All Rights Reserved.


Water

Water

Dr. Sun Yat-Sen Classical Chinese Garden

© Dr. Sun Yat-Sen Classical Chinese Garden 2002. All Rights Reserved.


'The greatest people and the highest good
Are both like water,
Nurturing everything, contending with nothing;

Dwelling in the humble and lowly places.
Nothing beneath the Heavens is more gentle and yielding than Water
Yet is it unsurpassed in overcoming the strong and the hard.'

Lao-tzu, 6th Century BC, 'Dao Te Ching'
'The greatest people and the highest good
Are both like water,
Nurturing everything, contending with nothing;

Dwelling in the humble and lowly places.
Nothing beneath the Heavens is more gentle and yielding than Water
Yet is it unsurpassed in overcoming the strong and the hard.'

Lao-tzu, 6th Century BC, 'Dao Te Ching'

© Dr. Sun Yat-Sen Classical Chinese Garden 2002. All Rights Reserved.

Learning Objectives

The learner will:
  • identify and describe ways in which art reflects the society in which it was created and how it has affected that culture or community;
  • observe a Chinese garden and compare it to other types of gardens;
  • demonstrate how various historical and cross-cultural influences are used in everyday life;
  • describe the characteristics of a Chinese garden.

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