Zen Gardens: The Complete Works of Shunmyo Masuno, Japans Leading Garden Designer

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He is able with his artistry to transpose Japanese concepts to gardens all over the world to delight the eye and soul.

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Embracing tradition and modernity, these gardens are expressive of a keen intelligence and profound knowledge of Japanese culture, yoked with an artist's perspective on landscape. Visionary garden designers like this appear perhaps once in a single generation, if that. His gardens bring comfort to people who tire of dry city life by cleansing their souls.

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Seeing such tranquil spaces in our generally chaotic world offers an escape to an oasis of serenity, or what Shunmyo Masuno himself calls an "unmoving truth. Not only are there outstanding images but the text accompanying them is interesting, readable and informative.

Japanese Gardens in Japan Japanology (日本庭園 nihon teien)

This is highly recommended to all members interested in modern interpretations of Japanese gardens. Masuno is arguably the most important designer to have emerged in Japan in the last 20 years. If you haven't already bought this book, I unhesitatingly commend it to you. Illustrated with more than drawings and color photographs, this book is a wonderful source of inspiration for creating beautiful, contemplative landscapes.

Mira Locher is an architect and professor who works in both the U.

ZEN Gardens : The Complete Works of Shunmyo Masuno, Japan's Leading Garden Designer

Another very interesting paragraph is about what makes a Zen garden a true Zen garden. Other gardens give the initial appearance of Zen, but real Zen gardens go beyond. I have to admit, after reading the introduction A Pair of Straw Sandals , I felt that I should start learning Zen to be able to truly understand Japanese gardens.


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Shunmyo Masuno says that those who want to study Zen need to do this with all of their heart and it is impossible to do it half-hearted. This way, they let us participate and teach us some of the important principles of Zen.

Landscaping the doors of perception in Japan

This book is for all who love nice pictures of Japanese gardens and also like to learn more about them. With the original sketches of the introduced gardens and the describing texts by Mira Locher who lets us have a look into the thoughts of Shunmyo Masuno, we were given an instrument to understand Japanese gardens even better. See how my copy already looks like with all the markers! Thank you Tuttle for supporting our work here on Real Japanese Gardens by sending us this reviewing copy!

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You are commenting using your Google account. You are commenting using your Twitter account. The risks, of course, of creating gardens for commercial entities rather than time immemorial temples or villas protected by their Important Cultural Property rankings, is that they are subject to market fluctuations that can force radical land transformation. Mira Locher's concisely organized text and painstaking research into her subject steers the layman through a potentially Byzantine web of principals and design concepts.

Given the close relationship between Japanese gardens and structural forms, Locher, a practicing architect of high repute, is well placed to comment on the subject of landscape design.

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Unlike ancient gardens, with their embedded meanings, contemporary designers are generally quite comfortable spelling out the meaning of their work. Thus, we know unequivocally that Masuno's ryumonbaku "dragon's gate waterfall" at Gion-ji Temple, represents the idea of Zen training toward enlightenment, or that the name of its courtyard garden invokes the theme of water, analogous to knowledge and teachings trickling down through the ages.

Locher doesn't give away too much, however, leaving enough concealed to stimulate reader inquiry.

This finely illustrated and written work reminds us that the Japanese garden is an organic form that is constantly evolving. So much so that the garden writer Yang Hongxun has opined, "China could make use of many of these Japanese standards to modernize her own garden construction, which has fallen behind in recent times.

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