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Wybe Kuitert Themes, Scenes, and Taste in the History of Japanese Garden Art

Leiden University Japonica Neerlandica Series Vol.3, 1988 Gieben Publishers, Amsterdam

ISBN 90-5063-021-9





Chapter1: The Heian Period: Gardens and Aristocrats ,


Introductio n


Chapter2: Palace Gardens




Architectur e






2. 3

Palace Gardens Illustrated on ScrollPaintings


Chapter3: Temple Gardens


3.1 Gardens asAristocratic Culture



3.2 Gardens,Mötsu-ji




Chapter4: Noblesand Their Nature : The Beginnings ofa Garden Theory


4.1 Gardening asa Noble Pursuit









4.2 ANobleman's Study , The Garden ManualSakuteiki Divination and Adapting t o Nature Themes: An Interpretatio n



The Poetic Ideal of Loneliness



Chapter1: Developments in Mediaeval Garden Ar t in thei r Historical Contex t



1.1 From a Courtly t o aMilitary Aristocracy: The Kamakura Period (1185-1334 )



1.2 The Formatio n of th e Scenic Garden: The Muromachi Period unti l th e ÖninWar (1334-1467 )


Chapter2: Landscape Consciously Conceived asArt : Song China

7 0

2.1 Song Society and Landscape Painting


2.2 Song

Landscape Painting's Inspiration


Chapter3: Early Zen in Japan


3.1 Political and Cultural Role of th e Zen Institution s

3.2 The Irïpor rtance of Musö Kokushi for th e Early Mediaeval Gardeji Art

Chapter 4: Th i Early Mediaeval Chinese Inspiration

4.1 Landscape Scenery and its Chinese Literary Inspiration

4.2 Scenic Aspects in th e Garden and thei r Chinese Inspiration :

Tenry ï-ji

4.3 The Mediaeval Scenic Garden and its Appreciation

Chapter 5 : The Small Scenic Garden in Late Mediaeval Times

5.1 The Mediaeval Cultural Salon

5.2 The Subtemple

5.3 Small Scenic Gardens in Subtemples and thei r Historicity

Chapter 6: Sorhe Historical Small Scenic Gardens

6.1 The S ; lbtemple Daisen-in

6.2 The Slbtemple Ryöan-ji

6.3 The Slbtemple Reiun-in

6.4 The Estate of Warlord Asakura

Chapter 7: Laie Mediaeval Garden Making

7.1 Low CflassGardening Professionals

7.2 The Manual SansuinarabiniYakeizu

Chapter8: Interpretatio n

8.1 TheS penic Garden

8.2 The Zen Garden



Chapter1: Thfe Sixteent h Century : Beginnings of th e Romanti c View on Natur e

1.1 TraveiingPoets and th e Discovery of Scenic Beauty


1.3 Townspeople and th e Urban Ways

1.4 Early |Urban Natur e Romanticism

Chapter2: Th Turn of th e Century : Early Origins of Modern Galrden Art

The hermit Ideal

2.1 Tea and Politics































Descriptions of th e Tea Garden


2. 4 An Exoti c Mood


2.5 The Tea Garden in th e Daimyö's Residence


2.6 New Garden Materials, aModern Language of For m


2.7 The Tea Garden asa Concept , aModern Approach t o Garden Design

Chapter3: The Early Seventeenth Century : Origins of th e Modern Appreciation



3.1 The Shogunate Sponsors th e Imperial Imagination


3.2 The Garden asa Scenery of Imagination


3.3 Kyoto' s Nobility Discovers th e Romantic Countryside


3.4 Landscape Views Borrowed asPart of th e Garden Scenery 20 4

Chapter4: AModern Approach inGarden Design

21 0

4.1 Modern Garden Design: a Definition

21 0

4.2 Early Modern Design asan Intellectual Specialism

21 0



The Commissioner of Public Works,Kobori EnshO





The Commissioner and th e Designer


4.5 The Drawing asPart of th e Modern Design Method

21 4

4.6 The Early Modern Garden Makers


4.7 The Modern Productio n of Garden Art ,Konchi-in


ChapterS: Taste : An Interpretatio n



5.1 Beauty in Simplicity


5.2 Creating of New Values of Beauty

23 3

5.3 Fro m Poetic Loneliness t o th e Creation of Patina

5.4 Creativity

5.5 Creativity within Simplicity, Kohô-an




24 4

25 3


to the text



to the illustrations


List of Japanese wordsusedin the text



33 3


Japanes e garden s are , no t only amon g landscape architects , well known as on e of th e mor e fascinating expressions of landscap e ar t th e world ha s t o offer. It is regrettabl e that , in spit e of thei r fame , th e backgroun d of garde n ar t in Japa n isso ill-understood . Well known book s o n th e subject offer no t muc h mor e tha n superficial opinion s o n th e symbolic meaning of Japanes e gardens ; at its best they tell us stories , hardl y seeming t o be probable , of garde n makin g priests who expressed th e profoun d meaning of th e universe in th e materia l forms of th e roc k garden s the y supposedly mad e with thei r own hands . Th e research tha t led t o th e present work started , in all its ignorance , as an attemp t t o get beyond thi s popula r com- prehensio n of Japanes e garde n art . On e of th e first steps was t o d o away with th e view tha t take s th e Japanes e people as being fundamentally different from Occidentals . It is commo n philosoph y amon g landscap e architect s tha t th e Japanes e created thei r garden s in harmon y with natur e an d tha t Western ma n o n th e con- trar y conquere d natur e for which, as evidence, th e formal French garde n isusually presented . Althoug h th e present work does no t touc h upo n such philosophies , it implicitly rejects them . It seems t o me tha t a n analysis of 'th e difference ' between Western an d Japanes e garde n maker s only con- firms existing misunderstandings . Therefor e I hav e departe d from th e viewpoint tha t th e histor y of Japanes e garden s mus t be interprete d as a stor y of peopl e dealin g with natur e —whether conquerin g o r in harmon y with it —jus t as we speak abou t th e histor y of garde n ar t in Europe . In th e present work , therefore , one comes acros s ideas found in Japan' s garde n histor y tha t ar eals ocommo n in th eWest, althoug h i t ha s no t been my purpos e t o mak e these parallel s explicit. As a landscap e architec t I am , of course , abov e all interested in th e garde n a sa product , somethin g tha t ismad eby peopl et o satisfy th e needs of others . An owner of a garde n may need it for certai n reason s of utility . His needs can also be a worldly desire t o display , o r a craving for mor e abstrac t qualities —of beaut y for instance — foun d in th e arrangement s of natura l features in th e garden . Thi s way of looking a t garde n ar t is reflected in th e book . It views garden s from th e standpoin t of th e owner who wanted hisneedst o befulfilled, an d on th e othe r han d from th e poin t of view of th e garde n make r who knew how t o creat e it . It soon became obviou s tha t only research int o th e histor y of th e ar t

could give furt 1er insight int o these questions , as all th e famed garden s in Japa n ar e ol 1.But history is a difficult matter , particularl y th e history of anythin g lil e Japanes e garde n art . Ther e is a grea t abundanc e of historic materi ; 1: old descriptions of gardens , th e old garden s themselves, no t t o mentio n therecent excavations tha t uncovered ancient garde n sites. Studies o n th e i ubject, in Japanes e an d Western languages , fill many well- stacked boo k ! helves, even when on e does no t consider th e less serious works . It was clear from the very star t tha t a choice ha d t o be mad e an d tha t Iha d t o m ikea selection, if Iwast o mak e any senseou t of th e wealth of material . Accordingly I selected thre e mai n themes ou t of th e many centuries tha t Japan' s garden histor y counts ; choosing subjects tha t seemed, a t first sight, of inter e t for the moder n landscap e architect . Firs t of all I concen- trate d upo n thi garde n world tha t brough t fort h th e first garde n manua l in Japan , th e f rst probabl y in th e world , th e eleventh centur y Sakuteiki. Secondly, I mide an inquir y int o th e little cour t garden s of Japan' s mediaeval age ha t employ only bar e sand , rocks an d sparse plantation . This style of g trden, referred t o as karesansui, 'dr y landscape' , features abstrac t forms ha t appea l t o th etwentiet h century designer. Finally , Iwas struck by some early seventeenth century garden s in Kyoto . Th e composi - tion of forms i1 these garden s shows intellectual qualities tha t I found as moder n as if f om ou r times .

Th e histor y of Japanes e garde n ar t does no t end in the seventeenth cen- tury . Th e eigh eenth an d the first half of th e nineteent h century showed

a decline in cr ;ativity an d an increasing reliance on standar d composi -

tiona l ideas . Tl emanneris m of thi s century-and-a-hal f went togethe r with

th e growing p<pularit y of th e art . Th e techniques of gardenin g quickly

developed int o a nationwid e professional practice . In thi s time a popula r interest in thi historica l garden s came about . Many , mor e or less systematic, pi tur e book s were edited , in which many falsifications

originat e tha t 1 ave left thei r mark s o n research in th e field unti l abou t th e

1860's on , a growing wave of informatio n

o n Western ga den ar t reached Japan , which brough t fort h a rich variety

of forms an d k eas . However , th etraditiona l practic ean d forms of garde n

o be meaningful an d were by n o means overwhelmed or

replaced . Jap a lese garde n ar t could continu e t o develop an d is a living traditio n even in ou r moder n age of technology . Thi s can only be understoo d in elatio n with th e formative period s in its history . Th e early seventeenth ceitur y was crucial in thi s respect , because a practic e of garden ar t car ie int o existence in thi s period tha t was moder n in man y

ar t continue d

Second Worl d War. Fro m th e

ways. Thing s like th e understandin g of qualitie s of natura l beauty , bu t also the social relation s of th e garde n owner, designer, an d make r in th e seventeenth century cultura l world of Kyot o ar e already established in a fully moder n sense. This is the reason tha t th e boo k is concluded with thi s period . However , t o placeth e modernit y of th e early moder n perio d in its context , t o see the achievement an d t o understan d how it came about , it prove d t o be necessary t o include th e part s on th e ancient Heia n perio d an d thos e on th e mediaeval age . Searching for a n answer t o th e questio n of modernity , th e present boo k treat s only th e thre e fragments of Japan' s garde n history as mentioned above . It is therefor e no t a continuou s recor d of all the events an d evolu- tion s of th e past ; neither is it a compilatio n of th e single historie s of each an d every garde n in Japan , althoug h some exemplary specimens ar e treate d at length .

Fo r knowledge of th e facts of Japan' s garde n history I have relied on th e research of many respectable scholars . Some of these ar e professionally active in th e field of Japanes e garde n history . Th e work s of tw o of the m ar e currentl y used , an d I feel tha t they should be shortly introduce d t o th e reader . I foun d th e studie s of Mor i Osamu mos t reliable , the y ar e t o th e point , if no t somewhat dry . In th e last twenty years or soprofesso r Mori' s research o n garden s ha s departe d from th e excavatio n work s he ha s guid- ed . Earlier pre-war work s rely mor e o n documentar y evidence. Th e thirty-six volume work Nihon teienshi taikei, a titl e tha t can b e translate d as "A n Outlin e of th e Histor y of Japanes e Gardens" , written by Shigemori Mirei an d his son Shigemori Kant o shoul d also be mention - ed . It is a compilatio n of histories of almost all of the extan t garden s of any significance in Japan . Many garden s have vanished an d a great deal of informatio n o n th e history of th e ar t is found in document s tha t ar e no t related t o any of th e still existing gardens ; these point s ar e no t systematically dealt with in thi s work , althoug h several chapter s of a general natur e tr y t o compensat e for this . It is , however, a n importan t boo k of reference. Both of th e abov e mentione d author s trea t the subject as a research int o th e factual history of th e Japanes e gardens . They give answers on ques - tion s of attributio n an d datin g of gardens . On e hardl y finds any informa - tio n abou t th e significance garden s ha d t o th e societies an d culture s in which they came about , something tha t I found most intriguing . However, othe r sources hav ecovered thi s matte r t o a certai n extent , a s th e reade r will discover in th e course of th e book .

Lookin g back bve r th e years tha t I hav e worked on thi s research an d th e book , I recall ill the peopl e who hav e helped me in variou s ways . Most of mygratitu d :isaddressed toward s mydirect teachers , whoin th e cours e of time becar ie good friends; t o professo r Nakamur a Makoto , wh o understoo d be ter tha n I wher e th e roa d I ha d chosen was leading to , an d received me hespitably as a research fellow in his Institut e of Landscap e Architectur e a th e Kyot o University for almos t four years ; t o professo r Shirahat a Yôz ibur ô from th e same Institute , whose active interest an d help with diff cult Japanes e was of grea t support ; t o professor Met o Vroom (Wagei ingen) , my teacher of landscap e architectur e who , besides

general advise , stressed th e importanc e of illustrativ e maps , drawings , an d photograph s it th e book , an d wh o received me a s a visiting member of th e Departme n of Landscap e Architectur e a t th e Agricultura l University in Wageninger durin g th e last half year of my work ; an d t o professo r Willem van G i lik of th e Nationa l Museum of Ethnolog y in Leiden , who

initiate d me in

an d introductie ns greatly helped in setting u p th e research as a whole . Ther e ar e a 1 irgenumbe r of othe r people , friends an d institutions , who

hav e assisted ir bringin g thi s boo k about . I wan t t o express my apprecia -

tio n for assistai

Tetsuya ; an d a so the students , an d th e staff member s Jöda i Kazue an d Mitsud a Michi)oof th e Institut e of Landscap e Architectur e at th e Univer- sity of Kyoto , 'ifho challenged me with thei r questions , an d helped me in man y ways t o i ind th e answers t o my own questions , an d no t in th e last place because they teste d my Japanes e an d improve d it whenever necessary; t o N ar c Keane , wh o rea d th e manuscript s critically an d cor- rected th e Eng ish , likewise t o Lind a Beukers-Smith for th e finishing touche s in th i respect ; t o professo r Har a Toshihik o an d professo r Ishikawa Mitsu lob u wh o bot h helped me readin g old Japanes e texts ; t o

professor Wim 3oot for valuabl e advise o n th e practic e of research in th e

field of Japane , e studies ; t o It ô Taiichi , professo r Iwatsub o Gorö , Fran s Rip , Takimot o Yoshihiko , an d Phili p Wenting , wh o all helped me with th e variou s pr o )lems of wor d processing ; t o Umehar a Chik a wh o type d par t of th ema n iscript;t o professor Kat öKunio wh othroug h his seminars quickly introdn :ed me in th e histor y of Japan' s architecture ; t o Noo r Boeseman who pelped me set u p th e research an d provide d me with man y

useful subject Hiromasa , who of the Foreign Michiko of th e

Japan-Netherla i ids Institute ; an d t o Hosh i Masachiyo , miss Futahashi ,

he field of Japanes e Studies , an d whoseactive engagement

cereceived: t o professor s Yoshida Hironob u an d Yoshida

eferences; t o Bernar d Jeanne l an d professor Amazak i showed me th e way t o th e Kyot o University ; t o th e staff Student Service at th e University of Kyoto ; t o Tama i Tourist Informatio n Cente r in Kyoto ; t o th e staff of th e

an d mister Kajitani for teaching me many details of th e ar t of gardenin g in — an d th e histor y of — th e Imperia l Garden s in Kyoto . Last , bu t of course no t in th e least I would like t o than k my parents , an d my wife Norik o an d my son Kense for thei r loving car e an d menta l support . Withou t them thi s boo k would probabl y never have been writ- ten .

Notes t o th e reader : In Japanes e th e family nam e is followed by th e given name , also in th e present work . Th e curren t usage may deviate from thi s principl e for certai n historica l persons , in which case I have kept t o th e existing practice . Also for romanization s I hav e adhere d t o th e usual transscription s of th e Japanes e an d Chinese. Macrons , as in Tokyo , in- dicat e tha t th e vowel o, sometimes als o u, should be slightly prolonge d in pronunciation .





In the year 794 of th e Christia n er a th e seat of Japan' s imperia l govern- ment was moved t o a newly constructe d city, Heiankyö , or , th e capita l Heian . Th e nam e of th e city is applied t o th e historica l period of imperial reign tha t begins in 794 an d lasted unti l 1185 when th e dynasties fell an d a military government cameint o existence.Althoug h theempero r reigned, actua l power was mostly in th e hand s of powerful ministers , who , with a few exceptions , were all members of a single clan , th e Fujiwara . Making clever use of the existing marriag e customs they managed in th e end t o completely dominat e th e imperial family, althoug h they never laid claims t o th e imperial throne . Th e epoch of th e late tent h and th e eleventh cen- tury became the most gloriou s one for the Fujiwar a regents . It is also th e age when classical cultur e was brough t t o maturity . Garde n ar t reached standard s tha t proved t o beth e origins of a great tradition . This first par t of th e book deals therefor e with thi s period of cultura l 'flourishing , roughly the tent h an d eleventh centuries. 1 It was first of all literatur e tha t attaine d grea t heights , no t only setting classical standard s for th e following centuries , bu t also pervadin g th e Fu- jiwar a society itself. Th e Fujiwara' s devoted themselves endlessly t o com- positio n of poetry , bot h in privat e an d in compan y of others , for instance at poetr y contests , where teams were called upo n t o compose on given themes . Tales an d diaries , often writte n by women , formed th e othe r half of Heian' s flourishing literary world . But these works again ar e usually rich in poetr y an d poeti c idiom. 2 Poetr y was such an all-pervading medium tha t it was decisive for prope r etiquett e an d even formed th evehi- cle for expressing huma n feelings. 3 I t is the conclusion of par t one of thi s work tha t themes of poetr y also affected garde n art . Wewill seeinth e course of th e following pageshow th e Fujiwara' s used their garden s as a stage on which splendid festivals an d gorgeous ceremonies too k place. 4 Their gardens , like th e buildings of the Heian palaces , formed an integral par t of th e elegant way of life of th e Heian nobles . They never saw it as somethin g separate d from themselves an d therefor e did not appreciat e a garde n as an outsid e form . Fo r them it was

emotionally e:

of their

forms an d quiry is mad e

perienced from within , immersed a sthey were in th e beauty

gard e is It is Heia n poetr y tha t bridged th e ga p between garde n

hulna n emotions . But before we reach thi s conclusion a n in- nt o th e actua l appearanc e of th e garden s an d int o th e ways came int o existence.

in which they



This chapte r deals with th e garden s as they existed in th e late r Heia n period palaces of th e noblemen . Th e actua l appearanc e is reconstructe d in orde r t o give an idea of what these garden s looked like. In passing we will not e how th e palac e gardens were used . We tur n first t o th e palace architecture , of which th e garden s formed a part .


In th e early centuries of th e Heia n period th e architectur e of Japanes e stately buildings was closely inspired by th e Chinese model (fig. I). 5 Th e large compoun d of th e Imperial palac e for instance , in which ministries an d othe r governmenta l institution s were housed , was laid ou t according t o principles of monumenta l symmetry . Also th e buildings themselves were in th e Chinese style of painte d wood an d erected on stone founda - tions . Th e roof s were tiled . Off th e centra l axis , deviating from th e Chinese symmetry, laid th e actua l imperial residence (fig. 2) . Thi s was again a complex of buildings , in pla n view symmetrically arranged . However, from th e very origin of palace architectur e in Japa n th e buildings of th e imperia l residence kept strongly t o native traditions , an d the Heia n palace formed n oexception . Th e buildings of th eresidence were of plain wood tha t was no t painted ; roof s were covered with bar k shingles. Pillar s were simply dug in th e ground , in th e old primitive way. 6 In th e later centuries of th e Heia n perio d th e imperia l residence began t o depar t from the symmetric lay out . Asymmetry an d th e overall ap - pearanc e of unpainte d wood became typical features . In due course , th e imperial palaces came t o inspire th e designs of palatia l residences of high rankin g government officials. Th e regula r residence of a middl e class aristocra t in th e late r Heia n period occupied a plo t of land of on e chô, which equals roughl y one hec- tare . It was surrounde d by a wall with several gates , usually in th e south , east an d west, an d no t on th e nort h side. 7 In front of th e mai n hall (shinderi) was , as with an emperor' s palace , an open space for th e staging

• •E° 3


HD 1

Sr res Shops



• g


U l

Office \


~ "DD

FIGUR E 1. Ph n of the large compoun d of the Imperia l Palace , referred t o as

daidairi, or The Grea t Palac e Enclosure . The Chödö-i n was an official audience

hall with a larg

contests . The H ian shrine in the centre of moder n Kyot o is a nineteenth century

reconstructio n

: courtyard , the Burakui n was a compoun d for celebrations and

f the Chödö-i n a t half of its original size.

ûl e


FIGUR E 2 . P I nof th e Imperia l Residence, th edairi. The Shishinden wasthe for-

mal meeting hall

where th e Empero r daily held his discussions with primar y of-

ficials. The pre>ent

imperial Palac e in Kyoto is an accurat e nineteenth century

reconstructio n


the Imperia l Residence.

of annua l ceremonial festivities. On the east or west, an d sometimes on bot h sides, of th e sout h facing mai n hall were annexes (tainoya), con- nected t o it with corridor s (watarirö). Fro m these annexes one or two galleries could lead int o th e garde n toward s garde n pavilions , so tha t th e whole complex of buildings surrounde d the open site for th e festivities. Gates in th e garde n galleries gave access t o th e site . All of th e buildings were raised on pillar s above th e ground . In front of thi s complex of buildings was a large pon d with one or mor e islands in it , something tha t was lacking in th e mor e official imperial palace .

The palatia l architectur e of th e Heia n aristocrat s was defined by Sawada Natari , a n early nineteent h century scholar on architectur e as a symmetric arrangemen t in his "Variou s Thought s on Houses " (Kaoku Zakkö, 1842).An illustratio n went with th e descriptio n in thi s source an d became a standar d illustratio n for publication s on Heia n garden s (see fig. 3). In spite of th e prevalence of thi s representatio n of classical palac e ar - chitecture , it must nevertheless be considered a n idealized simplification showing a symmetrical lay ou t tha t may have been archetypical , bu t was hardl y ever found in reality . Mor e recent research has shown tha t palaces were mostly asymmetrically planned . Certainly they were no t symmetric in th e late r Heian period , when man y famous , splendid garden s were built . Th e nineteent h centur y illustratio n therefor e doesno t serve ou r pur - pose with regar d t o symmetry , it only gives a n idea of the appearanc e of Heian palac e architectur e with its halls an d pavilions connected by galleries all standin g elevated abov e th e groun d on stilts. 8 A reaso n t o refrain from symmetry when laying ou t a palac e was th e need t o adap t t o th e natura l topograph y of a site . Layou t was of course also dictate d by convenience of th e organizatio n of entrances , room s an d corridors . Finally , Japanes e author s like t o poin t ou t a dislike for sym- metry in othe r aspects of Japan' s cultura l life, suggesting a mor e general aversion of symmetry in th e Japanes e genius. 9 Betha t asit may , organiza - tion of space in relatio n t o th e existing conditions , such asth e topograph y

of a site , must hav e played an importan t rol e in th e formatio n

freedom in lay out . One of th e palaces of the Fujiwar a regents will be described in some detail below t o illustrat e th e abov e statement . Th e Tösanjöde n Palac e was inhabite d by several successive generation s of th e Fujiwar a clan . It was even so importan t tha t it was used at a certain time as a temporar y residence for a n emperor . Th e palac e is often men- tione d in contemporar y sources or depicted in paintings . Fro m sources like these its appearanc e can be understoo d in quit e some detail , so tha t even a pla n view was draw n of its mai n buildings (see fig. 4). 1 0 Th e land on which th e Tösanjöde n Palac e was built was roughl y a hundre d meters

of a certai n


/F W

( H -,


t î T•

FIGUR E 4 . Pla n of the palace Tösanjöden . It shows th e main hall , almost cen- tral , with th e large annex on the east side situate d o n the right from it in th e plan . The buildings face th e pon d with itsthre e islands . Only the roofs of th e major halls ar e indicated with a screen tone . Connecting galleries were also roofed , (n.m . = natura l mound ; w. = natura l well; m.h . = main hall ; p . =pond. )


t o west, an d twice as larg e from nort h t o south . As for th e ie palace was thu s doubl e th e size of a middle class courtly ivooded hillock with a spring at its foot , bot h natura l

features , were in th e south-west corne r of th e plot. " Hillock an d spring

were incorpo i ited as garden-like feature s in th e tota l lay out . Slightly

nort h of thi s

building used as an entranc e porch , receptio n rooms , etc .

Th e west side

ting part s of

wide from eas plot of land , t residence. A

was i th e mai n entranc e in th e west wall , togethe r with connec-

ti e

'aced th e nearby imperial palace , which must hav e been th e

motivatio n t o locate th e main entranc e on thi s side . Th e seat of honou r

in th e main h

Th e seat was c ccupied by th e hos t of the house , tha t would hav e been the Empero r hims;lf at a certai n period of time . Th e host faced th e guests in

11 lies on th e easter n half of it , oriente d toward s th e west.

thi s way, whei with th e

A garde n pi nd lies t o th e south , which is th e usua l arrangemen t as we

will see in a1 tha t is th e on e

thi s pavilion d rectly in view. It formed a stage for musicians who played

at festivals or it was used as a moorin g place for pleasur e boats . Th e use

of th e palac e

discussed in

hillock was a l o appreciate d so tha t thi s was anothe r reason t o locat e th e

seat of honou r

spatial organ i atio n of th e palac e buildings of Tösanjöden .

they entered th e main hall from th e ant e room s connected

section of th e whole compound . ' 2

entra ic e

te r chapter . Only on e garde n pavilion is present , though , o n th e west side . Lookin g from th e seat of honou r one ha d

ensiswell illustrate d by contemporar y painting s tha t ar e chapte r 2.3 . One can imagine tha t th e sight of th e natura l

facing it . Such factor s were decisive for an asymmetric


Th e splendid

spacious pond garde n such as a t th e Tösanjöde n Palace . One may speak

in terms of a

typical courtl j garde n ha d a pon d with island(s) , a n open are a in front of

th e main hall

garde n of th e Tösanjöden Palac e will be discussed a s a representativ e ex-

ampl e of th e

Facing th e main hall of Tösanjöde n laid th e open area . I t was , as always, covered with a layer of white sand .' 4 Behind it laid th e pon d with ,

in thi s case, the e islands . Slightly off th e centra l axis of th e mai n hall laid

across th e water leading t o th e largest island . This bridge

was an arched one lacquered with vermilion . As usual , it was laid askew, diverging fror L a line perpendicula r t o th e facade of th e main hall . Two

th e first brid g

esidences of th e Heia n courtl y noble s usually possessed a

'garde n type ' because of certai n standar d elements . Th e

an d a littl e garde n strea m emptying int o th e pond . Th e

iristocrati c pon d garde n (fig. 5).' 3

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mor e bridges c f mor e simple design connected th e tw o remainin g islands

t o thelarge on< th e thir d islanc

bridg e could b : removed t o let pleasur e boat s pass through , or maybe t o block access tc th e islands from th e back . A natura l well existed a t th e foot of a natui al moun d in th e southwest corne r of th e compound . This was a typical f lature of th e Tösanjöde n Palace , althoug h garden s mostly ha d a natura l source of runnin g water . We will retur n t o thi s poin t in chapte r 4.3 of this par t one . The buildinj s of Tösanjöde n were arrange d in such a way tha t th e natura l well laii below th e poin t where th e main complex was connected t o th e gallery leading t o th e garde n pavilion . Th e water from this , reportedl y ove flowing, spring was led t o th e nort h unde r th e buildings elevated on sti! ts, t o ru n back toward s th e sout h unde r th e annexes east of the mai n haII. Fro m thi s poin t th e strea m was actually designed as a typical garde n trea m (yarimizu), with natura l rock s set here an d ther e in an d along it . R anning alon g th e easter n side of th e sand covered stretch ,

in front . Finally ther ewasa bridg ea t th e back , connecting with th e pon d shor e a t th e rear . Th e middle section of thi s

it finally empt ed int o th e north-eas t corne r of th e pond . Th e groun d aroun d thi s strea m was shaped in gently rising an d falling low garde n mound s tha t h; d some groun d cover in which a spars e plantin g was set. South of th e m ii n hall th e stream could be crossed by one stone bridge ,

a natura l slab , sandy stretch ,

after having entered throug h th e gat e in th e eastern garde n gallery . Her e an d th e ealong th e pon d shor e ther e were simple arrangement s of natura l rocks . 11 few solitar y trees stoo d on th e san d covered open space . Otherwise planin g was only found on th e island , an d on th e groun d forms a t th e st earn . Apar t from th e natura l woo d o n th e hillock in th e south-west , th a was largely left as it was found , decorative plantin g an d rock work was icattered an d sparse , something tha t is confirmed by con- temporar y picti irial representation s of gardens. 1 6

ind two plan k bridges . Over these bridges one entered th e fter having descended th e stair s of th e easter n annex , or


Th e appearancje of th e Tösanjöde n Palac e was reconstructe d from

descriptions an l depictions . I used it as a representativ e example t o in- troduc e some rjarticular features of th e Heia n pon d garde n as found in

th e courtl y aristocracy . Illustration s of garden s in contem -

residences of

porar y painting s give u s a clearer ide a of thei r appearance . Illustrativ e d pictions of Heia n garden s ar e foun d on painte d scrolls of


the period . These ar e in fact painte d stories showing a series of scenes tha t stan d in relatio n t o each other. 1 7 In rar e cases written word s will accom- pany the pictures , but at the scrolls in which we find th e gardens il- lustrate d ther e ar e n o captions . Each of the scenes shows something tha t relates t o th e subject matte r of the story told in th e scroll as a whole . Th e scenes showing garden s ar e therefor e first of all painte d for thei r narrativ e purpose . Th e narrativ e message will be in the activities of th e person s but t o what extent the message lies in th e garden represented remain s a ques- tion . Small scale scenes of a romanti c natur e showing a few person s in th e setting of a n intimat e garde n carr y withou t much doub t stron g narrativ e messages. In these cases the subject matte r of the scroll is always fic- tional. 18 Such scenes show the mor e intimat e courtyard s at th e back of the main hall in between buildings an d galleries. A single tree , o r a few low plant s ar e all th e garden-lik e details tha t ar e indicated . Large scale scenes tha t show official, public , or historic occasions ar e lesslikely depending on illustrativ e methods . Such scenes ar e shown in th e sections of scrolls discussed below. Fro m these we may assume tha t they mor e or less faithfully show the rea l appearanc e of a garde n in th e Heian period . Th e large open space in front of th e main hall is the main groun d for the festive or ceremonial gatherings of the nobles , the pon d is used for boating , an d th e island and pavilions as a stage for musicians . These festive events originate d from th e perennial rites of th e early emperors , when ruling was still a matte r of magic and gods , rathe r tha n politics . In the late Heian period these had developed int o something in between an official ceremony and an elegant festivity, that , t o be honest , could tur n int o mor e prosai c celebrating. 1 9

One of th e annua l ceremonial festivities staged in a n aristocrat' s garden is shown in a scroll paintin g title d "Pictur e Scroll of th e Pon y Contes t a t th e Imperia l Visit " (Komakurabe Gyökö Emakî) (see fig. 6). 2 0 Th e scroll relates in picture s the historica l visit tha t th e Empero r Go-Ichij o (1016 - 1045) pai d in 1024 t o his chief advisor (kampaku) Yorimichi of th e Fujiwara clan . Th e palac e shown in thi s illustratio n was Yorimichi' s Kaya-in Palace . Mor e detail s abou t thi s place ar e known from othe r sources , details tha t will be discussed in a later section of thi s work . T o entertai n th e Empero r an d on th e occasion of his visit a gran d ceremonial contest of little horses was held . This standar d festivity was always held on th e fifth day of th e fifth mont h in th e luna r calendar , roughly cor- respondin g t o a day in July on ou r moder n solar calendar . In spite of thi s indicatio n of th e time chrysanthemum s ar e shown blossoming and th e

FIGUR E 6. A sceneshowing

tur e Scroll of the Pon y Th eillustratio n isdescr

par t of th e garde n at th e palace Kaya-in in the "Pic-

contest at th e Imperia l Visit " (painted fourteent h century) ,

bedin th etext (trace d from a reproductio n of th eoriginal) .


leaves of maples ar e shown in autum n colours . Th e artis t may have

wanted t o stress th e beaut y of th e garden . In th e middle of the picture ,

in th e uppe r half, one may not e th e lower par t of th e main building of the

palace . Stair s lead u p from thegarde n t o asquar e platfor m elevated above

th e floor on shor t legs. Thi s is the seat of th e Emperor , who is no t visible.

At his right side Advisor Yorimichi himself is seated , othe r noble s sit on

th e veranda . Th e cushion-like bags bulging ou t unde r th e screens tha t

han g in th e open walls of the hall t o the left an d th e right of the stair s ar e

in fact no t bags bu t th e elaborat e dresses of courtl y ladies , no t allowed by

etiquett e t o expose mor e of themselves. 2 1

At th e left side of th e picture , a gallery with a pavilion jut s ou t int o th e garden an d over th e pond . Atemporar y platfor m isset u p in th e pavilion .


th e garde n pon d in front of th e main hall , tw o boat s ar e poled abou t


young cour t pages with thei r hair done in a Chinese manner , as certain

record s state . One may also not e th e costumed musicians who sit in the boats , beatin g thei r drum s and blowing their flutes . The boats , also in a Chinese fashion , have thei r sterns modeled as th e heads of a drago n an d

a phoenix . An arche d vermilion bridg e leads t o th e opposit e shore , likely

an island , on which mor e drum s ar e set up , as well as a temporar y tent

used, as wemay guess, t o house th e drummer s an d othe r musicians. 2 2 Th e shore of th e pon d is designed with inlets an d peninsula's . Rocks ar e scarce . An interesting detail is th e depicting of th e couples of cranes an d

turtle s tha t play here an d ther e along th e edge of the water . It can no t be

a realistic representatio n of live animals . Perhap s these ar e artificial

garde n figures as ha s been suggested or otherwise it ispar t of th e painter' s idiom with a deeper meaning. 2 3 Solitary trees of differing species stand here an d there ; maple an d pine trees ar e determinabl e beyond any doubt ,

bu t othe r kinds of trees ar e also indicated .

A scroll titled "Pictur e Scroll of the Annua l Rites an d Ceremonies "

(Nenjü GyOjiEmaki) shows th e series of annua l festivities an d ceremonies celebrated amon g th e courtl y aristocracy . A section titled "Visi t of th e Feudal Lord s t o th e Emperor " (Chökin Gyökö) shows par t of a garden

(see fig. 7). 2 4 Th e overall compositio n of th e pictur e is similar t o th e one discussed above . Again only th e lower sections of the main hal l ar e shown

an d only th e sand stretc h and adjoinin g pon d edge of th e garde n can be

seen. It must have been th e most practica l way t o represent any scene tak - ing place in front of a main hall , th e size of any scene on a scroll was

limited an d tended t o be narro w an d elongated . Th e palace , of which par t

is shown in thi s second picture , was th e Höjüji-de n Palace , where th e

politically powerful Empero r Go-Shirakaw a (1132 - 1198) was in

FIGUR E 7. A garden tur e Scroll of the Annja l tur y copy of a twelfth (traced from a repro d

scene from the palace Höjüji-den as illustrate d in the "Pic - Rites an d Ceremonies " tha t is an early seventeenth cen- century original (1175?). The text describes th e illustratio n iction of th e seventeenth centur y original) .


residence after his retirement . In front of the mai n hall on e seesth e feudal lord s ceremonially puttin g in an appearanc e in full armour. 2 5 One may discern in th e same place as in th e illustratio n of th e pony contest jus t described, th e squar e cushion on which th e Imperia l Higness would sit, althoug h he isno t depicted ou t of respect for his status . Again th e courtl y ladies ar e only shown as part s of thei r colourful robes . They ar e looking on from behind th e hanging reed screens (sudare). Like in th e preceding illustratio n guests ar e again entertaine d by th e exotic sight of a phoenix- headed boat , poled aroun d by four page boys ; only one boa t is shown thoug h an d n o musicians ar e seated in it . At th e lower edge of th e illustra - tion , in th e right half, th e ridge of a temporar y ten t is shown , unde r which the musicians must be seated, suggested by th e fiery decoratio n of a huge drum . Th e ten t with its musicians stand s on a n island , a vermilion lac- quered bridg e leads t o it. 2 6 Rocks ar e set in arrange d group s along th e garde n stream t o th e right an d a t a few point s alon g th e edge of th e pond . Sparse plantin g can be seen in th e open are a in front of th e main hall where th e feudal lord s are . Pines an d cherries can be mad e ou t amon g th e trees . A different representatio n of th e same garde n on th e same scroll shows th e same amoun t of trees an d th e same species at th e same place . The appearanc e of thi s mansion , th e Höjüji-den Palac e is know n in detail from othe r sources as well. A model of th e buildings has been made , bu t th e miniatur e trees tha t were pu t on the model d o no t accor d with th e representatio n o n th e scroll (fig. 8) .

Belonging t o a slightly late r period is a scroll titled "Pictur e Scroll of th e Incarnation s an d Miracles at th e Kasuga Temple " (KasugaGongen Kenki Emaki). 21 A section shows a residence of a Fujiwar a governo r called Toshinor i (d.1309?) (see fig. 9) . Th e representatio n is less stylistic an d mor e natura l tha n th e preceding pictures discussed. It is mor e difficult t o judg e how reliable thi s one is as historica l source because ther e is no t th e abundanc e of corroboratin g documentar y evidence as was th e case above. 2 8 Th e garde n ha s many elements tha t we have alread y noticed . There is th e stream tha t passes unde r some buildings before it flows int o the pond . Along th e stream , th e groun d has been shaped int o gently slop- inglowgarde n mounds , clad with some groun d cover an d sparsely plante d with solitar y shrub s an d trees of different species. Her e an d ther e rocks ar e set in unobtrusiv e groups . Revealing th e wealth of th e owner — besides th e spaciousness an d the rich decoratio n of th e architectur e —ar e a bir d cage an d some tra y landscapes (bonseki, or bonsari),pu t o n a tra y in front of th e veranda . These miniatur e landscapes were hardl y produce d at tha t time within Japan , an d were exotics importe d from th e mainland .

7 ' i^fjr

FIGUR E 8 . Reconstructe d aerial view of th e Höjüji-den Palace , th e resemblance

t o th e Tösanjöde n detail . Compar e with

si ems

striking at first sight , but they differ considerably in

figure 5.

FIGUR E 9. Aviewof thegarden a t the residenceof governor Fujiwara Toshinori . Traced from a reproductio n of the original "Pictur e Scroll of the Incarnation s and Miracles at th e Kasuga Temple" , date d 1309.


A peacock

swimin th e

dramati c arra i gements below a pin e wood tha t closes off th e garde n an d

th e section of th e scroll. 2 9

an 1 hen , an d a hare , walk aroun d freely. Mandari n ducks p oi d an d fly over it . Acros s th e pon d stones ar e set u pin mor e

A few mor e scjoll painting s exist tha t ar e contemporar y or of slightly later

dat e an d tha t depict residences of th e rich . Th e elements an d features shown in picti res of garden s ar e th e same , like th e garde n strea m with a few rocks , the undulatin g groun d t o th e left an d right of it , where a few solitary trees itand , th e pond , etcetera. 3 0



None of th e historical palace garden s discussed so far has survived th e

ages . Sometimes it is possible t o designate th e site an d sometimes garde n remains can be found ; bu t if so , these form only a mino r par t of th e original tota l arrangemen t and usually they hav e no t been left unaltere d since the time of thei r construction . However, within templ e compound s

a relatively large numbe r of rathe r complete Heia n garden s still exists.


The temple garden s were all constructe d after th e later half of th e eleventh

century or after th e twelfth an d ar e therefor e of a slightly late r dat e tha n the famed palaces . All ar e clearly within th e definitions of th e palatia l pon d garde n so tha t it apparentl y was already a standar d typ e of garden

at tha t time . These templ e garden s d o no t appea r on illustrativ e painting s

of th e time . Th e temples in which Heia n period garden s ar e still found were built a t some distance from th e capita l city, where they hav e been lesslikely t o fall prey t o destructive forces in times of disturbanc e an d upheaval . Perhap s history has dealt mor e respectfully with temples tha n with palaces. 3 1 Of course n o plantin g remains from th e long pas t Heia n period . Wha t remains isusually th e pon d an d th e island(s) with rocks arrange d her e an d ther e along th e shores . In somecases th e main templ e hall still stands , bu t often only th e remains of it ar e found , in th e form of foundatio n stones used unde r th emain standin g pillars . Th e locatio n of th e hall isalwaysop - posite th e pon d garden , exactly as in th e residentia l palaces . Th e image one may form of th e spatia l relatio n tha t existed between th e main hall an d garde n informs therefor e no t only abou t a Heia n templ e garde n bu t also gives a n idea on th e atmospher e in the palaces . In recent years a lot of research has been don e on thes e old templ e gardens ; rock ar - rangements , washed over with soil , even garde n streams , hav e been ex- cavated or otherwise been reconstructed . Complet e an d convincing reconstruction s with th e histori c garde n rock s a t han d have been under -


taken . Some )f these tangibl e specimens of Heia n garde n ar t will be

treate d below

known of pala|ce garden s throug h othe r sources . Th e most importan t dif-

ference is a s

layout of th e fjonds, islands an d buildings of th e temples . But apar t from

this , th e oth e

ronger emphasi s on symmetry an d axiality found in th e

As we will see ther e is a stron g resemblance t o what is

main principles ar e th e same . Fo r instance , th e templ e

garden s also dften have a garde n stream with decorativ e rock s set along

it .

Th e fact thp t temple garden s of th e period shoul d resemble secular

palace garden: is because they were used in th e same way. Temples where

garden s ar e

aristocrati c With t o serveasthei r residence . Some of th e garden s belonged t o family temjles of th e Fujiwara clan. 3 2 Garden s a t temples served t o entertai n gues s in th e same way as in palaces . Ceremonia l festivities were

staged in th e place on th e islands in it .I-

differences. A main hall of a palace was th e seat of th e most honoure d

spectator s a t festive ceremonies . In temples , though , it was th e place where Buddh; statue s were set up , tha t faced th e garde n an d overlooked th e pon d an d islands . On e may presume tha t th e sentiments a t temple festivals woul p therefor e have differed from th e ambianc e a t palaces .

act indication s tha t it was th e intentio n t o evoke th e at - Buddhist paradis e o n earth. 3 3 But from description s of

Ther e ar e in mospher e of

religious festi als it is clear tha t th e materializatio n of thi s paradis e was quit e earthly , \t a sutr a readin g ceremony in th e Tale of Genji, a contem-

porar y novel , xtrem e car e ispai d t o th e coloure d robe s of th e priests , th e

music an d

things , rathe r tha n kneeling down in piou s prayer. 3 4

impanying dancing ; th e guests discuss all these magnificent

bun d were established by abbot s an d high priest s of

>pen space in front of th e main templ e hall , boatin g too k an d temporar y tent s for musicians were set u p o n th e owever similar as they may seem in thi s respect , ther e were

Effectively me must view these pon d garden s in temples within a n old

Far-Easter n

t o pla n templ e complexes in monumenta l symmetric

arrangement s n which a Buddha figure occupied th e main position. 3 5 Th e old complexe > were monasterie s tha t never ha d decorativ e gardens ,

though . Th e

sparta n i char a te r . Th e lat e Heia n perio d temple garde n retaine d a littl e of

th e monume n al axiality of th e early monasteries , bu t clearly underwen t

a strong influ:

pon d garden s appeare d as par t of monumenta l temple architecture .

Th e Buddh a1 alls were less used a t festivities tha n were th e mai n halls of

palaces . In plain tha t

ymmetry an d axial plannin g of th e lay ou t stressed thei r

of th e cultura l tradition s of palace architecture ; large scale

pies mor e use was mad e of outdoo r space , which may ex- s ar e a great deal wider tha n in palace gardens . Also th e

tei i

po id


open stretc h in front of th e main hal l is mor e spacious at some temples ,

as th e following paragrap h shows . It discusses as an illustrativ e example

a garde n a t a templ e called Mötsu-ji .


Fa r nort h from present Toky o lies Hiraizumi , a little countr y town tha t

once was a brillian t centr e of courtl y Fujiwar a

par t of th e twelfth centur y a norther n branc h of th e Fujiwar a clan had its palaces an d temples in Hiraizumi , before it was crushed in 1189 at th e downfall of th e dynastie s of th e Heia n period . Th e remain s of several large temples here have remaine d largely undisturbe d unti l today , since thi s place was rathe r separat e from th e cultura l an d political centres t o th e sout h an d west. 3 6

culture . Durin g th e larger

Amon g th e remnant s in Hiraizum i is a garde n pon d with decorative

rock arrangement s a t th e site of th e temple Mötsu-ji . Th e garde n remains

at Mötsu-ji must be qualified as some of th e best preserved Heia n period

garde n arrangements ; it is worthwhile t o trea t the m extensively. Th e templ e was established in 1117 by decree of the Empero r Tob a (1102 - 1156) in accordanc e with a long-cherished desire of Fujiwara Motohir a (1100? - 1157). 37 Empero r Tob a became a reigning , infan t empero r in 1107 an d abdicate d fourteen year s later , an d ruled from

behind th e screens. It wasno t an unusua l procedur e for an empero r t o rule

in thi s way. Cloistered emperor s (inset), as they ar e called, trie d in fact t o

cur b Fujiwar a power. 3 8 Tha t Mötsu-ji could b e established as a temple showstherefor e tha t politica l weight was still on th e Fujiwar a sidein 1117.

Th e templ e initially escaped th e 1189 rampag e when most of th e othe r palaces an d temples in th e neighbourhoo d fell prey t o th e flames, never- theless it burn t down as th e result of a n accident no t long after that .

Th e large , flat stones tha t served as foundatio n for th e pillar s tha t sup - porte d th e floors an d roof s still indicat e th e place where th e temple buildings stood . Sout h of what mus t have been th e main templ e hall lies an open space roughl y fifty meters square . It corresponds , of course , t o


e san d covered stretc h in front of th e main halls in palaces , althoug h it


almos t twice as large as th e open are a a t th e Tösanjöde n Palac e (fig.

10). Th e pon d is also large . It measures abou t 180meters in th e east-west directio n an d ninety meters across from th enorther n t o th e souther n edge,

a t a poin t in front of th e main hall . Ther e isalso a n island . Th e south-eas t shor e was , as excavations revealed, paved with rounde d stones t o suggest

a beach . Th e edge of th e pon d ha s been restore d accordingly . A pro -

FIGUR E 10. Pla n of th e garden remain s a t Môtsu-j i an d the neighbouring Kanjizaiô-in . The western half of th e pla n shows th e large pon d of Môtsu-ji an d th e locatio n ofits main hal l with galleries an d kiosks . The rectangle in th e eastern half of this i Ian was the site of th e temple Kanjizaio-in belonging t o Fujiwara Motohira' s w fe. A t th e tim e of th e drawin g of thi s pla n (1950's) th e site was still in agricultur a use , on e may not e th e rounde d parcels of the rice fields. In th e nor - ther n par t of he rectangula r siteth e locatio n of two Buddh a hals is indicated . The pon d situatec t o th e sout h of these ha s recently been reconstructed .


trudin g embankmen t o n a centra l positio n in th e souther n pon d edge, in- dicates th e positio n of a bridg e tha t once led t o th e island . Remains of bridg e pillar s were foun d unde r th e water level. On e could enter th e garde n throug h a souther n gate , jus t in front of thi s bridge . Foundatio n stones still indicat e itsposition . A second bridg e connected th e island with th e norther n shore , s o tha t on e coul d proceed t o th e mai n hal l over th e island o n a rout e tha t also formed th e centra l axis . A procession over th e bridges an d island toward s th e main hall with its Buddh a statue s mus t have formed apar t of th e protoco l at ceremonial festivities. 3 9 Th egat e for daily use was in th e east wall of th e compound . Th e souther n edge of th e pon d features tw o large rock compositions , roughl y fifty meters t o th e east an d west of th e main , sout h gat e an d th e bridge (fig. 11). At th e south-eas t a peninsul a stacked with rock s jut s ou t int o th e water , ter - minatin g visually in a rocky islet set a little apar t from thi s projection . A slanting cliff o n th e islet sticks u p t o abou t tw o meters abov e th e water level. It s sturdy , phalli c appearanc e contrast s markedl y with th e placid surface of th e garde n lake . Th e expanse of th e water extends in th e gently rising beaches a t thi s easter n side . West of th e bridg e at th e souther n side of th e pon d is anothe r grou p of rocks . A solitary hillock comes close t o th e water edge an d rock s ar e arrange d on it stepwise; th e lowest ones lie in an d below th e water . Th e whole comes u p t o four meters or so abov e th e level of the pond . Closer inspection shows tha t rounde d rock s ar e laid horizontall y a t th e water edge, partl y submerged , whereas craggy rocks stan d vertically an d higher t o retai n th e slope . Forgettin g tha t thi s is a garden , on e seesa strikingly realistic miniatur e representatio n of a natura l coas t of sand-polishe d rock s beneat h th e crag s of ventifacts. 4 0 Th e west side of th e pon d has filled with silt . It mus t have extended.som e twenty meters o r more , althoug h it was probabl y shallow . Two pavilions stoo d o n th e nort h embankment , east an d west of th e place where th e bridg e began . Thei r locatio n is still indicate d by some remainin g founda - tio n stones . They were connected with galleries t o th e main Buddh a hall . Fro m th e site of thes e pavilions on e command s a fine view over th e ex- pans e of th e water an d th e respective roc k arrangement s a t th e opposit e shore . At th e tim e when th e templ e still stoo d these tw o pavilions were referred t o as 'Th e Sutr a Storage ' (Kyözö) an d 'Th e Bell Tower ' (Shôrô). 4 1 I t isunlikely , however, tha t the y ever actuall y containe d sutra s or a bell . Th e name s recall th e old symmetrically laid ou t monasteries , in which a sutr a storag ean d abelltower indeed too k position s t o th e left an d right of a centra l axis . But in tha t arrangemen t ther e was never place for a decorativ e pon d garden . When compare d t o a pla n view of a palace , for instanc e th e reconstructe d ma p of Tösanjöden , one sees tha t bot h

FIGUR E 11. Ti e of Mötsu-ji , eas

'roug h seashore ' rock arrangement s a t the souther n pon d edge and west of the main gat e (twelfth century) .


pavilions a t Mötsu-ji belong t o atraditio n of monumenta l palac e architec- ture . They must have been open structure s used t o enjoy th e garden . Fro m a reservoir in th e north-easter n quarte r of th e site ra n a garden stream . It' s paved bed an d accompanyin g garde n rock s hav e been ex- cavated recently. This stream entered in th e north-easter n corne r of th e pond , no t far from 'Th e Bell Tower ' pavilion . I t is likely tha t th e place where th e strea m enters th e pon d was designed o n purpos e so as t o enjoy th e sight an d soun d of fresh water from th e pavilion . Contemporar y record s speak of boatin g partie s on th e garde n pond . 'Th e Sutr a Storage ' pavilion was probabl y used as a moorin g where one entered th e boat s or waited for them . This was one of th e usual functions of thi s western garde n pavilion in palaces. 4 2 Remains of thre e othe r temple gardens , related t o Mötsu-ji in form an d history can be found in th e region . They were established by close family members of the same Fujiwar a Motohira , who founded Mötsu-ji . All ar e of a smaller scale. 4 3




Th e last cha p ers o n th e Heia n perio d inten d t o clarify th e identit y of th e garde n maker > as well a s t o discuss th e theorie s o n th e ar t of garde n mak - ing tha t existed at tha t time .


In contempo iary document s few name s appea r of noblemen who were

reportedl y actively interested in th e ar t of garde n making. 4 4 Ther e is for instance a ce tai n Enen , or E-Ajari Enen , which means something like Painting-Pri e ;t Enen. 4 5 H e was an officially appointe d painte r of religious subj cts— record s of th e 1020'srelat e of hisactivities inth e field

— bu t his n a structio n of

perial Adviso • Yorimichi of th e Fujiwar a clan is discussed in a previou s

section tha t describes a n illustratio n from th e "Pictur e scroll of th e Pon y

Contes t at t h

Painting - Pries t Ene n was actually no t jus t a priest , he was of Fujiwar a stock himself and no t of th e lowest branches . H e was of th e same genera- tion as Yorin ichi, thei r respective grandfather s were brothers . Althoug h

Enen carries

amon g th e aifstocrats . Th e nam e of anothe r priest , Jöi , also return s quit e often in th e document s Tlokudai-ji Höge n Jö i is his full name , High Pries t Jö i of th e Tokudai-j i tqmple. 4 6 Jö i is also closely related t o th e Fujiwar a clan .

Tokudai-j i w; s in fact a family templ e of th e clan , hewas therefor e in Fu -

ne is also mentione d several times with regar d t o th e con-

tie ,

garde n at Kaya-in. Th e garde n a t thi s palac e of th e Im-

Imperia l Visit" .

lerical names he must therefor e be considered a n aristocra t

jiwar a service

Tha t almos t inevitably supposes tha t he was of Fujiwar a

birth , as th e importan t post s were always occupied by clan members .

Sources indee b confirm this , althoug h with someambiguity . H ewas either

a grandso n o

Palace . In I'. 34 it is reporte d tha t he worked o n a garde n a t a temple Hökongo-i n n which h e set u p stones an d mad e a garde n stream . In

anothe r i inst a ice

he worke d togethe r with a certai n Minamot o Morotoki ,

a great-grandso n of Advisor Yorimichi from th e Kaya-in


on th e garde n at an imperial palace . Jö i taugh t gardening techniques t o several others ; an d in fact a lineage of garde n teacher s an d disciples descended from two of Jöi' s pupils. 4 7 It forms th e origin of a rathe r large grou p of garde n technicians known as Stone Erecting Priest s (ishitateso). They were of commo n or even low social standing . In the early mediaeval period they formed a grou p of semi-professional gardener s mainly involv-

edwith th

Ninna-ji . Chapte r 7.2 of par t two on th e mediaeval period discusses a garde n book tha t they wrote . In priest Jö i of Fujiwar a birt h we find therefor e a channel throug h which Heia n aristocrati c knowledge on gardenin g theories was transmit - ted t o lower layers of society in late r period s of history . Jöi' s uncle (or th e brothe r of his grandfather , accordin g t o certai n

sources) was most active of all th e Fujiwara' s involved in garden s (see fig. 12). This man , Fujiwara Toshitsuna , was a son of Yorimichi from th e Kaya-in Palace . Toshitsun a most likely also compiled th e garde n manua l

Sakuteiki tha t is th e subject of th e next chapter , therefor e this person in mor e detail. 4 8

eplacingof garde n stones . Their

activitiescentered inth e templ e

I will discuss


Toshitsuna , who' s date s ar e tentatively given as 1028 -1094,

was bor n as an illegitimate son of Fujiwara Yorimichi , son of th e great Fujiwara Michinaga . Toshitsuna' s mothe r later marrie d the governor of th e provinc e of Sanuki , th e provincia l Tachiban a Toshitoo . Toshitsun a therefor e also carried th e family nam e Tachibana . Toshitsuna' s family line was no t completely impeccable. 4 9 Since goo d lineage an d a high posi - tio n in th e Fujiwara family tree were importan t social values in hiscircles, his birt h may have been a psychological factor explaining his unusuall y profoun d search int o th e ar t of garde n making . Late r in his life, in fact , he was take n again as a n acknowledged child of Yorimichi . Toshitsun a was appointe d a pos t as a high steward of one of th e pro - vinces; bu t it is likely tha t he installed some deput y in his place , as he re - mained living in Fushimi , a river por t sout h of th e capita l Heian . Hi s residence was located on a beautiful scenic spo t tha t late r became th e site of a retired emperor' s palace . Toshitsun a is known t o have written poetr y an d some literar y criticism, bu t distinguished himself abov e all in th e field of gardens . When he was a boy he had accompanie d his father Yorimichi o n his inspection visits t o th e sites where his palace s were built . Thu s he ha d seen th e work s o n th e Kaya-in palace in progress , where Enen also was involved; an d he ha d visited th e constructio n siteof a palac e known as Byödö-in. Her e he hear d all kinds of advise an d gained insight in aspects of garde n makin g tha t would provid e th e basic subject matte r for his garde n book . In th e twelfth












FIGUR E 12. Dfegram

Toshitsuna , En e 1 an d Jö i —actively intereste d in garden s —wh o ar e mentione d

in the text .

showing th e blood relation s of the Fujiwara members


mont h of 1093his mansio n burn t dow n an d th e manuscrip t tha t recorded

thi s catastroph e als o deplores th e loss of the garden . Soon after Toshitsun a himself passed away. 5 0


Enen , Jöi , an d Toshitsun a were thre e outstandin g men amon g a limited numbe r of nobles tha t ha d an interest in matter s of garde n making . It must also be understoo d tha t th e numbe r of buil t garden s was also small . By observing , an d being somewhat involved with , th e constructio n of on e or twogarden s some nobles achieved a reputatio n inth e field, bu t it would be an overstatemen t t o say tha t they were garde n artist s or garde n profes - sionals . Thi s kind of ad-ho c amateuris m is well illustrate d in a section from th e contemporar y novel th e Tal e of Genji :

Genji gave order s for finishing th e house . Since word ha d been sent

tha t he would b e a t his Katsur a villa , people ha d gathere d from all his nearb y manors , an d presently sough t him ou t at Öi . H e set them t o clearing th egarden . ''Wha t ajumble . It could bea rathe r distinguished

garde n — bu t why tak e th e trouble ?

work of clearing th e broo k tha t ra n from unde r th e east gallery, Genji ha d throw n off his cloak. "

" Personall y supervising th e

Althoug h Princ e Genji apparentl y shows some active enthusias m for th e work in th e garden , it is actually th e men tha t d o th e work . It does no t tak e to o much imaginatio n t o see tha t they also d o th e regula r maintenance , a less exciting occupatio n for a nobleman . Th e fact tha t great garden s were mad e in th e Heia n period must have been because of expertise found amon g nameless labourers . These people belonged t o th e land on which they lived as a kind of bondsme n tha t could be called upo n whenever necessary. 5 2 An interesting account date d 1018tells of th e hun - dreds of people summone d t o hau l some large garde n rocks , pulled over rollers runnin g on board s tha t were laid out. 5 3 Anothe r documen t lists over a hundre d names of high rankin g govern- ment officials who presented decorativ e rocks for th e garde n tha t was t o be built a t a palace called Kujöden. 5 4 These officials must hav e consulted underlings on th equalitie s of th estones tha t they wanted t o present . There must have been people wh o searched for th e stones an d transporte d them t o th e site . These will again have been th e men of th e land tha t knew th e places in th e forests an d th e hills where stones suitabl e for a garde n could be found . Th e following paragraph s deal with Toshitsuna' s not e boo k on garde n making . Th e manuscript , strikingly , does no t trea t th e technical aspects of garde n construction . When technical details ar e touche d upo n these ar e


always discussled

These ar e th e

th e constructio n

from a poin t of view of an onlooker , or supervisor ,

tiiingstha t Toshitsun a must have experienced when visiting

sites of th e palaces of his father .


Th e garde n m nua l Sakuteiki exists a t present in th e form of a handwrit - ten text on two scrolls. Th e origina l is kept by th e Tanimur a family in Kanazawa but facsimile re-editions exist. 5 5 Word s of th e text ar e draw n with ink on th ; pape r makin g use of a soft brush . Th e letters ar e writte n in a fluid, rui ning style using a lot of th e phoneti c Japanes e hiragana alphabe t rath« rtha n th e ideographi c characters . Thi s way of using brus h an d language known as th e cursive script (sösho), was particularl y favoured in ccurtly , aristocrati c circles, where much stress was laid on its elegance of expression. 5 6 Th e manua l ïas been known as Sakuteiki, which means "Note s on

Garde n Makiig" , since th e late seventeenth century . Its

though , is Senzai Hishö, "Secre t Extract s on Gardens". 5 7 T o confor m t o

th e existing piictic e I will also use th e nam e Sakuteiki rathe r tha n Senzai Hishö. Th e laiter , older titl egives food for thought . Why should informa -

tio n on

I thin k it m ist be explained agains t a social-psychological background , an d it is wor h th e troubl e investigating thi s because th e natur e of the secrecy of Ja j an' s garde n book s changes in th e course of th e centuries . Th e basis for politica l power structure s amon g th e Heia n ruling aristocrac y w;s family lineages. On e inherited importan t post s in govern- ment rathe r tha n gaining them throug h othe r apparen t merits or capacities , suc h as soundnes s of decision makin g or a n unusuall y goo d in- telligence. Th : assignment of government post s in Chin a o n th e contrar y was based on the merits of th e perso n involved. Historie s of Chin a speak of its 'merit o :racy' , or 'meri t system'. 5 8 Heian' s government was no t a meritocracy . )n e needed family ties , preferably Fujiwara , if one aspired t o success in t olitics. Intelligence an d knowledge, wereno t of primar y im- portanc e t o t!ie individual when inheritin g posts . But for th e Fujiwara' s as a group , aFter all a rulin g oligarchy , it was of utmos t importanc e t o keep knowled »e, of whatever nature , within thei r own ranks . A free traf- fic of knowle dge was no t desireable ; on th e othe r hand , transmittin g it secretly back :d u p th e existing hierarchy , th e lineages of personally favoured descendants . Withi n thi s practic e it was only natura l tha t infor- matio n on g< rden makin g should als o be kept secret. 5 9 On e may even

oldest title ,

gard e is have been secret?


assume tha t Toshitsuna' s ardou r when compiling his Sakuteiki was stimulate d by th e reality tha t he was creating his own bod y of secret knowledge, so tha t he could contribut e something t o th e Fujiwara supremacy an d ensur e his own position . His bastard-Fujiwar a birt h an d later recognitio n as a tru e son of Fujiwar a Yorimichi could be related t o thi s contributio n he mad e t o th e body of Fujiwar a secrets; however, nothin g concretely support s thi s hypothesis .

Seen in th e context of th e still rathe r fragmented world of garde n making , one canno t bu t be impressed by th e profoun d insight eleventh century Toshitsun a shows in his garde n boo k int o theoretica l principles of garden design. Also the systematic arrangemen t of bit s of informatio n int o mor e or less consistent chapter s is striking . But n o informatio n a t all is given on th etechnique s of plantin g or transplanting , on trimmin g trees or main - tainin g garde n plants . We read nothin g abou t techniques of haulin g stones , preparin g th e steady foundation s o n which they stan d in th e garden , etcetera , etcetera . In short , Toshitsun a ha d looked at garde n mak- ing from a distance. 6 0 Th e content s of th e Sakuteiki ar e to o theoretica l an d a t point s even to o intellectual t o call it a manua l on garde n construc - tion . Toshitsun a is only one of th e noblemen tha t showed a n interest in garden s an d happen s t o be the on e wh o wrot e an d whose note s have been transmitte d t o late r generations . Most intellectual is th e introductio n of the Sakuteiki an d it is temptin g t o introduc e a little of it here . Some fundamenta l an d universal principal s of garde n design an d creativity in garde n ar t ar e formulate d in a com- prehensive manner . It says:

When you place stones (for a garde n wk.) , it is first an d foremost necessary t o gras p th e overall sense . — Following th e topograph y of th e site an d seeing how th e pon d lies on e mus t thin k over th e particula r aesthetic sense of all part s of th e place . The n recall landscap e scenery as it is foun d in nature , an d seeing how different all th e part s of th e site ar e you must place th e stones by combining these impressions. 6 1

Th e overall sense t o be grasped touche s upo n a mai n principle in garde n design of achieving a sense of unity . Any landscap e design ha s t o be created in a singleness of though t or consistency of idea. 6 2 Th e questio n for th e aesthetic senses of a site seems t o be non e othe r tha n th e search for th e 'geniu s of th e place' , a poin t of major consequence in landscape design of any age. 6 3 Toshitsuna' s phras etouche s alsoupo n a fundamenta l mechanism of creativity in garde n design. Creatio n is regroupin g of men-


ta l images, m

t o these. 6 4 Thfe post-moder n designer of ou r days turn s t o menta l images

of existing gar ie n

artisti c worl d of th e capita l Heian , archetypica l garde n images — well known traditiona l imagery of composition s of garde n material s — were

found mostly tio n of garden

following ph r ise in th e introductio n of th e Sakuteiki says :

king no t yet existing association s of ideas , an d give a form

styles an d recombines these int o new creations. 6 5 In th e

n natur e itself, because ther e existed as yet hardl y a tradi -

art ; althoug h th e garde n boo k urges t o study th e past . Th e

—Tak e as a model th e creation s left t o us by th e famous men of old ; and , consic ering th e suggestions of th e owner of th e hous e (where th e garde n is tJ be made , wk.) , on e must create , exercising one' s own aesthetic seises .

Th e relatio n b tween th e wishes of a n owner an d th e aesthetic ideas of th e designer is als< on e of th e classical problem s in garde n design. One canno t bu t conclude I hat Toshitsuna' s word s ar e well though t out , his Sakuteiki is a serious pipvate study .

It is clear scenery as itis

ideas were developed in th e limited world of th e Heia n aristocracy . Speak-

ing of it in t e

much histori c 1 insight . Chapte r 4.4 of thi s par t return s extensively t o th e

introductio n of th e manua l Sakuteiki. Her e it was only briefly introduce d

t o illustrat e

philosophi c pisf a 'ace, th e rest of th e manua l is less profound . Althoug h it

remains concerned with theoretica l ideas , these ar e mostly individual

note s or idea:

grouped in consistent sections . Th e following treat s these sections one by one. 6 7 Th e first p a t deals with typical problem s tha t occur in th e early stages of the constructio n of a garden . Decisions on th e locatio n of th e pond , th e island(s) an d i s bridges hav e t o be made . Implicitly it becomes clear tha t th e Sakuteiki iddresses th e typical pon d garden of a Heia n aristocrati c residence.

on garde n lay out , tha t are , withou t further comment ,

much mor e can be said abou t concepts like 'landscap e found in nature ' an d 'one' s own aesthetic senses' , a s these

tl at

ms of th e twentieth centur y as I did abov e does no t give

Toshitsuna' s intellectua l standing . Compare d t o thi s

The n follovls a section on variou s modes in which one may design a garden . Types of landscap e scenery ar e discussed unde r headings as "Th e Mountai n Stre|am Style" , "Th e Pond-Poo l Style" , etcetera , from which

principles of g oun d form an d stone work ar e derived . Only in a few cases

ar e some brie!

ideas given o n planting , for example :


Fo r thi s roug h seacoas t on e place s a numbe r o f pointe d rocks , onl y a littl e separate d fro m th e actua l wate r edge , i n a disordere d way . Fro m

thes e rock s tha t exten d fro m th e wate r edg e a s if the y gre w fro m it ,

othe r stone s stan d furthe r of f th e shore . I t i s a goo d ide a t o se t a

isolate d rock s stil l furthe r away . Th e stone s hav e th e appearanc e o f be -

in g washe d out , a s on e mus t imagin e tha t the y ar e o n a plac e wher e the y

ar e expose d t o th e merciles s force s o f th e waves . Finall y yo u mus t sho w

a sandban k o r a whit e beac h her e an d there , an d som e pine s an d othe r tree s shoul d b e planted. 6 8


Withou t an y doub t thi s advis e wa s take n b y hear t b y th e maker s o f th e

roc k arrangement s a t th e pon d edg e i n th e garde n

positio n o f th e larg e roc k

o n man y point s wit h th e advis e o f Sakuteiki. Thi s confirm s tha t i t wa s know n a s a desig n idea . Standar d idea s o n ocea n scener y existe d tha t

relie d o n a standar d imag e o f a roug h seacoas t (fig . 13) . Roug h seacoast s

i n realit y ar e differen t fro m

force s o f win d an d water , th e changin g minera l qualitie s o f th e rock s ex - pose d t o it , an d othe r thing s lik e that . I n th e Sakuteiki nevertheless , th e ide a o f "Th e Ocea n Style " i s reduce d t o a precisel y define d for m o f on e typ e o f roug h seacoast . Th e menta l imag e belongin g t o "Th e Ocea n Style " i s therefor e a typification , a n idealizatio n o f reality .

o f Môtsu-ji 6 9 Th e com -

group s a t th e sout h edg e o f th e pond , confor m

plac e t o plac e accordin g t o th e differin g

"Th e Ocea n Style " i s on e amon g a serie s o f suc h idealize d archetypes .

Other s discusse d i n th e Sakuteiki

"Th e Broa d Rive r Style" , an d s o on. 7 0 I n thi s wa y i t become s a n idiomati c rang e o f language s o f form . A catalogu e fro m whic h th e designe r ma y choos e th e associativ e imag e tha t inspire s him . Mos t il - lustrativ e fo r m y poin t i s a mod e t o desig n a garde n title d "Th e Ree d Han d Style " (ashide no yo).

ar e "Th e Mountai n Strea m Style" ,

"Ree d Hand " i s th e nam e o f a styl e o f fluen t calligraph y no t unlik e th e

flowin g

Han d wa s use d t o writ e poem s o n smal l landscap e painting s showin g mar -

sh y ree d lands . Th e letter s an d word s o f thes e applie d poem s wer e express - ly stretche d an d elongate d s o a s t o matc h i n a n aestheticall y pleasin g wa y

th e line s tha t wer e draw n t o

scene . Writte n word s an d painte d landscap e ha d t o combin e int o on e har - moniou s wor k o f art . Th e reed s a s wel l a s th e othe r thing s o f natur e — rocks , shoreline , birds , th e wave s o f th e wate r — i n suc h landscap e miniature s wer e draw n i n a sof t an d flui d wa y t o mak e sens e a s a n artisti c for m i n combinatio n wit h th e handwriting . I t i s thi s sof t an d gentl e land - scap e tha t Toshitsun a ha s i n min d whe n h e write s ho w a garde n scen e lik e th e Ree d Han d shoul d look :

handwritin g i n whic h th e Sakuteiki itsel f wa s written. 7 1 Th e Ree d

represen t th e ree d stalk s i n th e landscap e

FIGUR E 13. Ric k arrangement s of th e 'roug h seashore ' type in th e pon d at the


Th e Reed Han d Style. Garde n mound s must no t be high . Stones ar e placed here an d ther e where sloping groun d forms come t o an end or where th e groun d comes at an end at th e pon d edge. Provid e small plant s like low grass bamboo s an d sedges. Choos e soft forms when plantin g trees , so willow an d plum . Always use laying stones for th e Reed Han d mode . They can belaid in atriangula r arrangemen t like the Chinese characte rpin. Such stones must be associated with little plant s tha t d o no t grow u p high , nor lush. 7 2

The Reed Han d mod e discloses best how the division Toshitsun a makes

must beevaluated . Th e 'Styles ' ar e idealized landscapes of th e elegant an d intellectual aristocrat , an d no t copies of actually existing geographical

. The next section in th e Sakuteiki discusses th e design of shorelines a t


ponds , an d of streams , an d islands . These ar e likewise divided in idealized types tha t serve as an inspirativ e menta l image . Thu s we find passages headed like "Th e Field Island" , or "Th e Rocky Shore Island". 7 3 All ar e associated with a particula r detailing of groundforms , rock work an d again only briefly on plants . Th e following paragraph s in th e Sakuteiki

trea t the constructio n of variou s types of waterfalls . Nine standar d

of having th e water fall ar e discerned, like th e "Running-Falling " way, or th e "Linen-Falling " in which water is mad e t o fall as a thi n sheet. 7 4 Then ther e isa long section on th e lay out of th e garde n stream . It clear- ly treat s th e typical strea m in th e palac e garde n as it is discussed in th e chapter s 2an d 3of thi s part . Thoshitsun a makes some reference t o certain theories of divinatio n in thi s section o n th e stream . Chapte r 4.3 covers thi s extensively. Th e next section in th e Sakuteiki, again relatively large , is a rang e of


instruction s in th e ar t of placing stones . It is title d "Ora l Instruction s o n the Placing of Stones" , so tha t we may assume tha t Toshitsun a recorde d only what ha d existed as a non-writte n tradition . In fact some individuals ar e noted in the text as sources of information . One comes across ' a Chinese ' (söjin), a certai n Hirotaka , an d Enen , th e Painting-Pries t whom

I introduce d before. 7 5 Hirotak a an d Enen associated with each othe r

since bot h were painter s in imperial service. 7 6 In anothe r section of his notes Toshitsun a state s tha t Enen gave him some texts on th e placing of stones . Ther e must have been a n exchange of informatio n amon g th e no - ble garde n enthusiasts . A reputatio n could therefor e have developed and

it is likely tha t Toshitsun a was known as a garde n fanatic . With some shorte r sections th e Sakuteiki closes. We read abou t superstition s and divination s on th e positio n of types of trees in the


garden . I will return t o thi s in th e next chapte r on the theorie s of divina- tion . The n th<re is a section on th e constructin g of wells, as well as some

personal not e

H e relates his joyhoo d visitst o th e Kaya-in palace an d speaks of Painting -

Priest Enen , \'ho passed on some document s abou t th e placing of stones

t o him . At t h


from Toshitsuna . Thi s is of bibliographica l importance .

end of th e second, an d last , scroll th e manuscrip t has th e

colipho n in a different handwriting :

Mornin g of th e twenty-seventh day of the sixth month , summer 1289. Overcome vith ennui I unrolle d thi s an d rea d it completely.

signed with tl e self-modest:

Old an d s t|ipi d me (gurö).

an d a n unreafiable signature . Then it is written :

This writi g belongs t o Nochin o Kyögokudono . It is a precious treasure . Ii must be kept secret -r—it must be kept secret. 7 7

with a different

Th e commf nt

tha t impressec

unidentified signature . of thes e two reader s is on e of respect . At least they were tha t they too k th e troubl e t o write some commen t an d sign


. Nochin o

Kfoögokudono, meaning th e Lor d of th e Lat e Kyögokudon o

w iS

Palac e was

lujiwar a Yoshitsune (1169 - 1206). Th e colopho n writer

assumed tha t

he writing was his . I t was therefor e originally believed tha t


th e writer . But from th e persona l note s in th e text of th e

Sakuteiki it This shor t

becomes clear tha t Toshitsun a was th e author . iummary of th e content s of th e Sakuteiki note s th e most im-

portan t char a

:teristics of the work . Profoun d theoretica l insight precedes

a systematic

A seriesof i id* al

one toward s These ar e

structed , an d upervised th e constructio n of somehimself. Toshitsun a had

heard a lot of

he got

from Enen . 7 8 H e also incorporate d theoretica l ideas from Chinese

informatio n from other s an d studied some document s tha t

qollection of stray note s on th e practic e of garde n planning .

images of natur e ar e summed u p asideas tha t may inspire oncret e design. note s of an aristocra t who ha d seen garden s being con-

ti e

book s as th e of sites founc

'ollowing pages show tha t trea t th e ideas on th e divinatio n in th e manua l Sakuteiki.



Th e Sakuteiki makes clear in itsintroductio n tha t th e plannin g of a garden was a matte r of reflecting upo n th e aspects of th e site . Th e garde n book was written sometime in the lat e eleventh century . At tha t tim e all th e courtly garden s tha t existed were of th e pon d an d island typ e an d were within , or close by, th e capita l of Heian . As most garden s t o which Toshi - tsun a could refer were therefor designed o n th e same kind of site , an in- quiry int o th e specific characteristic s of th e topograph y of th e land of th e capita l Heia n is mad e in the present chapter . Th e standar d lay ou t of a palace garde n accordin g t o th e Sakuteiki, an d th e topograph y of th e capita l Heia n ar e perfectly in accordanc e with each other . Althoug h it is difficult t o seewhich one existed first , it is at least clear tha t bot h reinfor- ced each other . Wha t resulted was a fixed plannin g scheme o n which no t only all th e pon d garden s in th e capita l relied, bu t also th e later gardens of th e period in othe r part s of Japan. 7 9

Th e valley in which th e city Heia n laid — th e valley in which at present Kyot o lies —drain s off toward s th e south-south-west . Th e average fall of th e lan d is abou t five or six millimeters per meter , in th e norther n half of th e plain a little steeper, u p t o one centimeter per meter. 8 0 Th e usual size of a site for an average middle class cour t noble' s residence was abou t 120 t o 120 meters ( = on e cho), on which th e lan d fell therefor e anywhere from sixty centimeters u p t o a meter. 8 1 A paragrap h from th e Sakuteiki o n th e garde n stream notes :

When one establishes th e levels for a water course , the lan d should fall abou t thre e percent , in orde r t o let the water flow by itself. The n th e strea m will ru n withou t stagnation , gently murmuring. 8 2

Following th e manual' s advise of a thre e percent fall, th e sixty t o a hun - dred centimeters fall —of an average 120meter site —would only allow for a stream length of twenty t o thirty-thre e meters . It follows tha t th e strea m would only ru n on a relatively shor t section of its cours e crossing over a n average plot . Wate r would be largely stagnan t over th e rest of its course . Th e Sakuteiki continue s in fact :

toward s th e end of the course of th e runnin g water , even if ther e is n o roo m for fürther grading , th e water will flow nevertheless being pushed forward from behind. 8 3

Othe r sections ar e similarly suggestive of th e proble m of keepingth e water running , aptly illustratin g the restrictive reality of th e topograph y of th e


capita l Heia n

Th e typical site sloped down toward s th e south-south-west .

When a streai i

was t o b e designed i n th e garden , th e non-runnin g part s

of it could

theoreticall y speaking b estagnan t o n th ehigher , norther n half

of th e site, o r

on th e lower , souther n half. If located in th e nort h ada m

ha d t o bebuil appearance ,


o r a basi n t o bedug ,which would mak e for a n unnatura l th e water level o f th e pond , would be high , maybe

higher tha n tl


low lying land o n th e souther n side. Anothe r way could

be t o collect

ti e

water o n th e souther n side of th e site , with th e runnin g

stileam located abov e it , coming from th e north . I n thi s case

par t of th e one would lo

)k upo n th e surface of th e water when standin g o n th e

higher, northern

side of th e site . Thi s way seems mor e natural , an dca n

be achieved

th e particula r

Th e city was streets . A site natura l surfade souther n half of

Iwth l lesseffort . This iseven mor e evident when on econsiders

of a site in relatio n t o th e urba n structur e of th e capital . lesigned a s a grid with north-sout h an d east-west runnin g was squar e an d surrounde d by walls. 8 4 I n heavy rain s th e

drainag e would have th e water collecting in th e lower, thi s square . Th e Sakuteiki advises:

When a p o id ist o bedu gan d stones ar et o beplaced , yo u should

examinethi natura l layof the land an dthe n in accordanc e with th e cir- cumstances (tayori nishitagatte) digan d shape th epond , construc t th e islands ,anc determine th eflowing-in an d flowing-out direction s ofth e

pon d watei


Th e meaningfcf'th e circumstances ' is withou t an y doub t th e natura l cir- cumstances of a site, tha t isinthi s case th elower , damp , o r even swampy souther n half . Th efollowing sections inth emanua l implicitly depar t from

a situatio n of a pon d in th e souther n half of th e plot . Nowhere is itex-

plicitly state d ha t th epon d should b ei nth esouth ; thi s souther n locatio n of th e pon d siems hardl y t o have been consciously chosen . Accordingly

it isdifficult

th e next page; is th e swampy conditio n of th e whole of Heian' s valley.

Ther e wewill eetha t natura l pond s were in fact already present a t many of th epalac e i ites. Th eSakuteiki depart s a t a certai n poin t als o from th e situatio n of a >ondexisting before th erest of th e garde n ismade ; without any further inroductio n it says :

t( speak of a design intention . Mor e extensively discussed o n

Whether a r island is provided for o r no t depend s o n th econdition s of the site, an l whether th e pon d is narro w o r wide



Situation s exi te d in which th e size of a n alread y existing pon d was decisivefor thi constructio n ofa nisland inito rnot .Topograph y dictate d theory , design followed natur e which mean t t o adap t t o it unconsciously ,


rathe r tha n t o chose a design policy fully awar e of it . When advising on th e garden lay ou t th e manua l resort s many times t o Chinese theories on th e divinatio n of sites. In th e Sakuteiki th e theories ar e referred t o as th e Fou r Gods Doctrin e (shishinsetsu)} 1 In the doctrin e four mythical beast s from Chinese mystic lor e guarde d th e four cardina l directions of the compass . Th e Whit e Tiger guarde d the west, th e Blue Dragon the east , th e Red Bird was in th e sout h an d a black creatur e with the body of a turtl e an d th e head of a snake guarde d th e norther n direc- tion of th e hemisphere. 8 8 It formed in fact par t of a mor e complicated Chinese set of thought s that , for instance , also dealt with the four seasons (fig. 14). East where th e sun rises was though t of as representing spring , sout h where the sun is in its zenith stoo d for summer , west for autumn , nort h for winter . It was further elaborate d soast o fit in th e Five Elements of Chinese science. 'Wood ' stoo d in the same positio n as spring an d east;

'fire ' was in the south ; 'metal ' in th e west and 'water ' in th e north . In the usual circular configuratio n a middle position was introduce d for th e fifth element 'earth' . Twelve animal s of the zodiac and othe r fundamental features of the empirical world, like colours an d hour s were set in the scheme. It wasthough t of asan overall scientific theor y tha t could explain the cosmos. 8 9 Even more , it formed a basis of reasoning'wit h which natur e could be manipulated . Th e theor y of th e Fou r Gods , in particular , was made int o a set of practica l principles on th e lay ou t of a house . Whether tru e or not , it was believed tha t if a house was built on a site with

a topographica l configuratio n in accordanc e with the principles , good

health , long life an d fortun e was ensured. 9 0 Th e topograph y of th e capital Heia n is discussed below in mor e detail followed by a reconstructio n of the plannin g scheme as it is laid down in the Sakuteiki. As shown th e scheme follows the topographi c

characteristics of th e typical site in th e capita l Heian , but never conscious-

ly choses thi s as the best way.

Th e grid of road s an d streets tha t formed the basis of the capital' s ur - ba n structur e was oriente d on the east-west an d north-sout h lines of th e compass (see fig. 15).Two canals crossed the city, runnin g from th e nort h t o th e sout h along straigh t lines. These canals draine d off any surplus rain-water , but also served aschannel for a few natura l rivers tha t crossed the city area . Their natura l courses were dammed an d the water they car- ried was led throug h th e artificial canals. 9 1 Th e alluvial deposit s of the rivers remained in place , of course . Particularl y th e deposits in th e river bed complex of the old Takan o river an d its branc h th e river Kamo con- sists of sandy layers , of which many were still carrying much water in th e Heia n period . These old alluvial systems with thei r feeders, dead branche s

FIGUR E 14. A schematic representatio n of Chinese cosmos-explaining thought .


an d subsoil aquifers ru n largely from the north-eas t t o th e south-south - west direction s of th e capital . Th e part s of th e city where th e rivers ha d ru n possessed therefor e many natura l springs , little streams an d stagnan t pools. 9 2 All the runnin g water followed generally speaking the directio n of th e natura l geology, takin g courses from north-eas t t o south-south - west. Sites with a natura l stream or spring wereabov eall favoured as sites for buildin g a palace , no t only because of th e presence of clear drinkin g water , but also because the water was used for th e garden. 9 3 With only a few exceptions all th e Heia n palac e garden s tha t we know of at present , were situate d on th e geological deposit s of the old Takan o an d Kamo rivers . Speaking in general for thi s area , a natura l stream , if present , would ru n therefor e from th e north-eas t toward s th e south-south-east . For the squar e sites of th e urba n grid thi s means tha t a strea m would enter on th e nort h or on th e east side, an d would leave th e lot of land over the south or west boundary . The advice of the garde n book Sakuteiki on the course of the garde n strea m complies remarkabl y with the actua l situa- tion , an d further legitimizes thi s mos t obvious lay ou t with geomanti c principles . These principles ar e consistent throughou t th e manua l an d form a standar d plannin g scheme:

Th e outle t of th e pon d or the garde n strea m should be led toward s the directio n of th e sign hitsuji-saru (tha t equals th e sout-west wk.) . This isbecauseth e water coming from th edirectio n of th e Blue Drago n (east wk.) must be washed ou t in th e direction of th e Whit e Tiger (west wk.). 9 4

Or another , longer section :

Firs t of all you have t o stabilize th e course at th e source of th e water . Th e Book says tha t th e regula r flow start s from the east an d run s throug h the sout h toward s th e west. Runnin g from th e west t o th e east is th e unnatura l reversed flow. Therefor e it is always flowing from th e east t o th e west. Th e auspicious strea m start s from th e east , an d leaves from the south-west after passing unde r the house . This is t o wash ou t all kinds of evil with water from th e direction of th e Blue Drago n (the east , wk. ) toward s th e pat h of th e Whit e Tiger (the west, wk.) . Th e owner from thi s hous e will be saved from man y epidemic diseases an d ba d syphilis an d enjoy a carefree an d long life unti l an old age . When fixing upo n a site , one take s correspondin g t o th e doctrin e of th e Fou r God s th e left side from where the water isrunnin g as th e Blue Drago n (i.e . water shoul d ru n from th e east , wk.) . This being th e case,





FIGUR E 15. Reconstructed pla n of th e ancient capita l Heia n showing the grid

patter n of streets . The Grea t Palace Enclosur e (Cf.

par t of the city. Aquiferou s formation s of coarse sands ar e indicated with a screen tone , old river beds with broke n lines. Th e large pond s on some sites can be distinguished. Th e sites of the importan t aristocrati c palaces (indicated with dots ) are, hardl y without exception, located on th e aquiferou s formations . (1. = site of th e palace Kaya-in, 2 .= site of Tösanjöden. )

fig.1) issituated inth e norther n


th e water comes ou t from unde r th e buildings a t th e east , an d must b e led throug h th e sout h toward s th e west. Even when coming from th e nort h it must be sent aroun d t o th e east an d the n t o th e south-west. 9 5

The Book mentioned her eisprobabl y th eclassic Chinese diviners ' manua l Zhia Jing (Ha n dynasty , BC.206 - AD.220) from which th e text in the


his disposal . 9 6 In th e quotation s it is advised t o have th e water ru n over th e site exactly as it should following th e typical natura l drainag e of the capita l Heian , tha t is from a north-easter n directio n t o a south-western one . Furthe r it must be led throug h the south , before it leaves th e site at th e west side. In th e sout h wasth e pon d which was , astheabov e discusses, alsoth e most logical an d obvious locatio n from a point of topography . As such it is an implicit an d basicidea in th eSakuteiki. 'Le d through ' means therefor e led throug h th e pond . Th e stream should , according t o th e manual , enter th e pon d garde n at th e easter n side of th e space enclosed by th e buildings . Othe r sections of th e manua l clearly depar t from a main hal l located op - posite th e pon d tha t lies sout h of it an d speak of the 'sout h garden ' (nantei). 97 Thinkin g of climat e contro l it was mos t appropriat e t o locate a building on th e norther n side of a lot an d hav e its main , open facade facing th e south . An d because th e souther n half was also th e lower , dam p par t of a plot , locating a building o n th e norther n half was simply most logical an d natural . Th e plannin g scheme of the Sakuteiki seems perhap s t o be th e result of sound thinking , bu t complying t o th e natura l physics of a site needed th e confirmatio n of mystic theories t o become acceptable . What' s more , syphilis an d epidemic diseases became one' s penalt y if th e rule of comply- ing t o th e site was violated . Th e manual' s plannin g scheme was therefor e not t o soun d in its thinking , bu t it was th e result of adaptin g t o an en- vironmen t tha t was still felt as potentiall y dangerous . The poin t of depar - tur e was a negative one ; th e Heia n perio d garde n make r did no t seek har - mony with natur e because he though t it would result in benign after- effects. Giventh e typical topographica l situatio n inth ecapital , only slight changes were t o be mad e t o mak e it suitabl e as an outdoo r space . Slight as these were it was felt tha t they ha d t o be reinforced gy geomanti c theories . In reverse geomancy reassure d tha t th e site, as it was , was all right an d did no t need t o be changed considerably. 9 8 I n th e geomantics of th e Heia n period garde n theor y on e still senses a fearful awe for nature . Th e rol e Chinese geomantics played in Japanes e garde n making diminished in th e cours e of late r centuries , perhap s because th e fear of

seems almos t literally copied . Toshitsun a perhap s ha d a copy a t


natur e waned . Wha t eventually prove d t o be classical standard s set by

Heia n noblemen were no t the fears bu t rathe r th e blessings they found in

th e natur e surroundin g them . They recorded th e aspects of natur e they

loved in lyrical poetr y with themes of birds , flowers, an d plants . Th e next,

an d last chapter s of thi s par t one trea t these themes an d how they in- fluenced garde n art .


So far we have discussed th e actua l appearanc e of th e Heia n garden s an d

th e people an d othe r factors decisive in thei r making . On e of thes e factors

was th e topograph y of th e capita l city itself tha t proved t o be a deter- minative in th e plannin g of a garde n lay out . Th e last chapter s on th e period deal with th e Heia n appreciatio n of natura l beaut y in th e garde n an d how thi s related t o garde n making .

Th e appreciatio n of natura l beaut y was most directly expressed, an d is

most directly understoo d by us , throug h contemporar y writte n opinions .

A large amoun t of literatur e of th e tim e exists in which one may rea d how

th e Heia n nobles phrase d thei r feelings of delight toward s natur e as they

perceived it . One novel is particularl y abundan t in references t o garde n

scenery an d some part s of it will be quoted . Thi s is th e Tale of Genji. "

It was writte n aroun d th e tur n of th e millennium by a cour t lady Murasak i

Shikibu (978? -

) .It is fiction, t o be sure , bu t gives a n image of what

life was like . Th e main characte r in th e first half of th e novel is Princ e Genji. It is speculated tha t thi s figure was modeled on th e historica l Fu - jiwar a Michinaga , th e mos t powerful of th e Fujiwar a leaders . Princ e Gen- j i personifies all th e ideals of th e elegant noblema n in th e courtl y

world .' 0 0 In hisgarden s tha t ar e described in th e novel on e may also sense a n ideal world . As we are , in th e present chapter , in search of concept s

of beauty , which ar e by definition ideal , th e Tale of Genji mus t be valued

high as a source in thi s respect. Princ e Geni' s largest palac e isa place called Rokujô . It isth e setting no t only for man y ceremonies an d parties , bu t also for most of th e endlessly

intriguin g love affairs . Th e palac e is in fact th e residence of four courtl y ladies , four of Princ e Genji' s foremost concubines . On e must imagine thi s palace as a complex arrangemen t of halls an d annexes connected by galleries, in short , a n elaborat e form of th e kin d of architectur e tha t is described in on e of th e first sections of thi s work . Of interest is th e idea

of four divisions within th e residence, each comprising th e living quarter s

for on eof Genji' s four ladies .These fou r quarter s ar e als o each dedicate d


t o one of th e four seasons . At first sight it vaguely reminds one of th e Chinese cosmos-explaining theories , tha t were also concerned with dividing four seasons over the four direction s of th e compass . But it isim- mediately clear tha t Genji' s intention s ar e far mor e poetic . H e assigned th e south-west quarte r laid ou t t o give th e utmos t effect in autum n t o a lady indicate d as Akikonomu , which literally mean s 'wit h a liking for th e autumn' . Th enorth-wes t quarte r wasmean t t o b emos t beautiful in winter and was given t o someone indicated a s 'th e lady from Akashi' . Akash i is a region at th e coast nea r moder n Osaka . In lyrical poetr y it always car - ried man y connotation s of th e loneliness of a wintry landscape , when col- our s become monochrom e an d natur e is silent. 10 1 North-east , dedicated t o th e summer , was for a concubin e called 'th e Lad y of th e Orang e Blossoms' , tha t indeed bloom in th e summer months . South-east , a t last , was for lady Murasaki , Genji' s mos t favourite an d designed t o be most beautiful in spring. 10 2 Several times in the Tale people discuss th e ques- tion , which season is best , mor e in particular , what is bette r spring or autumn . I t is always concluded tha t autum n was better. 10 3 Perhap s because of tha t Genji, very diplomatically , assigned thi s season t o his se- cond favourit e lady , giving second best , spring , t o his most favourite. 10 4 Th e first long passagein which th e garde n a t th e Rokuj ö Palac e isdescrib- ed run s as follows 105 :

Th e wishesof th

gardens , a most pleasan t arrangemen t of lakes an d hills . Th e hills were high in th e south-eas t quarte r (dedicated t o spring , wk.) , where cherry trees were plante d in large numbers . Th e pon d was mos t attractivel y designed. 10 6 Amon g th e planting s in th e forwar d part s of th e garde n were cinquefoil pines , red plums , cherries , wisteria, Kerria , an d rock azalea , most of them trees an d shrub s tha t ar e enjoyed in spring. 10 7 Touches of autum n to o were scattered throug h th e groves . In Akikonomu' s garde n th e plantings , on hills left from th e old garden , were chosen for rich autum n colours . Clea r spring wate r went singing off int o th e distance , over rock s designed t o enhanc e th e music . Ther e wasa waterfall , an d th e whole expanse waslike an autum n field. Since it was now autumn , th e garde n was a wild profusio n of autum n flowers an d leaves, such as t o shame th e hills of Öi a t Saga (the hills a t th e river Öi flowing throug h th e fields of Saga were well know n for thei r beautiful autum n colours , wk.). 10 8 In th e north-eas t quarte r ther e was a cool natura l spring an d th e plans ha d summer in mind . In th e forward part s of th egarde n th e wind throug h thicket s of Chinese bambo o would be cool in summer . The

e ladiesthemselves wereconsulte d in designing th enew


trees stoo d thickly as in a hillside forest , thei r ticket s attractivel y recall- ing th e countrysid e in th e mountains. 10 9 Ther e was a hedge of mayflower, an d ther e were orange s t o remin d th e lady of days long gone . Ther e were wild carnation s an d roses an d gentians an d a few spring an d autum n flowers as well. A par t of th e quarte r was fenced off for equestria n grounds . Since th e fifth mont h would be its liveliest time , ther e wereirises along th elake . On th e far sidewerestables where th e finest of horses would be kept . And finally th e north-wes t quarter : beyond a mu d wall t o th e nort h were rows of warehouses , screened off by Chinese bamboo . Thickly plante d pines would be beautiful in new falls of snow .' 1 0 Th e chrysan- themu m hedge would certainly show itself mos t beautifully in th e mor - ning frosts of early winter. 11 1 A stan d of big oak s stoo d proudl y in amon g deep groves with mountai n tree s which on e would hav e been har d pu t t o identify.

With thi squotatio n a widerang e of garde n images isintroduced , differing in each quarter . The four garden s were designed t o be a t thei r best in a designated season . I t is largely throug h a choice of plan t material s with strong seasonal characteristic s tha t th e seasons ar e expressed. Even subtleties othe r tha n seasonal aspects of plan t growt h ar e introduce d t o enhance th e delights of each season . A cool natura l spring , appreciate d most o n a ho t summer day is present in th e summer quarter . Relying on a mor e abstrac t evocatio n of coolness is th e plantatio n of Chinese bam - boo ; wind rustling throug h its leaves creates a cooler feeling tha n a soundless breeze . Chrysanthemum s ar e chosen for th e way in which they show themselves covered with white frost, rathe r tha n for thei r flowers. All thes e aspect s ar e of such a subtl e sensitivity tha t th e enjoyment of th e seasonal beautie s must hav e been far mor e importan t tha n a mere division in four quarters , each with a season . In othe r word s it is no t jus t a matte r of lay out , a whole appreciatio n of natur e is in discussion. The idea of dividing a garde n in four quarters , each for one season ap - pear s as well in othe r Heia n period tales . I n those , summer is always in th e south , winter in th e north , spring in th e east an d autum n in th e west. 11 2 Th e questio n emerges whether th e idea was a literar y fiction or a n actually existing practice . Fro m othe r less fictional an d mor e historica l sources it is clear tha t several of th e famous palac e garden s of th e time were laid ou t divided in four part s each set apar t for one of th e seasons . We came across th e palac e Kaya-in tha t was depicted in one of th e scroll paintings . It was extensively reconstructe d from abou t 1021 on , a t th e time when Fujiwar a Yorimichi lived there ; hewas , as will be remembered ,


th e father of Toshitsun a the writer of th e Sakuteiki garde n book . Th e garde n of Kaya-in was laid ou t 's o tha t one can see th e four seasons in the four directions' , according t o one source. 1 " Murasak i Shikibu , wrot e the Tale of Genji in th e years aroun d 1000, no t to o long before th e works at Kaya-in started . She is also known t o have been trouble d by th e mor e indiscreet proposal s of Yorimichi' s father , Fujiwar a Michinaga ." 4 It can hardl y be wrong tha t she was familiar with th e old Kaya-in palac e an d th e plans for its garden . It likely inspired her description of Princ e Genji' s garden a t th e Rokuj ö Palace . Th e early twelfth centur y palace Toba-don o of th e Empero r Tob a was likewise divided in four sub-palaces each dedicated t o on e of th e four seasons . Autum n trees were, as in Genji' s palace , plante d o n a hill . A hillock known as Th e Autum n Hill laid unti l recently in a western par t of the rura l scenery where th e palace once stood . Th e expandin g city of Kyoto has take n over th e site a t present." 5 Th e Autum n Hill is a piece of tangibl e evidence tha t thi s garde n with th e four seasons ha d a concrete division of seasonal trees in four quarters . Th e details of th e garde n at th e Toba-don o Palac e must have been of th e natur e of the designs in Genji' s Rokujö Palace . We can no t be sure , however, whether thi s was inspired by th e already well-known Tale of Genji, or whether it stoo d within a mor e general tradition . Th e garde n boo k Sakuteiki refers indirectly t o th e idea of dividing a garde n in four seasonal part s when it says:

Except for th e cardina l point s —Th e Blue Drago n (east) , Whit e Tiger (west), Red Bird (south) , an d th e Black Snake-Turtl e (north ) — any kind of tre e can be plante d at any place . But men of old have said tha t on e ough t t o plan t shrub s bearing (spring) flowers in th e east an d trees with autum n leaves t o the west. 11 6

Th e Sakuteiki also keeps autum n in the west an d spring in th e east. 11 7 Fro m th e abov e we must conclude tha t a practice existed t o allocat e part s of a garde n t o th e appreciatio n of th e particula r delights of each season. Anothe r section in th e Tale of Genji describing th e same garde n a t Rokujö Palac e is quote d below. It gives importan t clues in understandin g the Heia n aristocrati c delight found in the seasonal details of nature . Th e passage tells of a part y held in spring , when th e garde n wasvery beautiful . Th e green of the mosses , the trees on th e garde n hillocks , an d th e sight of th e islands in th e pon d provide d enough excuse for buildin g tw o boat s and organizing a boa t party . Th e text reads :

Genji ha d carpenter s at work on Chinese pleasur e boats , an d on th e


day they were launche d he summoned palac e musicians for water

music . Prince s an d high courtier s came crowding t o hear

of youn g women who were though t likely t o enjoy such a n outin g were rowed ou t over th e sout h pond , which ra n from Akikonomu' s south - west quarte r t o Murasaki' s north-east , with a hillock separatin g th e two . Th e boat s left from th e peninsul a a t thi s hillock. Murasaki' s women werestatione d inth eAngling Pavilio n at th e boundar y between th e tw o quarters . Th e drago n an d phoenix boat s were brilliantl y decorate d in th e Chinese fashion . Th e little pages an d helmsmen, thei r hair still boun d u p in th e page-boy manner , wore lively Chinese dress , an d everything abou t th e arrangement s was deliciously exotic . Th e

boat s were poled t o th e middl e of th e pond , it was really as if coming

t o an unknow n land in th e middle of th e ocean

u p below th e cliffs a t a n island cove, where th e smallest of th e hangin g rock s was likea detail of a painting . Th e branche s caught in mists from either side were like a tapestry , an d far away in Murasaki' s privat e garden s a willow traile d its branche s in a deepening green an d cherry blossoms were rich an d sensuous . In othe r places they ha d fallen, bu t

herethey were still a t thei r smiling best , an d along th e galleries wisteria was beginning t o send fort h its lavender . Yellow Kerria reflected on th e lake as if abou t t ojoi n its own image . Waterfowl swam pas t in amiabl e

pairs , an d flew in an d ou t with twigs in thei r bills ,

Number s

Th e boat s pulled

Evening came .

kaze fukeba nanti no hana sae iro miete koya nani tateru yamabuki no saki

Th e breezes blow , th e wave flowers brightly blossom Will it be th e Cap e of Yamabuki ?

haru no ike ya

Is thi s th e lak e of spring

ide no kawase ni where flows

kayoran kishi no yamabuki soko mo nioeri

th e River of Ide tha t Yamabuk i should plunge int o its depths ?


no ue no

Ther e is n o need t o visit

yama mo tazuneji

Turtl e Mountai n

fune no

naka ni

'Ageless '


na o ba

shall be th e nam e

koko ni nokosan

of ou r pleasur e boat s



Poem followed poem . The young women seemed t o forget tha t th e day must end an d they must go home." 8

The part y continue d all throug h th e night an d well int o the next day . Then a sutra-readin g ceremony was held, where eight little girls , dressed up as birds an d butterflies , performed a dance o n music . Later one aboarde d the boat s again . The writer paint s in th e quotatio n abov e an impres - sionistic imageof th egarden . It isa drea m world of natura l beauty , a hazy mist of soft colours . Ou t of thi s certai n details of natur e emerge quit e ex- plicitly: a willow tha t trail s its branches , th e smallest of the hanging rocks , etcetera , etcetera . It isseries of elements , rathe r tha n a tota l scenery of th e garden tha t is described. Most explicitly noted is th e reflection of th e flowers of th eyamabuki (Kerriajaponica ) on th e surface of th e pond . Th e courtly ladies ar e so excited abou t thi s tha t they even star t composing poems . T o b e sure they recognized a lyrical them e (fig. 16).Th e image of Kerria flowers reflecting upo n th e surface of th e water was in fact a classical theme of poetry . In an eight century antholog y of lyrical poetry , known as th e Manyöshü the following lyric is presented :

kawazu naku kamunabigawa ni

Kerria flowers will soon be in

bloom ,

kage miete

thei r shadows


ima ka sakuramu yamabuki no hana

on th e waters of the river where frogs croak. 11 9



Also a t the time when th e Tale of Genji was writte n it was a well known theme , th e following poe m was writte n a t abou t th e same time :

sawa-mizu ni In th e swamp-water

kawazu naku-nari yamabuki no utsurou kage ya soko ni miyuramu

th e frogs ar e croaking , th e reflected image of th e Kerria flowers must be visible t o them down below.

12 0

The ladies in the boat s als o recited a poem on th e turtl e mountain ; it also relies on a literary theme , althoug h it is no t originally from lyrical poetry . It refers t o legendary mountainou s islands tha t were carried on the back of turtle s swimming in a n ocean far away . Immortal , ageless fairies lived in these mountains . Originally a legendary story , it became used as a theme in poetry .' 2 ' Literar y sources othe r tha n th e Taleof Genji also have instances where people star t writing or reciting poetr y prompte d simply by th e unconsciou s recognitio n of a lyrical theme seen in a garden. 12 2 Th e












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Tale of Genji is nevertheless extremely abundan t in its use of poetry . Murasak i Shikibu , who wrote th e Tale , speaks of herself as 's o wrapped u p in poetr y tha t othe r people hardl y exist'. 12 3 Indeed she must have been gifted with a sense for poetry , since th e Tale is full of lyrics tha t convey messages tha t could have been equally well said with non-poeti c phrases . And asit washer intentio n t o show th e world initsmost beautiful colours , ther e can be n o doub t tha t poetr y formed par t of this beauty . A closer look at th e descriptions of the garde n at Rokuj ö shows even mor e poetics . Th e names of flowers tha t ar e listed for each of th e four seasons ar e in fact standar d epithet s in classical poetry. 12 4 These epithet s {makura- kotobd) were used t o evoke in a condensed way th e atmospher e of th e season with which th e poem dealt . These seasonally related poems were recited in accordanc e with the actua l time of the year . In th e abov e quota - tion th e season is spring , an d standar d spring epithet s are , for instance , cherries an d Kerria . A willow trailin g its branche s is an example of mor e extended, standar d spring imagery . Th e same phras e is found in poetr y concerned with spring. 12 5 The particular s of th e division of th e Rokuj ö palace garde n in four seasons derives also straigh t from th e canon s of poetry . Spring evoked with cherries on hillocks , summer with the shadow of thicket s in a countr y village, autum n with fields an d maples , an d winter with snow in the pines were all given themes of classical lyrics. 12 6 Murasaki' s ideal garde n was a world of lyrical beauty . Appreciatio n of natura l beaut y in th e world of Genji meant , therefore , the delight tha t was felt when recognizing themes known from lyrical poetry . Does this , as a hypothesis , hold tru e for all of Heian' s garde n world? An intriguin g questio n is , of course , whether it was the garde n maker' s intentio n t o present natura l beaut y in the garde n in form of recognizable lyrical themes . Th e following aims a t proving this . This is what th e Sakuteiki advises in th e last of its thre e maxims — the first two were quote d before — tha t specify th e overall concept of garde n making :

Thin k over th e celebrated scenic places (meisho) of the provinces an d absor b mentally thei r attractiv e points . The general air of these places must be created (in th e garde n wk. ) metaphoricall y copying (nazorae) thei r attractiv e points. 12 7

The celebrated scenic places were actua l places tha t were famou s for thei r scenic beauty . This scenic beauty was the beaut y of the place a t a par - ticular time of th e year , when certai n seasonal aspects were most promi - nent . These seasonal highlights wereof course mostly , bu t no t exclusively, phenomen a of th e natura l vegetation. !2 8 Th e fame of these places did no t originat e in the amoun t of tourist s tha t traveled t o it , bu t rathe r in th e


number of times tha t th e place was laude d in classical poems. 12 9 We have already come across several of the standar d scenic places in th e previous pages . Th e rivers Ide an d Kannab i were famous because of thei r Kerria flowers. Mor e tha n th e flowers themselves it was thei r reflection on the water tha t wasth e substanc e of th e fame of th e rivers . A rathe r ephemeral image, which shows th e poetic natur e of fame in thi s case. Th e autum n colour s in th e garden of Lad y Akikonom u were 'suc h as t o shame th e hills of Öi' . Th e hillsides nea r th e river Öi were well known as a place with beautiful maple colour s in autumn . Judgin g from th e introductio n of th e Sakuteiki on e may conclude already tha t it had been Genji' s intentio n t o make a compariso n with th e hills of Öi . Lengthy lists of famou s places werecompiled by th e Heia n literar y men an d women . They formed an importan t par t of the literar y criticism an d th e theoretica l treatise s on poetr y tha t were written .' 3 0 Even th e landscap e paintin g of the day was , t o a great extent , concerned with representing th e celebrated scenic places . Th e chambe r screens on which th e landscapes were executed were set u p a t ceremonial festivities an d often served t o rous e u p th e poetic feelings and inspir e th e writing of poems . Th e artisti c intentio n of th e landscap e painte r was in thi s respect th e same as of the garde n maker . Evoking th e poeti c aspects of celebrated places was primary. 13 1 The Sakuteiki specifies quit e precisely tha t 'th e general air ' of the celebrated scenes must be recreated in th e garde n 'metaphoricall y copy- ing ' thei r 'attractiv e points' . It was certainly no t th e idea t o represen t a miniatur e copy of a famou s place in th e garden . Th e Tale of Genji ex- emplifies wha t was mean t by 'genera l air ' an d th e metaphorica l copying

of 'attractiv e points' . It was only th e reflection

reminded th e ladies of th e poems o n th e River Ide . It was no t th e actua l river landscap e tha t they found attractive , it was only th e ephemeral poetic atmospher e of th e Kerria reflection. 13 2 Only th e lyrical theme , in its most literal an d condensed sense, was recreate d in th e garden . Th ecelebrated scenicspots , as Ihav e said, were famous becauseof their seasonal natura l beauty ; usually plant s in bloom or autum n colour . Th e place nam e became inextricably associated with th e plant . Likewise, most plant s became associated with certai n geographica l locations . Fo r in- stance , it was common knowledge tha t maples went with a hillside an d pine trees with a distan t mountain , as it was said in th e poems of old . Th e writer of th e Tale of Genji knew also tha t Kerria should reflect upo n a water surface . Th e poeti c principles of plant s were so commonl y known , tha t it was no t even th e purpos e of a boo k on garde n makin g t o discuss these principles . I t will be recalled tha t advice o n plantin g is remarkabl y

of th e Kerria flowers tha t


scanty in th e manua l Sakuteiki. Th e poetic principles of plan t life could easily be translated , as mental images , t o th e artificial situatio n of a garden . It would have been very difficult t o reconstruc t th e actua l river

scenery of Ide in th e garden , bu t it was very simple an d logical t o have Kerria reflecting on th e water of th e pond . Creatio n was no t t o transpor t

a geographi c scene int o th e garden , bu t t o render a mental , poeti c image int o a garde n view. Th e proble m of plantin g in garde n makin g was therefor e no t a problem of design theory . It was no t concerned with form or shape , but far mor e

it was a questio n of exercising one' s poetic senses. With thi s conclusion

the porten t of th e introductor y phrase s in th e Sakuteiki becomes clear :

When you place stones (for a garde n wk.) , i t is first an d foremost necessary t o gras p th e overall sense. — Following th e topograph y of th e site an d seeing how th e pon d lies on e must thin k over th e particula r aesthetic sense of all part s of th e place .The n recall landscap e scenery asit isfoun d in nature , an d seeing how different all th e part s of th e site ar e you must place th e stones by combinin g these impressions . —Tak e as a model th e creation s left t o us by th e famous men of old ; and , considering th e suggestions of th e owner of th e hous e (where th e garde n is t o be made , wk.) , on e must create , exercising one' s own aesthetic senses. 13 3

T o be sure , th e advise t o study th e creation s of men of old is commonl y

found in treatise s on th e ar t of writing poetr y as well. Th e particula r 'aestheti c sense ' of a spo t has t o be understood , t o which recollections of landscape scenery hav e t o be matched . With th e abov e analysis we now know tha t 'aestheti c sense ' equals 'poeti c sense' , or even 'lyrica l mean- ing' . Thinkin g over th e particula r aesthetic sense of any spot must in fact be translate d as 'thinkin g over th e lyrical aspects of any spot'. 13 4 Fo r th e 'aestheti c sense ' th e Japanes e wor dfuzei isused in th e text tha t a t th e first instanc e where it is used contain s aspects of discernment on th e par t of th e beholder , bu t also aspects of th e appearanc e of th e spot . Th e same word is used shortl y after tha t when th e manua l advises t o creat e exercis- ing one' s own aesthetic senses. At tha t poin t 'aestheti c senses' only refers t o th e mind of man , or , mor e precisely, of th e garde n maker . Th e same

word has therefor e a doubl e meaning . I t is used t o denot e characteristic s perceived in th e materia l world of th e garden , as well as t o indicat e a n in- tentiona l faculty of th e garde n make r t o creat e beauty . T o stat e it simply, it means bot h 'beautifu l appearance ' an d 'aestheti c feelings'. 13 5 The aesthetic feeling — th e lyrical meaning —tha t a site evoked in th e mind


was clearly perceived as of th e same level as the site itself. Site , its lyrical feel, an d man' s poetic feelings werediscussed in th e sameterms .Th e word used for it ,fuzei, shoul d therefor e no t betranslate d as 'taste' . Iwould like t o reserve th e word tast e for a mor e abstracte d an d intellectual apprecia - tion of garden s in which tast e isa conscious faculty of judgin g and discer- ning beauty , separat e from innat e qualitie s of th e perceived. The Heia n nobles did no t experience thei r values of beauty as a set of specified qualitie s of beauty . It mus t have been a vague bu t strongly emo - tiona l feeling no t t o be named mor e concretely tha n 'sense' . Th e Japanes e wordfuzei is a compoun d word mad e u p of th e tw o character s for 'wind ' or 'air ' an d for 'feeling ' or 'emotion' . Thoug h semantically it is no t cor- rect t o derive the meaning of a Japanes e compoun d word from its con- stitutin g characters , it is illustrative in thi s case tha t th e aestheti c sense of a garde n could not bemor e concretely indicated tha n a 'win d of a feeling' . The word fuzei is only used a few times mor e in th e manua l where it always carries th e same meaning . A fifteenth century garde n manua l tha t is discussed in chapte r 7.2 of th e next par t of thi s work , par t two , also employs th e word , bu t with great frequency an d in a concret e sense t o mean 'appearance' , or 'beautifu l appearance' . Th e Heia n lyrical meaning of garden views became mor e concret e in due course of time. 13 6

The introductio n of th e manua l Sakuteiki gives an othe r concept tha t deserves ou r attention ; namely , reflecting upo n th e aesthetic sense of any spot in th e garden , one had t o combine this with recollections of 'land - scapescenery asit isfound in nature' . It ismyopinio n tha t th e term 'land - scape scenery as it is foun d in nature ' (shötoku no sansui) refers first of all t o the naturalnes s of th e arrangement s of rocks an d water , such as was discussed before when we spok e of th e rock arrangement s a t Mötsu-ji' s pond shore . Th e term also refers t o th e archetypica l images of natur e found in th e series of 'Styles' , found in the Sakuteiki. A shor t textual analysis of th e way in which the concept 'landscap e scenery as it is found in nature ' is used in th e Sakuteiki confirms our idea .

Some person has said tha t stones placed by ma n can never excel th e landscape scenery as it is found in nature . However , having seen many provinces , ther e may hav e been spot s which I though t of as excellent, bu t close by ther e were often unattractiv e things . But if some one con- struct s a garden , he only studies these attractiv e point s an d models thereafter , leaving ou t —and no t placing —these worthless stones. 13 7

The quotatio n shows tha t 'landscap e scenery as it is found in nature ' an d 'unattractiv e things ' consist of stones . Anothe r passage shows tha t the


term refers t o scenery tha t is of limited size. Because it is also one of th e places where Toshitsun a uses the idea of 'aestheti c sense' , I will quot e all of th e section. Althoug h not completely at the end of th e manua l the quot e has th e characteristic s of an epilogue . Toshitsuna :

I thu s have noted down , without discussing right or wrong all th e mat - ter s of placing stones as I have heard them th e last years . Paintin g Priest Enen was initiate d in th e secrets of placing stones . These document s were also passed on t o me. I therefor e could study an d understan d the main principles, althoug h aesthetic sense is never ex- hausted and ther e still ar e many point s tha t ar e beyond my understan - ding . But in recent years ther e is really no one who knows these things in detail . One merely looks a little at landscape scenery as it is found in nature , takes measures of it , an d start s th e work s (in th e garde n wk.) withou t takin g care of the taboos. 13 8

Landscap e scenery as it is found in natur e was something tha t could be measured , as we may guess from the above , t o copy it in th e garden . It can therefor e no t have been of a very large scale . Anothe r piece of advice in th e manua l applies 'a s it is found in nature ' (shötoku no) directly t o a waterfall scene.

Th e width of a waterfall has nothin g t o d o with its height . When we observe waterfalls as they ar e found in natur e we notice tha t high falls ar e no t necessarily wide

The term 'landscap e scenery as it is found in nature ' refers in th e manua l

t o landscap e scenery of water an d rock s an d in particula r t o small scale viewsof them . These views had a certai n naturalnes s tha t could be observ- ed in actua l nature . We may call t o th e mind th e naturalnes s of the wind an d water beaten roug h sea coast in th e garde n at Mötsu-ji . Rough sea coasts an d waterfalls ar e in fact also themes of poetry . But th e poetic themes tha t related t o plant s were never seen as a design proble m dealing with shape , whereas th e themes of landscape scenery as it is found in natur e ar e clearly seen in the Sakuteiki as a proble m of form; measures can be taken , an d th e quotatio n on th e waterfall speaks of width and

height . 'Landscap e scenery as it is found

in nature ' as a concept strongly

suggests tha t ideas on landscap e paintin g lie behind it. 14 0 Tha t Paintin g Priest Enen is mentione d in th e same passage may also poin t t o this . However, he was a painte r of religious subjects , an d no t of landscapes .' 4 1 But landscapes were, in fact, executed asa backgroun d t o certai n religious paintings , an d it is possible tha t Enen' s ideas on stones in the garden ha d

13 9


a connection t o the theorie s on paintin g these backgroun d landscapes .

These background s could namely represen t rocky landscapes , sometimes with a waterfall. 14 2 Landscap e paintin g an d itstheorie s would strongly in- fluence th e designing of forms in th e garde n in th e following centuries . Th e next par t treat s thi s extensively. At thi s poin t I conclude with th e sup - positio n tha t th e term 'landscap e scenery as it is found in nature' , as given in the Sakuteiki, is an early forerunne r of th e landscap e painter' s view found in th e garde n ar t of th e mediaeval period .

Crucial in th e abov e interpretatio n of 'landscap e scenery as it is found

in nature ' as a ter m relatin g only t o the naturalnes s of rock arrangement s

is my translatio n of ishi o tateru as 'th e placing of rocks' , its literal mean-

ing . Th e regula r textua l analysis of th e Sakuteiki never hesitate s t o stat e tha t thi s Japanes e is a pregnan t idiom serving t o mean 'th e buildin g of a garden'. 14 3 In thi s sense the term 'landscap e scenery as it is found in nature ' extends t o th e naturalnes s of all othe r part s in th e garden , in- cluding plan t material . As small a difference in textua l interpretatio n as thi s may seem, it touche s nevertheless upo n Heia n garde n ar t as a whole . It is my opinio n tha t th e ar t was in a formativ e stage , a perio d of primitiveness in which garde n makin g was only a n adaptio n of th e naturall y existing stream s an d pools of th e capita l Heia n an d th e decora - tio n of these with garde n rocks . I t was th e re-formatio n of a site int o an elegant space t o stage festivities, contest s an d boatin g parties . Th e plant s tha t were plante d were hardl y considered t o be something tha t belonged t o this re-formation . Trees an d shrub s were plante d t o provid e for a n elegant 'win d of a feeling' . It was feeling an d no t form tha t was thei r pur - pose . Because of thi s th e garde n planting s illustrate d on the scrolls appea r t o us , used t o formal compositions , as botanica l collections rathe r tha n as beautiful designs. 14 4

If one speaks of garde n makin g in th e Heia n period , one must no t im-

agine it t o hav e been th e moder n practic e in which th e garde n is created as a 'turn-key ' produc t tha t changes th e appearanc e of a site int o a new, overall conception . However impressiveth e emotiona l appreciatio n istha t

th e Heia n nobles ha d of thei r gardens , as a theor y of plannin g an d con-

structio n it was still a fragmented practice . Thu s ishi o tateru must be translate d as placing stones , because it was no t mor e tha n that . Th e Sakuteiki has served as an importan t garde n manua l for Japanes e garde n maker s of all ages . Also present-day garde n scholars , Japanes e an d also some Western ones , often discuss the manua l for th e practica l messages it has for th e moder n garde n maker . Of course it is perfectly all right t o interpre t th e text in this way. Tha t Japanes e garde n maker s are , for instance , wellawar e of thei r traditions , must be partl y du e t o thi s kind


of commentaries . But if one studies th e manua l in its histori c context its meaning can no t have been th e same . Withi n th e present technology-oriente d cultur e of our urba n societies the advise of th e Sakuteiki on adaptin g t o nature , an d of being inspired by natura l scenery as it is found in nature , is refreshing in its antithesi s t o ou r ugly world. 14 5 Seen in thi s moder n way th e manual' s naturalnes s is a n anti-man-mad e naturalness. 14 6 However interesting thi s may be for the moder n philosophy of garde n art , it is historically no t correct . Seen in th e perspective of its time th e Heia n courtier s had n o reason t o be against man-mad e artificialities in thei r gardens . Emotion s rejecting th e artifice of ma n ar e recent . Th e course of history , an d late r chapter s of thi s work show , for in- stance , tha t with th e discovery in th e seventeenth century of mathematica l approache s toward s architectur e an d site plannin g also straigh t artificial lines became fashionabl e in garde n art . Man-mad e artifice became t o be appreciate d at tha t time . In th e Heia n period such artificialness was no t yet discovered, neither were th e nobles awar e of th e fact tha t they could design it consciously. Th e plea for naturalnes s a s it can be rea d from th e Sakuteiki ter m 'a s it is found in nature ' was no t an urge t o refrain from man-mad e artificialness .


Th e meaning tha t things of natur e gained from poetry , was th e basis of th e aesthetic sense of which th e Sakuteiki speaks . Thi s meanin g can be reconstructe d by studying poetry . We now know , for example , tha t th e flowers of th e Kerria wereconsidered most beautiful when reflecting upo n th e surface of th e water . The aesthetics of Heia n garde n ar t can therefor e no t be understoo d withou t knowledge of its literar y background . It is in- teresting tha t th e aesthetics of poetr y itself, as discussed in man y contem- porar y treatise s on th e ar t of writing poetry , were no t valid in garde n art . Values of beauty in poetr y were established qualitie s t o which a poem ha d t o conform , bu t thes e values were clearly to o abstrac t t o hav e any direct impact on th e Heia n perio d garde n theories. 14 7 Only indirectly , throug h th e meaning tha t thing s of natur e gained from poetr y could poetic aesthetics enter garde n art . In later centuries th e Heia n perio d ideals of beaut y in poetr y came t o influence th e designing of garden s in a direct way. Thi s last chapte r 4.5 therefor e introduce s some ideas on th e aesthetics of Heia n poetry . Th e first explicit statemen t regardin g th e ideals of poetr y was given in


an introductio n t o the early tent h century poetr y collection th e Kokinshü, tha t enumerate d th e circumstances unde r which men of old composed poetry .

When they though t of thei r bygone days of manly youth , or retained bitte r feelings abou t th e one time of maiden bloom , it was with poetr y tha t they comforted thei r hearts . Again , when they looked a t th e scat- tered cherry blossoms of a spring morning ; when they listened o n an autum n evening t o th e falling of th e leaves; when they sighed over th e snow an d thei r hair a s silver waves reflected with each passing year by thei r looking-glasses; when they were startle d int o thought s on th e brevity of thei r lives by seeing the dew on th e grass or th e foam on th e water;

These word s demonstrat e how in poetr y natur e reflected huma n feelings of melancholy . I t isth e melancholy of time passing by , ascan be perceived in the passing of spring , or of beaut y fading away , as felt in th e scattered cherry blossoms . Th e inevitable cyclical processes of natur e mad e th e Heian noblema n sadly awar e of th e frailty of his own existence. 14 9 This melancholy became a n importan t par t of the code of beauty , abov e all in poetry .' 5 0 It isth e reaso n tha t autumn , the time of fading nature , became th e most favoured season as we can read in th e Tale of Genji. 15 1 In poetr y melancholy became a set qualit y with which poems were ap - praised . It often turne d t o images of fading cherry blossoms or othe r flowers. Sometime in th e twelfth century , a varian t kind of melancholy became accepted as a n aesthetic quality . It is a melancholy primaril y associated with loneliness. In poetr y it is evoked throug h an imagery tha t is monochromatic : distant , an d misty mountains , withered grasses , cries of a night-bird , an d so forth . Th e tone s of black , grey, an d brow n in these images ar e always connected t o loneliness. This aestheti c qualit y was call- ed sabi. 152 Th e poem tha t historically engendered th e recognition of sabi as an explicit qualit y of beautiful poetr y runs :



sabishisa wa sono iro to shi mo

nakarikeri no t t o be defined:

maki tatsu yama no aki no yitgure

Loneliness — the essential colour of beaut y


th e dar k evergreens, th e dusk

tha t gather s on far autum n hills .

Such was th e beaut y of loneliness. Th e lyrical beaut y of sabi only came t o be directly expressed in garde n ar t in th e seventeenth century . Aesthetics in Heia n garde n ar t were no t yet consciously developed. Chapte r 5.3 of par t thre e return s t o thi s point .





Th e centurie s following th e Heia n period witnessed th e rise t o political power of a warrio r class an d th e decline of th e Heia n courtl y aristocrac y as rulers. 1 Agricultura l productio n ros e steadily thank s t o th e slowly growing use of iro n tool s an d animal s for traction . I t alsobecame possible t o collect tw o harvest s of rice a year so surpluses could be traded. 2 Mor e contac t with neighbourin g Korea an d Chin a mean t th e establishing of por t town s an d tradin g cities , thoug h still of mino r significance. Wit h th e for- matio n of a merchan t class tha t followed, society in general became mor e open an d people mor e mobile . Coins , importe d from China , wereincreas- ingly used as currency , craftsmen became a distinct group. 3 Thi s meant tha t th e old manor-lik e landholdings , closed hereditar y unit s tha t paid thei r rent s t o th e imperia l governmen t in th e capita l Heia n graduall y loosened th e ties with th e capital . Becoming mor e an d mor e autonomou s they could star t t o manag e an d administrat e thei r own business . It seems almos t inevitable tha t th e manor s began t o assert their independence , if no t t o defend it agains t aggression from neighbourin g landholders. 4 Paralle l t o th e weakening contro l of th e centra l government in th e capital , struggles between local group s increased . This laid th e foundatio n for th e formatio n of anindependen t an d self-conscious warrio r class. 5 Even if th e Heia n courtier s ha d no t failed t o understan d th e course of history , they were simply by th e decaden t natur e of their manner s an d cultur e unabl e t o cope with it . At certai n disturbance s in th e capita l city th e cour t called in suppor t from provincial warrio r clans . But thes e supportin g group s on - lygained mor e strengt h throug h thes eevents; no t only materially , because of being well paid for thei r services, bu t abov e all psychologically, having supporte d th e weakening imperial government . When finally in th e thir - teent h centur y a n empero r trie d t o restor e imperia l rule an d plotte d against th e warrio r governmen t in formation , thi s adventur e turne d com- pletely t o th e profit of th e warriors. 6 By the n already an impressive


political power they too k thi s insurrectio n as an excuse t o clean ou t th e capital city an d t o confiscate large landholdings . By distributin g these t o loyal retainer s th e positio n of th e military rule became so firmly establish- ed, tha t from thi stime onward s n oimperia l government regained absolut e power over th e country. 7 In a 'tria l an d error ' process tha t covered the one-and-a-hal f century of th e Kamakur a period th e military organizatio n developed as a pragmatica l government system. 8 It was based in th e military capita l Kamakura , from which th e period derives its name . Culturall y the Kamakur a perio d forms a n interlud e between th e flourishing Heia n courtl y cultur e an d th e later mediaeval perio d of the Muromach i period tha t is again straightforwardl y Chinese influenced. Signs of a reorientation , an adaptin g of cultur e t o th e new social an d political realities can be discerned. The waning of th e classical period is felt in th e increasing popularit y of th e sabi qualities in cour t poetr y still produced . Th e coming of a new age is foreshadowed in temple architecture , which is almos t literally copied from th e Chinese example . As for religion th e times seemed t o deman d individual faith an d endeavour . Th e new popula r Jöd o an d Zen sects of Buddhism could offer such religious experiences. 9 Besides, Zen ha d th e cachet of being a high class religion . In its homeland , China , it was practice d by man y intellec- tual s who even ha d connection s t o th e Chinese imperia l court . Zen was introduce d in Kamakur a in th e thirteent h centur y an d its meditative trainin g was practiced by th e highest rulers , th e regents of th e military government . Th e new religion ha d no t yet sufficient cultura l im- pact t o influence th e garde n ar t of Japan . A contemporar y pla n of th e Kencho-ji templ ein Kamakur a showsth e strictly Chineseplannin g scheme of amountai n monaster y (seefig. 17).'°At th e back of th ehallstha t mak e u p th e monaster y a garde n arrangemen t can be seen tha t is reminiscent of th e Heia n palaces . A pavilion extending from th e Large Guest Hal l jut s ou t over a garde n pon d spanned a t th e rea r by a decorative bridge . Thi s building an d garde n at th e back would have served t o receive importan t guests . Fo r the rest , th e only garden-like arrangement s ar e th e rows of junipe r trees lining th e mai n axis , which is completely within th e Chinese tradition .



In th e beginning of th e fourteent h century anothe r attemp t a t restorin g

FIGUR E 17. Pla n of th e temple Kenchö-ji in Kamakura . Th e main gat e gave on t o the approac h that , lined with junipers , led t o th e main Buddha hall (adapte d from th e early fourteenth century original) .


Imperial power was mad e by empero r Go-Daig o (1287-1339), first sup - porte d bu t late r frustrate d by a Kamakur a general . Th e latter , Ashikag a Takauji , after installing his own puppe t empero r decided t o choose th e capita l Heia n as locatio n for his government , an d called himself 'shogun'. 1 1 Even in th e face of th e decline in power of th e empero r an d his court ,

th e capita l of Heian , by now generally known a s 'Imperia l Capital ' or

Kyoto , was still a vital centr e of fine, bu t courtl y arts . Th e move of Ashikaga Takauj i t o th e imperial capita l itself can therefor e first of all be seen as significant of th e self-consciousness of th e warrior s as a social class . It mean t on th e othe r hand , nevertheless, tha t they were suddenly an d directly confronte d with th e rich classical tradition s of th e Kyot o court. 1 2 One gets th e impression tha t they intentionall y began t o cultivat e their own cultura l heritage s t o reinforce th e positio n of th e new shogunat e government , in orde r t o assert at least culturall y what they could no t reach politically: complete contro l over all of th e country. 1 3

The new cultura l positio n of th e Kyot o warrior s drew from several sources . Firs t of all elements from th e traditiona l courtl y cultur e were adopted . Secondly ther e was a stron g renewed influx from Chinese art s an d cultur e thank s t o th e increasing trad e with th e continent . Finally elements from th e art s of th e commo n people were patronize d an d gained

a statu s as aristocratic . Th e institutio n of Zen with its man y connection s t o the mainlan d was pre-eminently fit t o offer cultura l prestige . Withi n th e old capita l city, brimming with th e old aristocrati c tradition s of th e Heia n court , only Zen

and its priest s ha d a culturall y competitiv e positio n because the y were the carrier s of th e brillian t Chinese cultura l traditions. 1 4 Th e old Heia n courtl y life ha d found a n importan t par t of its stage in

th e palac e garden . Th e early mediaeval militar y as new rulers did no t

brea k with thi sidea. 1 5 Allth e gardens , in palaces aswell asin Zen temples tha t they sponsored , remaine d of th e classical pon d an d island type . But they were steeped in a new Chinese flavour . Unde r th e guidanc e of Zen priests typical Chinese architectur e — like zigzag runnin g galleries, tw o storied pavilions t o view th e garde n from above , etc . —was adde d t o th e garde n scene (see fig.18). Zen priests composed verses writte n in Chinese

o n plaquette s tha t were hun g over gates an d entrance s t o dra w attentio n

t o th e atmospher e of th e garde n scene.' 6 Althoug h remaining within th e classical garde n traditio n of th e pon d an d island , ther e was on e fun- damenta l change . Buildings were found within th e garden , whereas the Heia n palac e ha d faced th e garde n in an arrangemen t in which architec - tur e an d garde n were tw o separat e part s of a tota l arrangement . Th e

FIGUR E 18. Sketch , tha t gives a n idea of the buildings in th e early fourteent h century temple Saiho-ji . Not ealsothe cherry tree in front of th e main Buddha hall , the boa t mooring and the pines on th e islands , tha t were reportedl y covered with white sand . None of these buildings remains , the place ha s grown over with trees an d is at present popularl y known as th e Moss Templ e (kokedera).


mediaeval garde n of th e pon d an d island type was n o longer th e stage for outdoo r ceremonies an d parties , it became th e setting for th e architectur e itself. Th e festive or ceremonial gathering s of th e aristocrat s als o began t o tak e place indoors , so tha t th e garde n became automaticall y a thing t o beviewed asoutdoo r scenery.' 7 Thi swas basict o th e main achievement in mediaeval garde n art , th e establishmen t of a scenic garde n style. 'Scenic ' in thi s respect does no t necessarily refer t o th e image of actua l natura l scenery, bu t solely t o th e outwar d compositiona l qualitie s of a garden view, however imaginary . Th e scenic qualit y of th e mediaeval garden is therefor e defined in contras t t o th e Heia n period garde n tha t showed hardl y any concern for designed form , for th e compositio n of a garden view. Some of th e early mediaeval garden s of th e pon d an d island type show such scenic aspects . But thi s conceptio n of garde n ar t is much better ex- emplified in the small courtyar d garden s of th e cultura l elite, th e Zen priests an d high class warriors . Consequentl y thi s par t concentrate s o n th e small mediaeval garden , rathe r tha n on th e developments in th e classical pon d an d island type . Th e garden s of the pon d typ e were still built as palace gardens , bu t now for th e residences of mediaeval wealthty military men or constructe d as settings for th e early Zen temples in Kyoto . The small garden s showing a design conceived as a scene ar e t o be th e found facing larger halls used for ceremonial o r cultura l gatherings . I will refer t o them as 'garden s of th e scenic type ' or 'smal l mediaeval gardens' . Though they were sometimes enclosed, th e term 'courtyar d garden ' places to o much emphasis on th e enclosing aspect which is no t importan t within th e framework of thi s thesis . In recent literatur e o n mediaeval garde n ar t th e qualificatio n 'karesansui' , or 'dr y landscap e garden ' isgenerally used . Th e ter m refers a t present specifically t o garden s employing certai n garde n materials , rathe r tha n determinin g the mediaeval achievement of th e scenic composition . Nevertheless my term s 'smal l mediaeval garden ' an d 'garde n of th e scenic type ' include th e mediaeval 'karesansui ' typ e of garden . The following chapter s attemp t t o reconstruc t th e development of th e mediaeval garde n as a garde n conceived as a scene. Besides involving research int o the establishment of an appreciatio n tha t recognizes th e out - ward appearanc e of a garde n as 'scenic' , also an inquir y int o th e forma - tio n of a design theor y t o compose a garde n as 'scenic ' has t o be made .

Th e rol e of th e shoguns as patron s of th e art s isculturall y most importan t in the first half of th e Muromach i period . Th e money t o thi s end came first directly from th e provinces , bu t facing th e increasing power of local


group s who needed the money themselves th e Kyoto shogunat e turne d t o the Kyoto citizens. A grou p of moneylenders an d pawnbroker s was used mor e an d mor e by th e warrio r government as a fiscal agent . In th e later Muromach i period these rose t o such an importanc e in society, tha t as for these times rich citizens must be viewed as patronizin g arts. 1 8 Th e office of th e eighth shögun Yoshimasa ended in th e turbulen t period of th e Önin civil war (1467-1477). In an d throug h thi s war solidari - ty grew amon g th e Kyot o citizens. This amounte d t o systems of self government also found in some othe r cities. " Culturall y it mean t a predominanc e of urban , mor e popula r art s over th e aristocrati c shogunate' s arts , setting th e ton e for th e following cen- turies . Thus , cultural-historically , Yoshimasa' s reign an d th e Öni n war were a period of significant change , because n o shögun after thi s would exert any influence of importanc e on mediaeval culture . Th e following chapter s will speak of thi s period as late mediaeval . The times when shöguns were patronizin g art s — unti l th e first half of th e fifteenth cen- tury — will be referred t o as early mediaeval .



Scenic forms of garde n ar t requir e a consciousness on the par t of th e garden make r tha t elements of natur e can be formed an d shaped int o an aesthetically pleasing garde n scene. Th e landscape painter s of China' s Song dynast y (960-1279) possessed such a consciousness an d their pain - tings an d th e body of criticism belonging t o these ar e withou t any doub t linked t o Japan' s mediaeval scenic garde n style. It is likely tha t a scenic garden style existed in Song Chin a as well, an d tha t ther e has been a direct influence of Chinese ideas of gardening . However , wear e badly informed abou t th e actua l practice of garden makin g in Song China ; an inquir y int o landscape paintin g offers us a bette r insight .


The Song dynasty in Chin a covers the late Heia n an d early Kamakur a periods in Japan . Th e dynast y witnessed unprecedente d economic growth , th e founding of a stable money economy an d rapi d urbanization . Wide spread commercial activities also included book printing . Paintin g began t o be viewed as an ar t rathe r tha n a craft. 2 0 Th e revising of th e Imperial Academy of Paintin g favoured thi s greatly . Als o th e activities of grea t scholar-painter s upgrade d th e statu s of paintin g from a craft t o an in- tellectual' s pastime. 2 1 Scholarshi p was favoured because of a shift in th e government system from rule by a hereditar y aristocrac y t o an 'aristocrac y of merit ' selected throug h an examinatio n system. 2 2 Th e scholar-government officials soon mad e u p an elite social class . Many of them were also active as amateu r painters , besides being grea t thinkers . Specifically monochrom e ink paintin g was popular , because it did no t re- quir e complicated technique s of execution . Produce d with simple means , aesthetic effect became a goal , rathe r tha n a perfect representation . Several of th e scholar-painter s occupied themselves with th e theoretica l problems of representatio n in painting . Theor y an d execution —literatur e and paintin g — were closely related activities of th e culture d gentleman . Judgment s on painting s as well as adde d poems , colophon s o r superscrip -


tion s betra y thi s close relationship . Compilation s an d selections of these were edited. 2 3 Earlier , mor e mystical though t on the effect of representatio n in a pain-

ting was reinterprete d by Song scholars ; they discovered tha t it could reflect th e personal creativity of th e painte r an d be a result of his talent. 2 4 Awareness of self expression an d a persona l style is clearly present in th e works of paintin g an d letters of th e Song literati. 2 5 Generally speaking , it mad e a non-conformist , persona l approac h in ar t respectable , as is found amon g th e Song priest —, an d monk-painter s from th e 13th cen- tur y onwards. 2 6 T o be mentione d a t thi s poin t is th e scholar an d govern- ment official Su Dongp o (Su Tung-p'o , 1037-1101) active as a painte r of bamboo , rocks an d trees . Some of his remark s ar e found again in th e Japanes e mediaeval record s concerning garde n art . Besides, the Chinese

ideal of th e cultured intellectual as a 'hom o universalis ' inspired th e higher

classes of early mediaeval Japa n in some respects . Mor e direct influence of Chinese landscape ar t on Japanes e mediaeval gardenin g wil be due t o th e importe d Song landscap e paintings , an d its body of literar y criticism tha t reached Japa n from th e early fourteent h century onwards. 2 7 Productio n of landscap e paintin g in Song Chin a was not found amon g th e literati , bu t a t th e Imperial Academy an d in th e Zen temples aroun d th e capita l Hangzho u (Hangchow) of th e Souther n Song dynasty . Specifically thi s capita l an d period formed the source of th e Chinese influence on mediaeval Japanes e landscap e art . Lat e thirteent h centur y Hangzhou , therefor e after the Song dynasty , is described by Marc o Pol o as a bustling trad e city where th e higher classes enjoy a relaxed existence. Besides mentionin g man y gardens , Pol o alsoin- cludes a description of th e former palace of th e empero r with its many courtyard s an d concubines . As the Mongol Kublai Khan was the n ruling , th e palac e of th e Song ruler was deserted . Polo' s description must be con- sidered illustrative of th e previou s Song dynast y as well. 2 8 Th e flourishing of garde n ar t an d landscape paintin g in Song Chin a can be easily understoo d as expressing a romanti c view on natur e contrastin g to , bu t also stemming from , th e agitation s of Hangzhou' s city life as it is described by Marc o Polo . Th e landscap e painting s from th e Imperial Academy show very well the achievements in th e formulatio n an d applicatio n of compositiona l theories; 2 9 th e amateu r landscape scribbles an d painting s by literati and priests exemplify th e inspiratio n of Song landscape painting . Nevertheless the same inspiratio n is found in th e landscapes from th e Imperial Academy , like th e same compositiona l schemes ar e t o be found in the paintin g of th eliterat i an d priests .Th eZentemple swereno t isolate d from


Hangzhou' s cultura l world , neither were they exclusively inhabite d by priests of the Zen sect. 3 0 For reason s of clarity I will discuss some of th e compositiona l ideas , takin g materia l illustrativ e of compositio n from th e academic paintings , while th e inspiratio n of Song landscap e paintin g will be illustrate d with landscapes stemming from th e Zen temples aroun d Hangzhou .


Song China' s social an d political constitutio n favoured scholarschip . It was th e great age of revising an d reviewing older though t an d philosophical ideas . In sophisticated thinking , correc t conduc t for th e in- dividual was containe d in on e single synthesis with th e creatio n of th e universe, as well as th e magnificence of th e phenomena l world of real nature , including again man , his civilization an d history. 3 1 Th e treatise s on these thought s drew no t only from philosophies of pas t times , bu t also from th e ancient speculations of a 'scientific ' or cosmos-explaining character , such as th e Yin/Yan g theories . Finally also Buddhist ideas , mystic Taois m an d simple superstition s were included . Such speculative syntheticism ha d brough t th e infinity of cosmos an d eternity in close con- nection t o daily life. Communio n of th e individual with a macrocosmic universe ha d been the ideal of Taoist s of old . T o attai n thi s they ha d devised certai n medita - tions an d breathin g techniques . These became now t o be practice d also by th e literat i and by painters . Th e intangible , magic Taois t notio n of macrocosmo s was now transferabl e t o a mor e intellectual level of infinity in time an d space. With th e achievements in philosoph y as background , natur e was perceived by painter s an d poet s mor e profoundl y as ever before as something of dept h in space an d infinity of time. 3 2 Perceivable an d comprehensibl e in th e far distances of actua l land - scapes, respectively in th e cycle of th e changing seasons , it is exactly these two ideas tha t form th e main inspiratio n of Song landscape painting . In th e traditiona l mountai n scene dept h an d distance ha d been expressed by means of overlapping mountains , separate d by layers of mist . These were now consciously constructe d as fore- , middle- an d background , an d employed as thre e or mor e planes in th e painting . Dept h was for instanc e added by a stream runnin g from a n unknow n backgroun d t o th e foreground , a t th e botto m of th e painting , as if flowing toward s th e spec- tator . This foreground was how artisticall y enforced by addin g some ar - chitectur e or tiny huma n figures, often crossing a bridg e tha t usually


connects th e two mountainou s side scenes. 3 3 Specifically after th e move in th e 1120's of th e capita l t o th e souther n regions of China , th e landscap e painter s were mor e an d mor e inspired by th e soft end gentle landscapes of th e south. 3 4 Th e beaut y of th e partl y man-mad e scenery aroun d th e new capita l Hangzho u included wide expanses of water , like Hangzhou' s West Lak e an d th e river Zhe Jian g with its san d flats almos t touchin g th e city. Th e Dong Ting lake an d th e confluence of th e rivers Xia o an d Xian g some distance t o th e west of th e capita l mad e for othe r scenic beaut y of water landscape . Besides th e traditiona l mountai n scenery such vast expanses of water became increasingly used asa them ein landscap e painting . Distance of space an d infinity of time is agai n what th e painting s evoke . Th e water surface of a lake would merge with th e sky in a misty, undefined distan t horizon . T o givean effect of dept h a little boat , a n island or promontory , would seem t o float on th e water in th e fore- or middle ground . Infinity of time would be suggested for instanc e by birds , a troo p of gees flying t o thei r winter roost , or othe r phenomen a of natur e suggesting th e cycles of th e seasons . Poem s o r verse-like superscription s written on th e pain - tings greatly helped th e painte r in expressing his message. Needless t o say tha t remot e from everyday life a strong romanti c quali - ty can be ascribed t o th e landscape paintin g of Souther n Song. 3 5 This is clearly illustrate d with some sections of th e scroll Eight Viewsof the Xiao andXian byth e 13thcentury priest painte r Mu Xi (Mu Ch'i ) (fig. 19).Th e painting , importe d t o Japan , washiglyappreciated , ascan bejudge d from the seal of shögun Yoshimitsu attache d t o it .


No t onlyth e Zen priest painters , bu t alsoth e landscap e painter s of th e Im- peria lAcademy painte d inspired by th e ideas of infinity in time an d space . Nevertheless it isheretha t theestablishmen t of th e compositiona l schemes an d othe r rules of th e cano n of paintin g too k place . Landscap e paintin g ha d been a subject of intellectual discussion alread y for man y centuries . But th e earlier mysticism is now replaced by rathe r clear theorie s on , for instance , th e problem s of composition. 3 6 Th e activities of th e literati painter s were of course instrumenta l in thi s respect . Major progress in landscap e paintin g isth e increasing consistency of th e composition , as well as a convincing perspective of depth . In th e tradi - tiona l Chinese landscap e paintin g a centra l perspective with one commo n poin t of convergency was never used . Instea d dept h on th e flat surface of

FIGUR E 19. A scene of th e Eight Viewsof the Xiao and Xiang, attribute d t o th e Chinese painte r Mu Xi . Shown here is a detail take n from th e view titled "Bel l Sound from a Temple Veiled in Evening Mists" . Th e roof s of the temples can be made ou t amon g the trees tha t ar e almost completely covered in the haze . Th e sug- gestive effect is clear .


a paintin g is attaine d throug h th e method s of diminishing size an d in-

distinctness of the objects further away . In othe r words a linear perspec- tive with n o fixed vanishing poin t is used in combinatio n with a distance perspective inherent t o th e huma n eye an d atmospheri c circumstances . Trees further away ar e smaller, vaguer , less detailed . Distan t mountain s appea r in Chinese landscape paintin g as misty, th e lower par t no t painte d as if invisible, covered in haze .

Th e lack of one centra l point of convergence allows for free composi - tion of scenes allover the surface of th e painting . Nevertheless, some kind of idea of perspective lay behind th e earliest Chinese landscap e paintings ; they have some perceptio n of depth . Based o n thi s older practice th e painte r Gu o Xi (Kuo Hsi , 1020-1090) formulate d his theor y on th e com- positio n of perspective. 3 7 In orde r t o suggest dept h his theor y gives thre e different compositiona l schemes using differing directions of view of a n imaginary spectato r looking a t th e landscap e in th e paintin g (see fig. 20). One is a compositiona l scheme in which a towering mountainou s land -

scape is seen as looking from

distance' . The compositio n of 'dee p distance ' is th e second scheme. It shows a frontal pictur e of, usually , an almos t inaccessible ravine-like landscape scene. We can look int o its dept h from an imaginar y vantag e poin t as if floating in th e air in front of it . I t shows a foregroun d down below in th e lower part s of th e pictur e and a far distance somewhere in the middle , deep in th e perspective.

below upwards . This is th e so called 'hig h

Th e thir d is th e directio n of view called

'level distance' . Th e perceiver

seems t o be looking down from a rathe r high stan d point , th e scenery stretches broadl y away from a near t o a far distance . Th e pictur e usually

has a foregroun d

when paintin g th e landscape. 3 8 Only on e or two , in unusua l cases thre e or mor e together , accordin g t o Gu o Xi' s theor y clearly defined viewpoints can thu s be applie d in one painting . This limitatio n in th e use of viewpoints makes for th e consisten- cy of compositio n in Song landscape painting . Dept h of perspective was created by paintin g overlapping planes , imagined t o be at differing

distances from th e standpoin t of th e onlooker . In distan t plane s trees an d mountain s ar e draw n smaller an d less detailed tha n in th e planes in th e foreground . The planes ar e separate d by mist or by water in form of a broa d river or a lake . All the overlappin g planes ha d t o be painte d next

to , or o n to p of each othe r (fig. 21). Specifically in composition s employ-

ing the deep an d th e high distance schemes, planes ha d t o be painte d on

to p of each othe r in orde r t o evoke an effect of depth . Consequently , as

for th e forma t of th e paintin g itself, quit e some height was needed . Ver-

o n which we can imagine tha t th e artis t was standin g

^A m ,


\1P >

% V 'V'«

TV §w\




pf â


fe ''i

w high

FIGUR E 20 . Thre e sketches tha t demonstrat e th e ide a of high, deep , an d level distance . See the text for further explanations .

FIGUR E 21 . Sketch tha t demonstrate s the Chinese techniqu e of achieving dept h in a painting . Planes of view ar e painte d on to p of each other , separate d by white space tha t suggests mist an d distance . Bridge, huma n figures an d trees in th e foreground ar e draw n proportionall y large r tha n th e buildings in th e background .


ticality of compositio n is therefor e a characteristi c featur e of Song land - scape painting . In criticism of these days , landscap e painting s were expressly praised for thei r convincing dept h perspective in a consistent composition . Su Dongpo' s close friend Huan g Dingjian adde d for instanc e t o an otherwise anonymou s landscap e painting :

Th e stream s an d mountain s ar e deserted ; th e view is open an d exten- ding for thousan d miles



Anothe r critic , Deng Chu n (Têng Ch'un) , remarke d in a treatise , publish - ed in 1167 on certai n landscapes by th e empero r Huizon g (Hu i Tsung


every squar e foot (of th e are a of th e painting ) opened a vista of a thou - sand miles

Probabl y thi s is mor e th e jargo n of th e period tha n an objective criticism on th e imperia l paintings . Abov e all particular , small sized landscape painting s tha t gained popularit y these days betra y th e full mastery of perspective an d compositio n techniques . On thes e small landscapes th e prais e ' A thousan d miles in a squar e foot of space' , became a common saying. Successfully evoking dept h was a n importan t poin t in criticism. But ther e was alsoth e artisti c intentio n t o evoke dept h an d long distances . This is exemplified intitles of Song landscap e paintings . Not e for instance the paintin g by Xia Gui (Hsia Kuei) titled A far-off Clear View over Streams and Mountains, or a paintin g said t o be his named TheRiver of Ten Thousand Miles. Some of th e works of thi s academi c landscap e painte r foun d thei r way t o mediaeval Japan . Some painting s of his con- temporary , M a Yuan , working in th e samemainstrea m landscap e style ar e also mentione d in Japanes e mediaeval catalogue s of painting. 4 0 Ma Yuan was praised for his unilatera l compositions ; landscape s with only on e side scene, dept h an d infinity suggested on the opposit e half of th e paintin g (fig. 22). 4 1 Some intrinsi c qualitie s of Song landscap e paintin g can be though t of as having prompte d its easy acceptanc e an d even high appreciatio n in mediaeval Japan . Th e formal compositiona l ideas , as well as th e literar y appreciatio n of dept h perceived in painting , could easily be transferre d as intellectual matte r togethe r with a general body of literar y knowledge . Th e early mediaeval military an d priestly circles were highly interested in literati like Su Dongpo . Besides this , the dream y qualities of th e Song landscapes ar e even toda y easily grasped , as they probabl y also were in mediaeval Japan. 4 2

FIGUR E 22 . Section of an academic Chinese landscap e paintin g tha t illustrate s compositiona l ideas tha t were employed in th e rock arrangement s for waterfalls in Japanes e gardens . The landscape paintin g belongs t o a set of twotha t isbelieved t o be from the Yuan period (1280-1368). It is kept in th e temple Eiho-ji tha t was founded by Musö Kokushi , whose date s ar e largely contemporar y t o th e Yuan period . (Cf. chapter s 3.2 and 4.2)


When the Mongols in th e course of th e thirteent h century graduall y too k over the ruling power in all of Chin a many artist s and intellectuals had reasons t o look for a bette r place t o live and work . Th e age old examina- tion system tha t had encouraged scholarly an d artisti c pursuit s was disassembled. The Imperial Academy was closed. 4 3 Some painter s retreated , some were fired from official government service. And as wealthy ruler s in Japa n were interested in Chinese cultur e an d arts , some went t o Japan . Her e they found a comfortabl e life an d recognitio n no t in the last place thank s t o their ties t o higher circles, perhap s even t o the im- perial cour t of China . Chinese priests of th e Zen sect, especially, found a warm welcome in Kamakur a and Kyoto , as Japan' s cultura l innovatio n went by th e name of Zen . At first, only specialists in Zen religious matter s were invited t o reside in Kamakur a temples . But with the growing consciousness of being new rulers in Japan , th e cultura l content s of Zen became increasingly in- teresting t o the warriors . And after the shogunat e ha d moved t o Kyoto , with its traditio n of a brilliant imperial courtly culture , th e cultura l side became so importan t a s t o overshadow th e religious teachings of Zen .




Th e old esoteric Buddhism of th e court , the metaphysics of which were elaborate d in impressive ceremonies an d decorative architectur e wassimp-

lyirrelevant t o thechanging condition s of society in th e 13than d 14th cen-

turies . It ha d n o message for fighters in war and simple people

unde r th e effects of it . Th e new interpretation s of Buddhism returne d t o individual faith as a cor e of teaching an d religious experience; thi s was quit e in contras t t o th e clerus of th e old sects tha t solved problem s with rites an d ceremonies . Simple piety is essentially th e teaching of th e new popula r sects. Th e new Zen sects aimed at a privat e search for trut h or th e reason of existence throug h meditative training. 4 4 Th e Japanes e monk s an d priests tha t went t o Chin a t o study Buddhism usually ha d some persona l disconten t with religion as it was taugh t or practiced as a motive for their journey . In China , almos t automaticall y they came int o contac t with Zen , th e only Buddhist sect tha t ha d survived t o a reasonabl e extent th e previous persecutions of Buddhists . These Zen temples , mainly the ones in th e hills aroun d th e capita l Hangzhou , ha d however admitte d in a syncretized manne r several othe r Buddhist teachings , now no t hear d elsewhere, as well as Taois t superstition s an d mysticism. Therefor e als o in many of th e writings of th e early Japanes e Zen priests we come acros s again thi s mixing of thought. 4 5 The priest Eisai (also Yösai , 1141-1215) was originally from a sect of theold esoteric Buddhism . Hetraveled twotimest o Chin a where he , apar t from Zen , again came int o contac t with esoteric teaching . After returnin g t o Japan , he continue d his studies o n esoteric Buddhism , strengthened by hisexperiences in China , trying t o restor e earlier teachings of it in connec- tion t o Zen . Part s of these older , nint h century teachings formed certain

techniques of mystic contemplation , tha t foun d a new paralle l in Zen' s meditative training . Eisai founded th e Rinzai sect of Zen in Japan . The origins of thi s Zen sect were closely connected with on e of th e existing sects of esoteric Buddhism . Theesoteric Buddhist sectsha d alwayspropagate d thei r rol e as benefac-



to r t o th e state , t o secure patronag e from the rulin g classes. This became also necessary for the , now competitive , new Zen sect. This must be th e backgroun d of Eisai' s trac t with th e titl e Treatiseon Spreading Zen Bud- dhism and Protecting the Nation.* 6 Th e full flourishing of Zen syncretized with the older esoteric sects began with the move of Shögun Takauj i an d his government t o Kyoto . In

th e old capita l it was confronted

Heian cour t aristocracy . Th e esoteric teaching included in Rinzai Zen gained recognition . As for its religious content s th e new Buddhism had a conciliating effect, bringing togethe r th e two aristocracie s now residing in Kyoto. 4 7 Confronte d o n th e othe r han d with th e distinct courtl y cultur e an d th e remains of its political power structur e th e militar y government too k far reaching measures t o oppos e th e new religion as th e shogunate' s own cultura l an d political stronghol d against th e monasterie s of th e old esoteric Buddhism . These monasteries , specifically th e ones in Nar a an d on Moun t Hiei , northeas t of Kyoto , were powerful an d militant , defen- ding th e old political system of th e imperial court. 4 8

Takauj i established an institutio n of Zen monasterie s spread over th e whole country . Strongly advising, if no t actually commandin g Takauj i in this , was th e Zen priest Mus ö Kokushi (1275-1351). This monasti c system

devised by Mus ö was , shortl y after Takauji' s death , replaced by a similar

one , called the Fives Monasteries (gozan). 49

Monasterie s was mor e hierarchy-oriente d tha n th e previous institution . Thedivision of th e Five remained powerful well int o th e fifteenth century . Its strengt h was tha t it , as a nationwid e religious institution , formed an extension of theshögun' s power . It was basically a division of governmen- tal patronage , no t only in matter s of religion bu t alsoof cultur e in general . An importan t reaso n of existence of th e Zen monasti c institution s in th e early mediaeval perio d was therefor e political . Thi s soon mad e for trend s toward s secularization , specifically of th e Kyot o based Zen of th e Five Monasteries . Th e following chapter s search for a historical an d cultura l context of th e mediaeval garde n art , rathe r tha n a religious one .

with th e courtl y esoteric Buddhism of th e

Th e organizatio n of th e Five


Th e nam e of Mus ö Kokushi is connected t o man y historica l gardens . In the following we will come across sources tha t stat e tha t he 'made ' gardens , which seems doubtfu l considering his political importance . A


few attribution s are , judgin g from the dat e of th e garde n an d Musö' s dates , clearly falsified. A closer inquir y int o his perso n is necessary a t thi s point . Musö Kokushi was no t of particularl y high birt h althoug h his father was remotely related t o th e imperial family. His parent s died when he was only a boy an d his younger years were a somewhat restless search for knowledge an d religious experience. 5 0 As most earlier Japanes e Zen priests , Mus ö Kokushi also received his first teachings in the old esoteric Buddhism . In 1952 at th e age of twenty he went t o Kamakura , where at tha t time Zen was flourishing , sponsore d by the militar y regents . He studied Zen unde r thre e disciples of th e Chinese priest Lanq i Daolon g (Rankei Döryü in th e Japanes e pronuncia - tion) , who was sponsore d by th e highest Kamakur a regent in person . When Yining, anothe r Chinese priest showed u p in Kamakur a in 1299, Mus ö went t o study with him . Yining taugh t in most of th e Five Monasteries , an d was actually sent by th e Mongo l Kubilai Kha n himself as a gesture of good will, after th e latters ' failed attemp t t o conque r Japan. 5 1 Mus ö therefor e was taugh t by some of th e best Zen teacher s Japa n could offer at tha t time . Yining was probabl y th e first Chinese priest wh o also promote d mor e cultura l studies . Yining was a n amateu r landscap e painte r an d a n expert calligraphier, who wrot e in a flowing style, appreciate d by Japan' s courtl y circles. Furthermor e he laid stress on th e stud y of Chinese classical literature . Musö' s interest in Zen Buddhism was withou t any doub t also motivate d by th e access it gave t o Chinese cultur e in general . A particula r passion for garden s an d architectur e can be distinguished from his time with Yining onwards . Mus ö very openly reveals his interest in materia l cultur e in a late r quote d chapte r he wrot e on th e ar t of landscapin g an d the use of drinkin g tea , a beverage of great exclusivity in th e early middle ages. 5 2 Later , already rising t o th e height of his career , Mus ö personally under - too k steps t o open th e official trad e with Chin a again . Nevertheless Mus ö remains fully Japanese ; he could no t speak Chinese, he never traveled t o China . In Musö' s recorded dialogues with Tadayoshi , th e brothe r of shögun Takauji , as wellasin othe r texts from hishand , wecan feel his intellectual attitude . Problem s of cultur ean d religion Mus ö solves by reasoning . With him we find n o trac e of a Zen religious attitude . Th e dialogues resemble in no respect th e cryptic question/answe r games of th e early Chinese Zen- patriarchs. 5 3 Neither does anythin g in Musö' s dialogues recall a strict


monasti c discipline of meditation , tha t should lead t o enlightenment. 5 4 Unlike the traditiona l Zen priest , always teaching in persona l confronta - tion with only a few disciples, heha d many disciples, a number tentatively given as 1300.This , of course , adde d greatly t o his fame . H e attracte d so many student s because of his practica l an d reputedl y friendly approac h when teaching . Mus ö managed t o become a 'countr y teacher ' (his honorifi c titl e kokushi) mostly because of his pragmati c way of dealing with student s whether monk or aristocrat. 5 5 Musö' s affection for natur e an d garden s is clear from his own writings as well as othe r literatur e from th e period. 5 6 Few contemporar y record s suggest a mor e direct engagement in buildin g o r designing gardens , bu t these ar e no t reliable as a historical source. 5 7 Moreover , generally speak- ing, th e gardenin g activities , ascribed t o him don' t surpass th e additio n of buildings or repairin g of older gardens . Anyhow , Musö wasa ma n of such high political standin g tha t it isques- tionabl e whether he would have ha d direct influence on any garde n work at all . Designers an d builders of gardens , working for him would have don e thi s ou t of grea t honour . Even if they would hav e liked t o get known , they will no t have attracte d very much attentio n standin g next t o one of th e leaders of th e Five Monasteries. 5 8 Besides, garde n designers hardl y appea r in written record s of these times , giving free play for later ascribing. 5 9 Therefor e it must be concluded tha t Mus ö Kokushi did no t 'build ' any garden ; it is also unlikely tha t he designed any . In th e best case he would have suggested th e renovatio n of certai n gardens , withou t however having had any direct influence on th e design. Mus ö Kokushi is abov e all of importanc e t o th e mediaeval garde n ar t inasmuch as he inspired th e wealthy military t o hav e garden s laid out . In thi s he differed from othe r high-rankin g mediaeval Zen priests , like Gid ö Shüshin an d Sesson Yübai , in th e specificity an d amoun t of his en- thusias m toward s garde n art. 6 0



Th e course of the mediaeval period in which th e attitud e toward s natur e changes toward s a mor e moder n on e begins with a period of stron g Chinese inspiration , no t t o sayimitation . This isnoticabl e in th e apprecia - tion of natura l scenery. But also garde n ar t an d its appraisa l relied on th e Chinese model .


Historica l record s describe the Chinese immigran t priests contemplatin g th e landscape of Japan . Notabl e is thei r interest in Moun t Fuji , visible from Kamakura , th e centr e of early Zen Buddhism . Th e mountai n with its strikingly beautiful shape ha d of course no t been unnotice d in previous centuries. 6 1 Fo r th e Chinesehowever it would have been viewed within th e whole context of mountai n romanticis m tha t pervades Taoism , landscap e paintin g an d th e Chinese Zen. 6 2 Th e earlier mentione d Lanq i Daolon g ha d arrange d togethe r with anothe r Chinese priest Wuxue Zuyua n (1226-1286, Mugak u Sögen, in Japanese ) a grott o halfway u p th e mountai n behin d Kencho-ji, th e main Zen monaster y in Kamakura . A n openin g commande d a fine view of Moun t Fuji , an d with thi s sight th e Chinese priest s practiced thei r medita - tions. 6 3 Wuxue was on e of Muso' s spiritua l fathers . When Mus ö wascall- ed t o head anothe r temple , Zuisen-ji in Kamakur a heha d a look-ou t built on th e hill behind thi s temple . Fro m thi s look-out , a pavilion called 'On e View' , one could see Moun t Fuji as well. A little lower, facing th e main temple buildin g a cave an d pon d were cut ou t in th e soft natura l stone. 6 4 The pavilion of Musö , the n already an importan t Zen priest , became so famous tha t a large amoun t of verses were written abou t it , some of these by Chinese priests . Most sites of Musö' s earlier dwelling places comman d fine views, nevertheless th e similarities with histeachers ' grott o ar e so ob - vious , tha t th e 'On e View' pavilion must be though t of as Chinese in- spired. Th e pavilio n overlookin g th e scenery of a natura l o r urba n landscap e

isalso commo n in th e Song garden . Allth e same ther e isa n importan t dif- ference in its use . Th e Chinese literat i used t o drink , jok e an d write poetr y with friends in such look-outs . They were places t o enjoy natur e in a leisurely way. Th e Japanes e mountai n pavilions were in th e early middle ages apparentl y no t used for purpose s of leisure an d pleasure , bu t served probabl y mor e as a statu s symbol . Japanes e early mediaeval priest s wrot e poems abou t each othe r pavilions , rathe r tha n in th e buildings when visiting each other. 6 5 Later , in his Kyot o years Mus ö ha d again a look-ou t buil t on th e hill at th e back of th e Saihö-ji temple . This pavilion was called 'Reduce d Distance ' (Shukueri). Th e nam e ha s reference t o th e Song perceptio n of landscape tha t was known , at least , as a literar y idea . 'Reduce d Distance ' will refer t o a far distan t scenery capture d an d reduced t o one view. 6 6 Th e pavilion offered actuall y four views throug h four openings in it . Gid ö Shûshin (1325-1388), disciple of Mus ö an d leader of his lineage after th e latter' s death , described the scenic beaut y viewed from th e pavilion as 'if in a painting'. 6 7 Similar passages writte n by Mus ö or his scribes speak of scenery aroun d temples as 'heave n opened paintings' , or mor e freely translated , 'heave n create d views'. 6 8 Perceiving natura l landscap e as scenery, as a painting-like image , betray s an intellectual way of perception , in which intellectual is con- traste d with an emotiona l appreciatio n tha t would speak of feelings, col- ours , smells, etc . Similar intellectual perceptio n could be exemplified by Musö' s usage of the phras e 'surplu s mountain , water remaining ' (zansanjösui). Th e term appear s in recent Japanes e literatur e on landscap e paintin g an d garde n ar t where it is usually explained as referring t o technique s of composition . It supposedly derives from Chinese compositio n schemes in ink-landscap e paintin g tha t were concerned with th e matchin g of th e oppose d identities of black an d white; mor e specifically it was th e balancin g o n th e pape r or silk of wide expanses , surfaces representin g water or misty sky, t o th e dar k volumes of mountains . This balanc e is fundamenta l t o composi - tiona l schemes tha t employ much white as for instance th e Xiao-Xian g paintings. 6 9 Th e phras e 'surplu s mountain , water remaining ' is in thi s view one of th e ways t o stat e thi s proble m of balanc e in th e compositio n of ink landscap e painting . Betha t as it may , Icould no t find any evidence in sources on Chinese histor y tha t thi s ter m refers t o compositio n in land - scape art . It appear s in th e writings of Song literat i — amon g other s of SuDongp o — an d seems onlyt o contai n poeti c connotation s of pas t glory when viewing certai n historica l landscap e scenes. 7 0 'Surplu s mountain , water remaining ' appear s again in connectio n with


Musö Kokushi , where it is used in description s of scenery seen from cer- tai n pavilions . In anothe r early mediaeval passage , no t by Musö , it isused for describing garde n scenery. It seems nevertheless a little prematur e t o conclude from thi s tha t techniques of compositio n from Song landscap e paintin g wereused in designing gardens. 7 1 Aprope r conclusion seems tha t among a few early mediaeval Japanes e Zen priest s perceiving of natura l scenery began t o be an activity of contemplatio n in which the y referred t o Chinese literatur e an d its mor e intellectual worldview, rathe r tha n t o Heian lyrics an d th e emotiona l perception . Aroun d thi s time th e verb 't o borrow ' began t o be used in description s of sceneries tha t 'borrowed ' a view over a natura l landscap e from a pavilion or a garden. 7 2 As all thi s was in th e first instanc e literar y borrowin g from Chinese classical literature , it remain s a questio n whether it was any mor etha n jus t that . Besides, these instances seem rare , th e grea t bulk of th e early mediaeval description s of views from pavilions keep after all t o th e tradi - tiona l Japanes e literar y themes of cherry blossoms an d autum n colours. 7 3 It is clear , however, tha t a t least th e though t tha t landscap e scenery could be appreciate d for its own sake was born .


No t only natura l landscape , bu t also garden s became appreciate d for thei r view. This can be grasped no t only from historica l descriptions of gardens , bu t also from still extan t gardens . Th e garde n at th e temple Tenryû-ji , in eastern Kyot o will be discussed as a representativ e example . Th e decision t o found th e temple Tenryü-ji was mad e in 1339 in orde r t o solace th e soul of Empero r Go-Daig o wh o ha d died in his exile. It was Mus ö Kokushi who instigated shögun Takauj i t o d o so. 7 4 Two political aspects related t o th e foundatio n of thi s new Zen temple shoul d no t be left unnoticed . Of course no t only th e soul of th e deceased Empero r was t o be consoled; also th e courtl y aristocrac y a s a whole ha d t o be mitigated , an d buildin g a templ e t o th e emperor s commemoratio n was a n emotional - ly well calculated an d politically no t very dangerou s measure . However , on the othe r han d it asserted th e new military leadershi p once mor e by choosing a spot tha t was praised t o th e utmos t in th e courtly lyrics. 7 5 Th e Oi river, with th e autum n colour s on th e hills o n th e poin t where it enter s th e valley of Kyoto , was lauded over an d again in the classical poetry . It belongs t o th e traditionall y celebrated scenic spot s an d appeare d for in- stance in a n earlier quote d section of th e Tale of Genji . Th e choice of thi s


are a with suchhighemotiona l courtl yvaluest o construc t a newZen centr e must be interprete d as a clear statemen t of power of th e new leaders . Together with othe r famous scenery in th e neighbourhood , like a natura l waterfall , an d a famous long bridge know n as Togetsuky ö tha t crosses th e Ôiriver , also th e spot with th e maples was included in a widely extending temple complex. 7 6 Shogun Takauj i even ha d cherries take n from Yoshino , th e place of empero r Go-Daigo' s exile, an d ha d them plante d on th e maple covered hill . Th e whole templ e trac t was clearly no t intended t o serve as a Zen establishment for monasti c training . Th e actua l buildin g work s starte d in 1340.On th e sitewher e th e templ e buildings were t o be constructe d ha d been courtl y palaces , like th e thir - teent h century Kameyama Don o of a retired Empero r Go-Saga. 7 7 One of theannexes of thi s palac e waslocated on or closet o th e famous mediaeval garde n tha t one can visit today. 7 8 However it is unthinkabl e tha t th e garde n date s back any earlier tha n th e fourteent h century . Th e design is soobviously based on Song period concepts of Chinese garde n design tha t it must have been built at th e foundatio n of th e Tenryü-ji . Th e temple belonged in fact t o th e grou p of temples set u p by Takauj i an d Musö Kokushi an d was soon take n u p as on e of th e Five Monasteries . I t was therefor e a centr e of learning in Chinese Song culture , for which a garde n in th e Chinese style was most appropriate . Most clearly inspired by Chinese Song landscap e paintin g is th e water- fall an d gorgeroc k compositio n of th e pon d garde n (see fig. 23). 7 9 As for the history of garden s in Japan , it betray s rathe r revolutionar y innova - tions . Thetypical waterfall compositio n of the Heia n period was very sim- ple in its construction . I t consisted of few stones over which water was mad e t o fall. Compare d t o thi s th e waterfall of th e Tenryü-ji is unusuall y high; the steplike constructio n is also no t found in th e typical Heia n garde n waterfall. 8 0 In its compositio n th e rock arrangemen t shows the same principles as the Song landscap e paintings . Firs t of all , th e height of th e composition parallel s th e verticality of th e typical Song mountai n landscap e painting . Asoppose d t oth e Heia n period landscap e scroll , th eusua l Song scroll was vertically unrolled , hanging on a wall, rathe r tha n lying o n a desk. As discussed before vertical length of th e paintin g was related t o th e composi - tion of planes t o evoke dept h of perspective. Furthermor e th e Tenryü-ji waterfall shows a stron g foreground , ar - tistically enforced by a horizonta l ston e bridge . Such bridges spannin g th e foreground an d connecting th e left an d right side scenes ar e foun d also in the Song landscapes . In th e ston e compositio n th e side scenes, in fact th e sides of a gully cut in th e slope , ar e mad e t o seem massive an d impressive

FIGUR E 23 . Sketch showing th e composition s of natura l rocks for th e waterfall in the garde n at the temple Tenryü-ji (early fourteent h century) . A little islet lies in the foreground , a stone bridge spans th e middle groun d in front of th e stepped waterfall . Compar e with figure 22 t o see th e resemblance with the compositio n of the same kind of scene in Chinese landscap e painting .


with big boulders , pu t u p at th e edges. In between , a far distance is visualized in th e uppe r step of th e waterfall . A misty qualit y is enhanced

byth e shad e of th e trees tha t han g over it now . A craggy island floats with its image mirrore d o n th e water surface , in front of th e ston e bridge . In

a Song landscap e paintin g it would rise ou t of th e mists . This littl e island catches th e sunlight fully, it givesa clear image as oppose d t o th e shadow- ed formation s inth e background . We might wonder nevertheless, whether the trees in the fourteent h century were as importan t in directing th e light as they ar e at present . It is questionabl e whether th e colou r of the stones was intentionall y chosen t o resemble th e tone s in Chinese ink painting . Th e colou r is mostly in th e blueish range . These stones ar e a blue-green schist from th e Kishü

region . Th e laboriou s transport , alon g the coast by ship an d u p th e rivers (past presentda y Osaka ) t o Kyoto , suggest a conscious choice of Kishü schist as garde n material . Even mor e because many blue-blackish or brown-blac k stones can be found in th e riverbeds of Kyoto. 8 1 Th e lower step of th e waterfall features a t a conspicuou s poin t in th e compositio n

a reddis h Kishü schist. It is very likely tha t on e sees in th e waterfall com- positio n of th e Tenryü-ji temple garde n a fashionabl e use of conspicuous - ly coloure d stones , rathe r tha n a choice of colou r related t o Chinese ink painting. 8 2 However , in anothe r aspect th e garde n of Tenryü-ji shows a mor e im- portan t effect of continenta l influence. Th e garde n an d abov e all th e waterfall compositio n across th e pon d is mean t for contemplation . It is

meant t o beviewed from the abbots ' quarter s tha t ar e facing it (fig. 24). 8 3

Th e garde n of th e Tenryü-j i is no t designed t o be appreciate d from

th e garde n itself. N o boatin g partie s ar e t o be mad e on its small pond . It

is t o be perceived from without , like a painting . Thus , th e Tenryü-ji garde n ishistorically importan t in tha t it shows a first convincing example of conceiving a garde n as a materia l work of ar t tha t can be appreciated .

Natur e in thi s garde n is n o longer a setting , a backgroun d for partie s or an inspiratio n for enjoyment of natura l beaut y in form of lyrical themes .

It is nature , designed by man as form .

In thi s respect th e garde n shows further parallel s t o continenta l garde n design, apar t from th e waterfall arrangemen t described above . A little t o

th e right of it , when seen from th e main hall , is found anothe r miniatur e

gorge at th e pon d shore , again spanne d by a bridge . It consists of one

single slab though , th e 'gorge ' is als o smaller . A pat h connect s th e tw o bridges an d continues along th e curves of th e pon d shore . Rocks , set u p

at th e edge of th e water serve as an embankment , bu t also borde r th e pat h

on th e othe r side. Othe r natura l stones ar e set u p in rows t o retai n th e soil


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from th e slopes tha t borde r th e pat h on the side opposing th e water . Th e width of th e pat h tha t run s between the slopes of the hillocks and th e water of the pond , varies from place t o place . T o th e left, when seen from the main hall , it gets as wide as t o be called terrace , rathe r tha n a path . The design idea of stepwise embankmen t or retainer s ou t of standin g rocks , with pathway s of variabl e width is clearly Chinese. 8 4 Also in the Chinese concept the pat h with its varying width includes little bridges tha t cross outlet s of miniatur e gorges , tha t face a garde n pon d an d a main building . Th e scale of th e Tenryü-ji garden , including its mai n buildings is also very similar t o th e size of comparabl e Chinese types . Wha t makes for a completely different image thoug h is th e spars e use of stones with simple shapes in th e Tenryu-ji garden . It look s less artificial tha n th e rockery garden s in China .

Many writers on Japanes e garde n ar t ascribeth e garde n t o Mus ö Kokushi . This relies probabl y in most cases on popula r 18th century garde n book s tha t give thi s attribution. 8 5 It date s initially back t o a passage in a four- teent h century epic chronicle , Taiheiki, tha t state s tha t he mad e th e garden . However th e general characteristic s of thi s work , set u p t o be an heroic journal , d o no t mak e it very reliable as an, histori c source. 8 6 Neither can a recor d of th e groun d breakin g ceremonies performed by Musö , nor th e Chinese verses he wrot e on th e scenery of th e temple com-

pound , be take n as proo f tha t he buil t or designed th e Tenryü-ji

garden .

Theories of Song landscap e paintin g ar e skilfully

applied in th e


arrangemen t at thepon d shore . Generally speaking this , rathe r sudden ap -

pearanc e of so strongly Song influenced rockwork , canno t be ascribed t o an indigenous Japanes e like Musö . Mus ö himself could no t hav e ha d such detailed knowledge, he did no t paint , he never went t o China . Besides, Songlandscape paintin g wasno t yet importe d o n alarge scale;a catalogu e of th e 1320's mention s only four landscapes , tha t would no t have necessarily been mountai n an d gorge scenes, such ascreated a t Tenryu-ji' s pon d edge. Th e Japanes e painter s only hesitatingly experimented with th e new perspective of landscape. 8 7 This will suffice as evidence t o stat e tha t only a n immigran t could have been well enough informed o n th e techniques of compositio n in Song landscape ar t t o be able t o apply them in a garde n design. This could have been th e earlier mentione d Yining, or somebody related t o him . As an of- ficial ambassado r of th e new Chinese ruler Kubilai Khan , he must have ha d person s in attendanc e who might have been familiar with gardenin g techniques . Besides th e waterfall arrangemen t th e concept of pon d an d hillock, with winding pathway s in between rows of rocks used as retainer s


is so typically Chinese in concept , tha t one also hesitates on thi s poin t t o attribut e it t o an early mediaeval Japanese . Furthe r evidence t o attribut e th e design t o a Chinese artis t isth e so call- ed 'car p stone ' halfway u p the waterfall (fig. 25). At th e side of the uppe r step of the waterfall is a curved ston e with a split tip , quit e suggestively representing a fish jumpin g u p th e rapids . It isgenerally accepted tha t thi s stone relates t o the Chinese legendary story of a car p that , after suc- cessfully ascending th e gorges of th e Yellow River at Lung Men (which means 'Drago n Gate') , will tur n int o a dragon . In Chin a it was a metapho r for passing th e examination s giving access t o importan t posi- tions as officials in th e government . Passin g th e examination s was passing th e Drago n Gate . A car p leaping ou t of th e water is a commo n motif in Chinese art. 8 8 This would lead t o anothe r hypothetica l attributio n of th e waterfall rock groupin g t o th e Chinese Lanq i Daolong , perhap s bette r know n unde r th e Japanes e pronounciatio n of his name , Rankei Döryü . Thi s Chinese Zen priest came t o Kyot o for thre e years t o deal with question s on Zen matter s a t th e cour t of ex-emperor Go-Saga , whose palace , as mentione d above , was located a t th e present site of th e Tenryû-ji temple . Two othe r temples tha t Lanq i Daolon g revived durin g shor t period s of residence also have th e same type of 'Drago n Gate ' waterfall an d in Kamakura , in the temple Kenchö-ji where Lanq i lived permanently , isa pictur e representing such a Drago n Gat e scene with a jumpin g fish. 8 9 Again , n o documentar y evidence exists tha t proves his engagement in constructin g these Drago n Gat e waterfalls . And as hold s tru e for Musô , Lanq i was a very high rankin g priest , who certainly would no t have hand - led th e garde n stones himself. Chronologicall y speaking th e Drago n Gat e Waterfal l appear s a s a design scheme in abou t the same time as the foundatio n of th e temples concerned , tha t is th e early fourteent h century. 9 0 Only after mor e tha n a century late r thi s typical waterfall arrangemen t reappears , bu t the n the techniqu e of Song landscap e paintin g is alread y completely accepted an d understoo d amon g th e Japanes e painter s of th e academy . Drago n Gat e waterfalls appea r for instanc e in garden s ascribed t o th e Japanes e painte r Sesshû, a virtuos o painte r of Song style landscapes an d well informe d on techniques of composition. 9 1 Early mediaeval Song style waterfall rock arrangement s of th e type referred t o as Drago n Gat e —as at Tenryu-ji — ar e anachronisms . They must be ranke d as import s alongside th e Song landscap e painting s tha t were introduce d in th e early fourteent h century . Such landscape ar t was greatly admire d in th e shôgun' s aristocrati c circles, bu t no t well enough

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understoo d t o have been produce d by indigenous artists . Mus ö Kokushi had many disciples an d as a crucial figure in th e establishment of Zen an d the Five Monastery organization , th e Dragon Gat e waterfall would cer- tainly have brough t abou t a mor e continuousl y lasting garde n design pricinple if built by Mus ö himself. A possible Chinese attributio n left aside , it is safe t o conclude tha t Mus ö Kokushi did no t build the waterfall composition at Tenryü-ji . Neither did he design it .


In the literatur e on th e history of Japanes e garden s I found some mediaeval records tha t express a spectator' s appreciatio n of a scene on seeing a garden. 9 2 These statement s ar e treate d chronologically on the following pages . Remarkabl e is at first sight th e wonder expressed at perceiving an aweinspiring landscap e scenery containe d within th e limited size of a landscape garden . Needless t o say tha t thi s idea is Chinese in- spired. On viewing the garde n of a certai n priest Dokush o in 1346, th e Zen priest an d poet Sesson Yüba i said, as is recorded :

A little grou p of fist-big stones makes th e effect of a thousan d miles. 9 3

Thi s Sesson Yübai had lived in Chin a for mor e tha n twenty years an d was one of th e eminent figures in Chinese learning a t th e Five Monasteries . Some decades later anothe r priest , who ha d held importan t post s in the Zen centres Tenryü-ji an d Kennin-ji an d was well informed on Chinese matters , ha d a garden built for Musö' s successor, Gidö Shüshin , when he retreated . Th e latte r praised his garde n in 1384 as follows:

The suggestive effect of thousan d cliffs and te n thousan d valleys is evoked on a tiny piece of land east of th e house .

In the sameyear the shögun Yoshimitsu himself visited Gid ö in his retreat . Then a poetr y gatherin g was held , in which thre e or four courtier s an d some od d ten or mor e priest s also participated. 9 4 On e of th e guests ha d brough t with him a scroll paintin g titled : New Illustration of the Tiny Scene of a Ravine in the Mountains, as a source of inspiratio n for th e poetry occasion . Th e titl e of this scroll seems again t o indicat e tha t an im- pressive mountai n scene was rendere d well on th e small forma t of th e scroll. Th e atmospher e was inspiring an d amiable , as th e passage closes. 9 5

In a passage date d 1466, a somewhat similar idea is expressed again . It


praises th e small garde n of a sub-temple of the Shökoku-ji , a monasti c temple rankin g high in th e Five Monaster y hierarchy . This garde n was made by Zen'ami , who was unde r direct patronag e of the shögun Yoshi- masa . Th e recor d says :

Th e far an d near distan t peaks an d gorge ar e unusuall y superior , seeing thi s one gets no t satiated an d before one realizes it one has forgotten t o go back. 9 6

At thi s time miniaturize d landscapes in th e form of bonzan tra y land- scapes, forerunner s of the present day bonsai miniatur e trees , were ap - preciated by the same shogun Yoshimasa. 9 7 Again these ar e viewed as suggestive of an awe inspiring landscap e scene. A recor d of 1466 notes :

Little water , little waves, seen far away, it looks like th e spirit of an estuar y mountai n of ter n thousan d miles. 9 8

Similar passages from othe r sources exist. Actually thi s bonzan tra y land- scapes became a kind of craze : a gatherin g where all th e temples of th e Five Monaster y grou p set u p th e tra y landscapes they possessed is recor- ded in 1463, shogun Yoshimasa was present for a n inspection . The last quotatio n is take n from th e late 15th century Chinese verses of the Zen monk Hannyab ö Tessen on th e garde n at his retreat :

Th e five highest mountain s soar against an an t stack , th e wide ocean looks down on a frog hole . Directions of far an d near have n o boun - daries , as if 30.000 miles ar e containe d within a squar e inch. 9 9

Althoug h most of th e passages quote d ar e record s written by Zen priests , members from th e military elite aroun d Yoshimasa' s time also voice thei r appreciatio n of impressive mountai n scenery perceived in small garden s or in miniatur e tra y landscapes , becoming popula r a t the same time , th e end of th e fifteenth century . A mor e general notio n tha t relate s t o th e formatio n of th e scenic garde n isth econceptio n kasenzui or 'moc k landscape' . Fro m th e beginning of the fourteent h century onward s th e word kasenzui, or kazan, 'moc k moun - tain' , began t o appea r rathe r often in th e mediaeval record s t o denot e a garden. 10 0 Th e word kazan has also been used throughou t th e history of the Chinese garden , pronounce d jia shan t o indicat e man mad e rocky hillocks . As for th e Chinese garde n history jia shan is translate d as 'ar - tificial mountain' , or 'moc k mountain'. 10 1 Analogu e t o th e usage in theor y of Chinese garde n histor y I translat e kazan as 'moc k mountain ' an d kasenzui as 'moc k landscape' . In the earliest record s of Chinese garden history th e mock mountain s seem t o have been buil t by Taois t


magicians , constructe d as a pile of eart h in which rock s were set. Later , particularl y durin g an d after th e 'roc k craze ' of th e tent h t o twelfth cen- turie s th e mock mountain s were constructe d solely of rocks piled on to p of each other . In th e souther n Song perio d specifically th e are a aroun d Hangzho u was known for its stone workers specializing in building mock mountains.' 0 2 The following addresses some record s o n th e mock landscape , tha t shed mor e light on th e formatio n of a scenic typ e of garden . Documentar y evidence gives no t enough substance t o conclude anythin g in th e concrete as for th e appearanc e of th e mock landscape . However , the Chinese in- spiratio n is clear. It is further remarkabl e tha t again man y of th e record s relat e t o th e person of Mus ö Kokushi . In 1333 Mus ö ha d a mock landscap e laid ou t facing th e east side of Sansö-in tha t was a sub-temple of Rinsen-ji . I t is no t exactly clear what thi sgarde n looked like . Fro m an admonitio n of Mus ö in th e writte n hous e rules , tha t still exist, of th e Rinsen-ji temple it ca n be concluded anyhow tha t it concerned a small scalegarden . Mus ömention s th e mock landscap e in th e same section as in which he stresses th e usefulness of vegetable

gardens laid ou t by monk s themselves

within templ ecompounds . One gets