Table of Contents
Get to know the main oriental garden styles and their design variants.
When we talk about oriental gardens, we basically refer to China and Japan, which in the case of China go back almost 5,000 years. The symbolism was always present in the Taoist tradition and was transmitted to Japan through Korea in the 7th century, being the basis of the early Japanese designs. These environments were built on land adjacent to the temples, so they were
considered them not so much as playgrounds, but as meditation areas. Gardens that did not look like the ones we know today, as complements such as stone lanterns, bowls, stone slabs, etc... were incorporated later.
Water, Sand and Stone
Of all the styles, this is the simplest and most austere, due to the time in which they were developed. They are called karesan-sui and represent the mountain and dry water designs and were basically placed in the temple courtyards for contemplation and enrichment of the spirit.
The stones represent the mountains and the sand the water, requiring a skill exceptional its maintenance. The best example of this type of garden is represented in Kyoto and is called Ryoan-ji, created around the 15th century. Its layout and arrangement, along with the silence, give it tranquility and harmony.
The Kare-san-sui design, also occupies the art of landscapes in tray, imported from China and known in the West as Bonsai, in which are incorporated in addition to sand and stone, dwarf plants located in stone or bronze trays.
The origin of this type of garden, was due to the custom of drinking tea, considered a ceremony. The tea houses consisted of a simple and rustic environment, built with straw roofs accompanied by simple utensils.
At first these gardens were simply paths leading to the teahouse, located in areas so humid and shady that moss was part of the environment.
These gardens were divided into two areas, the first was near the city and was called ?roji exterior?. The second one was far away from the city and where nature was not controlled, it was called ?roji interior?.
They are characteristic stone elements such as tiles, bowls, lights, etc... that over time have become typical complements to this type of garden. The inclusion of wells and other stones at the entrance of the tea house, had the function of washing hands and mouth before entering the tea ceremony.
In these gardens the moss represents the richness and fullness of the Buddhist religion, symbolizing the abundance of life. Possibly the most important moss gardens are those of Kyoto and in particular there is one that stands out among the others, it is the one belonging to the temple of
This type of design combines exquisitely selected rocks, along with shrubs, trees and stone slabs. The colourful maples in autumn, the azaleas and their flowering in spring, together with other plant and architectural elements such as ponds, bridges, etc... are characteristic details of this type of environment.