Video: Natural Garden Ideas In Chinese Garden Art
The idea of a “natural” or ecological garden is by no means an invention of modern times, obsessed with the word “ecology”. The origins of the idea can be found in the gardens of China, dating back more than one millennium. Having seen them for the first time, the Europeans experienced a real "aesthetic shock". The Chinese school of gardening art turned out to be completely original, not like everything that is used to in Europe. The idea of a garden created at the whim and will of man was alien to the Chinese. Trimmed trees and shrubs, sophisticated geometrically correct patterns of flower beds, ideally even lawns in European gardens embodied the triumph of man over nature. In China, the attitude to nature was different: it was recognized as the highest value, and the garden, ideally, was a "ennobled" natural landscape slightly "corrected" by human hands. Creating a man-made landscapethe Chinese tried to reproduce nature in its most harmonious manifestations.
Researchers of Chinese garden art conditionally distinguish 6 types of Chinese gardens - imperial, temple, home gardens, scientists' gardens, as well as gardens of natural landscapes, which, in fact, were the predecessors of natural gardens in their modern sense. And yet, it should be said that most of the Chinese gardens were by no means just a slightly ennobled natural landscape, it was the result of the titanic efforts of many generations of gardeners. Especially indicative in this regard are the imperial gardens and parks in the vicinity of Beijing, grandiose in size. The whole landscape was created artificially: huge hills were poured, reservoirs were built, connected by channels with bridges thrown over them, whole groves of trees were planted.
To a lesser extent, man-made is felt in the private gardens so characteristic of southern China, which, as a rule, were not large in size. Usually, they tried to "fit" into the existing landscape, only emphasizing the advantages of the natural relief, but not drastically changing it. At the same time, the nature of the use in Chinese gardens of the three main landscape elements - water, stone and vegetation - clearly shows their fundamental difference from modern gardens in a natural style.
Eco-garden in the modern sense implies not only the use of the natural relief and soil conditions of a given area, but also a minimal invasion of local ecosystems. The existing vegetation is preserved in the garden as much as possible, for which “companions” compatible with the vital requirements are selected. Water and stones should correspond to the nature of the natural landscape (for the middle zone - a stream at the bottom of a ravine, a small lake with overgrown banks, a swamp in a lowland, boulders, etc.) In such an environment, the use of small architectural forms (gazebos, pergolas etc.), for which the territory near the house is allotted.
What do we see in Chinese gardens? First of all, the abundance of water spaces is striking, which in many gardens occupy more than half of the territory. For example, in the famous Yiheyuan Park, 12 km from Beijing, the lake, which is the compositional center of the entire park complex, has an area of 264 hectares out of 330 hectares of the total area of the park! Paths wind along the coast, following its winding line, and characteristic “camel” bridges are thrown across the streams, which give the landscape a specific Chinese flavor. Another element of "unnaturalness" is the pavilions on the islands, which visually "grow out of the water" and are reflected in it, thereby creating a kind of optical effect.
The handicraft of the landscape in the Chinese garden is also emphasized by the stones. The Chinese treat stones with an unusual appearance and color as masterpieces of nature: they contemplate them, put a hand to them, listen to them. Often in Chinese gardens, artificial slides made of stones without any plants were arranged. Their creation was considered a "special science", which were trained by special masters.
Although the selection of plants for a Chinese garden was not subject to strict rules, it was largely predetermined by traditional tastes and established plant symbols. In almost every garden one could find "trees of happiness" - plum and peach, as well as ginkgo, magnolias, bamboo and, of course, a symbol of longevity and nobility - pine. The peony "reigned" among the flowers, and the lotus among the aquatic plants.
Exquisite architectural structures - pagoda-shaped garden pavilions, gazebos, tea houses, terraces, galleries - complemented the look of the Chinese garden, enhancing the element of hand-made in it. Thus, upon closer inspection, Chinese gardens are not ennobled nature, but rather a skillful imitation of natural landscape paintings. Subsequently, this trend will find its logical continuation in Japanese gardening art - in the famous philosophical gardens, in which there is practically no vegetation, and the water surface is replaced by pebbles. This is also a landscape, only conditional, symbolic. Instead of three natural elements, only one is used here - stones. And from this, the landscape painting acquires an emphasized laconism and inner depth. It is a kind of abstract painting as opposed to realistic landscape paintings,created by the hands of the masters of the Chinese garden school and filled with the beauty of nature. But both are works of garden art, in contrast to the fairly utilitarian landscape design, one of the areas of which is ecodesign. This is where we come to a very important issue of the relationship between the concepts of "garden art" and "landscape design". Unfortunately, many books and publications actually put an equal sign between these two concepts. And completely in vain. Gardening art implies the creation of a kind of ideal world in which natural elements - water, stone, plants - and the creation of human hands - sculpture, small architectural forms, fountains and so on - coexist. All this affects our senses, causing certain emotions that change depending on the season,weather and other incidental factors. Chinese and Japanese gardens go even further: they tune in to the philosophical perception of nature, making you think about the place and vocation of man. Landscape design is quite utilitarian: its task is to create a comfortable living environment. At the same time, he can use both a minimal set of garden techniques (a lawn near the house framed by bushes), and the entire arsenal of expressive means of garden art (pools, sculpture, paths, etc.). The point is not in the set of tools and techniques, but in the approach itself. Landscaping does not paint a perfect image with the colors of the real world, but organizes the natural environment around the house. Moreover, it can be both a primitive composition of stones and conifers against the background of a lawn, and an aesthetically meaningful natural landscape,the creation of which is the goal of ecodesign as one of the areas of landscape design.
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