Japanese

5 elements of a Japanese garden.

5 elements of a Japanese garden.

In a Japanese garden, the water surface is the base above which the entire composition of the garden rises, so water is an equally important and essential part of every Japanese garden, symbolizing the incessant passage of time and the flow of life. Water equipment includes reservoirs with a calm surface, rivers, waterfalls and springs, but they can also be “dry”, when stones, gravel and sand symbolize flowing or standing water.
The equipment of the reservoir, its place and shape, the direction of the flow of water in the river is given as much attention as the compositions of stones. The well – chosen shape of the reservoir with a curved coastline, bays, peninsulas and islands allows you to create an impression of grandeur in a small area. Similarly, rivers are equipped with winding channels, irregular banks, rapids and cascades, without a clear beginning, but with a clear end-flowing into a reservoir or turning into a waterfall. Falling water has always been one of the garden’s favorite details. The place for the waterfall was chosen especially carefully-away from the houses, but not very far away, so that you could not hear the sounds of falling water. On both sides of the waterfall were two rocks against the background of the forest. The theoretical canons of creating gardens suggest more than ten different types of waterfalls, taking into account the way the water falls: wide water ” curtains “or thin water” ropes”, with one stream or several of its branches, evenly distributed or asymmetrically distributed along the edges, with one or more” ledges ” that are divided into main and auxiliary, creating a cascade… All of them have names, their own symbols, they are used based on the overall composition of the garden.
In any pond in the garden, there must be islands. These can be several stones that have emerged from the water, or islands of various sizes and shapes, whose appearance and symbolism are also provided for by the canons: a mountainous island, a forest island, a rocky island, with or without young trees, in the form of a cloud or a turtle, etc. Almost all compositions of reservoirs have uninhabited, i.e., not connected to the shore by bridges, “paradise” islands (horaijima), islands of thematic forms of turtles, cranes, etc., symbolizing the lonely untouched patches of land in the boundless water. A wide variety of their types allows you to create diverse perspectives of the reservoir and the impression of infinity.
Vegetation.
In any Japanese garden, the plants, no matter how large and beautiful they are, always obey the arrangement of the stones. Plants combine individual parts of the garden together, soften the lines or create a background. Despite the fact that plants play a secondary role, they are very important for the creators of the garden. The combination of plants (as well as other elements) is provided in the traditional canons in accordance with their decorative features, symbolic meaning, connection with poetry and the tradition of painting. A typical range of plants for a Japanese garden includes evergreens and conifers, flowering trees and shrubs (cherries, plums, apricots, azaleas, rhododendrons, magnolias), native deciduous (Japanese maples), perennial forest flowers, sedge and moss. The Japanese pine tree, famous by poets, is especially appreciated – a symbol of eternity, from flowering plants – cherry (sakura) and plum (ume), a symbol of temporality and fragility. Plants help to emphasize the passage of time and the endless change of seasons. In the spring, fruit trees bloom, the flowering lasts for several days, but in Japan it is a holiday (Hanami), which is celebrated by sitting quietly under the cherry blossoms. In autumn, the leaves of Japanese maples acquire a bright color and chrysanthemums bloom, and in winter, against the background of white snow, a pattern of naked branches appears. However, in the Japanese garden, there is a little colorfulness, and sometimes it is completely absent. It is necessary to avoid profusely blooming annual or perennial flowers, as they change very quickly, attract attention with their variegation and interfere with concentration. In our garden, plants from local forests grow: copse, hare cabbage, anemone, marsh kaluzhnitsa, lupine, saxifrage, yellow killer whale, yathryshnik, hosta, strawberry, blueberry, lingonberry, common heather, water lilies, etc. In a traditional Japanese garden, there are no flower beds, flower beds and lawns, the latter are often replaced with sand or moss, they are covered with earth, stones, stumps, tree trunks.
In summer, the Japanese garden offers a variety of shapes. The colors of this season are different shades of green. Best of all, Japanese gardens open in spring and autumn – you can observe all the subtle flowers of plants. The color is considered to be fast-changing and transitive, and it is used to create a seasonal impression.
Stone.
According to ancient Japanese mythology, mountains and stones form the skeleton of the earth; they symbolize constancy and immutability, and water is the blood of the earth, a symbol of the flow of life and change. Therefore, the stones form the framework of the Japanese garden. If they are placed correctly, then the other part of the garden will seem to fit itself. At all times, the art of placing stones Sute-ishi (yap. sute-ji – “build” + ishi “stone”) was the basis of the gardener’s work.
In Japan, natural-shaped stones that are covered with rust or overgrown with moss, with signs of erosion caused by wind or water, are most valued. The Japanese try to find stones with a flat, flat, attractive surface. Such stones create the impression of stability, immutability.
In our garden, about 12 thousand tons of stones of different sizes have already been used. In total, it is planned to decompose about 25 thousand tons.
Architecture.
A mandatory part of the garden composition is garden architectural and engineering structures: paths, bridges, benches, stone lanterns, wells, fences and gates. All of them are made of natural materials – stone, wood or metal, trying to convey the natural color and texture of the material and, most importantly, the time stamp that is visible on dusty or moss-covered stone, sun-darkened wood, rusty metal.
The path for the Japanese is a road through life that will lead the guest through a series of different experiences and consciousness. The main function of the paths is to combine all the elements of the garden. Paths, like rivers, wind through the depths of the entire garden. The Japanese garden seems to say that there is no hurry, and those who believe that the path from the gate of the tea garden to the tea house can be overcome in a few minutes are deeply mistaken. It’s like an allusion to the perception of time.
Most of us believe that the brightest feature of the Japanese garden is the bridges painted in red. They are characteristic of Chinese gardens, and in ancient Japanese gardens exist as Chinese heritage. In newly created Japanese gardens, bridges are usually not painted, leaving their natural color. Bridges connecting the shores and islands are of several types: smooth, curved or angular, they are made of various materials – stone, wood or earth. With the help of zigzag flat bridges, our eyes are directed in the right direction, and the most popular ordinary stone or wooden bridge was not always intended for crossing to the other side, its symbolic meaning is more important – the flow of life, the journey from one world to another.
Traditional elements of the Japanese garden, which occupy an important place , are stone lanterns and wells. The purpose of the lanterns is not only to emit light, but also to mark special places in the garden. In fact, the lanterns in the Japanese garden, to a greater extent, are a decoration, almost the only one, since all other creations of human hands have a strictly defined practical purpose.
The most common water structures are stone vessels, on which a bamboo bucket is often installed to scoop up water.
One of the categories of stone vessels resembles an ancient coin. They are shaped like a cylinder with a square water hole. Most of them have inscriptions inside, as they were on the old coins. The inscriptions represent some kind of wisdom.
Tsukubai is a special vessel with a bamboo tray, symbolizing purity and innocence, which is used purely for practical reasons, and in function it looks more like a washbasin than a magnificent fountain. Tsukubai seems to suggest that the wanderer stop, bend down and wash his hands, rinse his mouth. Today, in the Japanese garden, tsukubai is used more as a tribute to tradition and an aesthetic phenomenon.
Shishi-odoshi is a specific creation of the Japanese garden. Water is pumped into it by means of a bamboo tube, through which it flows in a thin stream into another bamboo tube with an open end, which, when filled, overturns and loudly hits the stone. Then the overturned tube is lifted again, and the cycle is repeated again. Previously, in Japan, this structure was used by farmers to scare away wild animals that harm the economy.
Bamboo fences give the garden lightness, grace. They also perform a decorative function, they will separate some elements from others.
The gate in the Japanese garden has a special meaning. It is a mystical element that represents the place of the collision of two worlds and lets the visitor into the world of the garden.
It is often believed that Japanese gardens are created according to the strict rules of the canon. In fact, the tradition of creating Japanese gardens implies many important rules and types of garden elements, but this is what gives rise to improvisation. There are much more rules than a single garden composition can cover, so the creator does not follow them blindly – on the contrary, he is given the opportunity to interpret the canon quite freely, thereby demonstrating his intelligence and creativity. A hundred-year-old Japanese tradition demonstrates wisdom, experience and mystery, the unique relationship of man with nature, when a person makes nature more beautiful by conveying its essence, but he does not force it, but observes its laws. Therefore, the Japanese style occupies a special place in the art of creating gardens.