Religious and Philosophical Syncretization in Classical Chinese and Japanese Garden

Mossman, Min Lum
August 2009
International Journal of the Humanities;2009, Vol. 7 Issue 5, p157
Academic Journal
The topic of religious and philosophical syncretization as found in East Asian gardens must begin with a discussion of the origins, development, and transmission of Chinese garden design and its culturally connected symbolism. This review is outlined in this paper's sections sub-titled 'The Chinese Framework,' 'Confucian Ethics and the Residential Quadrangle (Si-he-yuan)', and 'The Classical Chinese Garden.' The section sub-titled 'Chinese Influence on Japanese Gardens' outlines Chinese garden design transmission into Japan during the Tang Dynasty (618-906 CE), widely known as the Golden Age of the Chinese Arts. This was an a result of the journeys by Japanese imperial diplomatic delegations of envoys seeking to learn every aspect of the Chinese culture and monks who traveled as pilgrims in search of the Buddhist philosophical faith brought to China from India around the 1st century BCE to the 1st century CE. The importation of Chinese garden concepts into Japan will be presented in a comparative study of cultural Confucian and Taoist classic elements. Buddhist, Zen Buddhist, Neo-Confucian, and Shinto garden and residential complex elements illustrate the composite nature of the Chinese and Japanese cultures. This study is done in an effort to connect the material level of garden description to the symbolic associations not usually seen by the average viewer of the East Asian garden.


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