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Japanese Rock Garden

In the Earth Art Gallery


The traditional Japanese rock garden aims to draw the mind beyond the appearances of things. (more below)
Stone becomes sublime
Photo (c) 2001 Andrew Alden, licensed to About.com (fair use policy)
A Zen rock garden, like this one on the grounds of the Huntington Museum in San Marino, California, uses the simplest means to suggest a whole ideal landscape of islands in the sea. The island stones are carefully placed, and the clean gravel is raked around them in the patterns of waves and currents. The mixture of scales and the contrast of forms and materials all are aimed at bringing the contemplative mind beyond the surfaces of things.

The scientific mind has a similar need to set aside the appearances of things, to dwell in the space before conceptualization. Only by breaking through the screen of accepted ideas can new and perhaps truer accounts of nature be hypothesized.

The Zen rock garden is one extreme of landscaping with stone. The About Landscaping Guide has much more to say about rock gardens.

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