The Great Gardens of China: History, Concepts, Techniques

The Great Gardens of China: History, Concepts, Techniques

by Fang Xiaofeng
     
 

The garden—a place for refined pleasure and spiritual relaxation—has its roots in ancient China. Western travelers from Marco Polo onward marveled at the intricacy, the elaborate buildings, the subtle design, and the assured use of plants, water, and natural materials in Chinese landscapes. The Great Gardens of China shows, through stunning

Overview

The garden—a place for refined pleasure and spiritual relaxation—has its roots in ancient China. Western travelers from Marco Polo onward marveled at the intricacy, the elaborate buildings, the subtle design, and the assured use of plants, water, and natural materials in Chinese landscapes. The Great Gardens of China shows, through stunning original photography and cogent text, both the visual splendors of China’s finest gardens and explains their ideas and techniques in accessible terms. Now every gardener, architect, or designer can understand China’s garden heritage and be inspired to use it to dramatic effect.

Beginning with an introduction to Chinese beliefs and the historical development of garden design, this book discusses the basic aesthetics and landscaping elements—architecture, rock stacking, waterscapes, plants, borders, and scenic routes—used in Chinese garden design. The author, an expert in the history and theory of Chinese and international gardens, also describes specific gardens, from famed world cultural heritage sites like the Summer Palace in Beijing and the gardens of Suzhou—Lion Grove, Humble Administrator’s, Lingering, and Master-of-Nets Gardens—to the lesser known. The Great Gardens of China serves as a compendium—in text and illustration—of all facets of the Chinese garden.

This book allows a total immersion in the enticing art of Chinese classical gardens . . . The book has helped me greatly to understand how Chinese gardens work and how to borrow from them for our own gardens in the West. I believe that Chinese gardens will strongly influence global garden design once their unique versatility is properly understood.
—Janet Wheatcroft
Craigieburn Garden & Nursery, Scotland

Editorial Reviews

Library Journal
Fang Xiaofeng (Academy of Arts & Design, Tsinhua Univ., Beijing) introduces readers to Chinese garden design, first by defining the aesthetics and design features and then by focusing on particular gardens in China. Chinese gardens have always been designed to summon poetic effects with rocks, water, plants, and pathways. The relationship between humans and nature is emphasized through such features as bridges by which one can enter the spectacle. The author includes gorgeous photographs of specific sites, such as the Hall of Drifting Fragrance, where the interiors anticipate Frank Lloyd Wright; the gardens of Suzhou; and the Summer Palace in Beijing. He also provides plans as well as sectional views to assist in understanding how these masterpieces were built. VERDICT With outstanding pictures and colorful descriptions, this book will make readers feel that they are on an actual garden walk. However, it is best for armchair gardeners, travelers, and Chinese art aficionados, as it lacks the planting and horticultural details, index, and list of resources found in practical gardening books. As an inspirational coffee-table book, it should be welcomed.—Susan G. Baird, formerly with Oak Lawn Park P.L., IL

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781580933032
Publisher:
The Monacelli Press
Publication date:
09/28/2010
Pages:
260
Product dimensions:
9.30(w) x 12.20(h) x 1.20(d)

Meet the Author

Fang Xiaofeng is a professor at the Academy of Arts and Design, Tsinghua University in Beijing. He specializes in the history and theory of Chinese and international gardens, garden design, city planning, and architectural design. He is also the deputy executive editor for Decorations magazine.

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