Today I invite you to have a look around the biggest courtyard of the New York Chinese Scholar's Garden. It is dedicated to my dear flickr friend ecco9494 who spend her afternoon with us exploring Snug Harbor.
My main picture is a roof detail of the Knowing Fish Pavilion. I just love those elegant forms and the craftsmenship that went into creating this beauty. Hope you feel so too.
Some previously unmentioned information about the design as it plays a role in my additional captures in the comments:
The garden is designed with "ya", or elegance. The garden is traditionally entered through a narrow passage where meditation takes place, prior to entering the main garden. The design of the garden produces harmony through its views and concepts. The garden creates an infinite space within an enclosed area.
- The borrowed view extends space beyond the border of the garden.
- The hidden view creates suspense and excitement as one moves deeper into the garden.
- The opposite view is framed by a moon gate or floral window.
The following text contains the same info as provided with yesterdays post:
The New York Chinese Scholar's Garden (寄興園 or New York Chinese Garden). It is a part of the Staten Island Botanical Garden, located in the Snug Harbor Cultural Center (opened in June 1999). A team of 40 Chinese artists and artisans from Suzhou constructed the garden.
Traditional Chinese gardens go back almost 2,000 years to the Han Dynasty though most Scholar's Gardens date back to the more recent Ming and Qing dynasties.
A Scholar's Garden would have been built by a scholar or an administrator retiring from the emperor's court. It would have been an enclosed private garden always associated with a house which, in turn without its garden, would not have been considered whole.
This garden, designed and built by Landscape Architecture Corporation of China (LAC), is enclosed by walls, a series of pavilions, and covered walkways. These are all organized in an irregular manner to create a series of courtyards of varying sizes.
The art of the Chinese garden is closely related to Chinese landscape painting - it is not a literal imitation of a natural landscape, but the capturing of its essence and spirit.
The parallel could be drawn to a Chinese hand scroll painting which as it unrolls, reveals a journey full of surprises and meditative pauses.
The enjoyment of the garden is both contemplative and sensual. It comes from making the most out of the experiences of everyday life, as such, architectural elements are always a part of a Scholar's Garden.
The painter's eye must be used to lay out the main architectural elements - the wall becomes the paper the rockery and plant are painted on. The structures playfully rise and fall, twist and turn and even "leave" the garden to take advantage of and even create a great variety of beautiful scenes.
To paraphrase the 15th century garden designer Ji Ching:
"The garden is created by the human hand, but should appear as if created by heaven."
Some of the elements found in the garden:
Wood - Nails or glue are not used in a Chinese garden. Wooden elements are
joined together using traditional Chinese construction techniques.
Rocks - In Chinese literature, rocks are described as the "bones of the earth."
Water - The garden contains three ponds and one waterfall. Water is thought of as the arteries of the world.
Plantings - China has contributed the rose, lilac, daphne, species of rhododendron, and the peony to the rest of the world. Trees, shrubs, and flowers are selected for shape, seasonal character, and symbolic meaning.
Furniture - The furniture of the garden is called the "internal organs."
Walls - Walls are strategically placed in the garden for design purposes.
Walkways - The curvature of the walkways offer many views and angles.
Pavilions - There are two pavilion in the garden. One is for the scholar's study and the other provides visual access to various other scenes.
Xie - A Xie is a building one half hovering over a lake. The designs makes it seem that the building is floating in the water.
Bridge - Bridges are often curvy, providing visitors a better view of the surroundings.
Painting and Calligraphy - Paintings and calligraphy represent the garden owner's knowledge of literature and art.
And a little bit about Snug Harbor:
Sailors' Snug Harbor, also known as Sailors Snug Harbor or Snug Harbor Cultural Center and Botanical Garden or referenced informally as Snug Harbor, is a collection of architecturally significant 19th century buildings set in a park located along the Kill Van Kull on the north shore of Staten Island in New York City. It was once a home for aged sailors and is now a 83-acre (340,000 m2) city park. Some of the buildings and the grounds are used by arts organizations under the umbrella of the Snug Harbor Cultural Center and Botanical Garden. Sailors' Snug Harbor includes 26 Greek Revival, Beaux Arts, Italianate and Victorian style buildings. The site is considered Staten Island's "crown jewel" and "an incomparable remnant of New York's 19th-century seafaring past." It is a National Historic Landmark District. (from either wikipedia or Snug Harbor Cultural Center & Botanical Garden)