I enjoyed listening to the series of lectures that explored several different types of gardens and learning about the history behind the gardens in each of the different countries. The topic on gardens was an interesting one to consider in the Human/Nature lecture series as it discusses the manipulations or artificial creations of nature by humans to make it productive or aesthetically pleasing. Among the few lectures that I attended, the lecture by Alison Hardie on “Professional Garden Designers and the Aesthetic Turn in 17th C China,” was something I found interesting and wanted to discuss here.
The lecture focused on the garden designs in 15th century China, the shift in its purpose from productiveness to aesthetics in the 17th century. The style shifted from “massive structures” with large rocks, flowing streams etc, to a more naturalistic style that was more spacious and aesthetically pleasing. It was interesting to learn how the gardening style was influenced by the the social and economic changes that occurred around the 17th century in China.
It was also very interesting to see how similar in the garden structures in China after the shift in the 17th century, and garden structures in Japan were! This led me to think that Japan’s garden designs could have been influenced by the Chinese garden designs.