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Serenity in Stone and Sand: Karesansui Gardens of Japan

Evening Seminar

Evening Lecture/Seminar

Thursday, January 15, 2015 - 6:45 p.m. to 8:45 p.m. ET
Code: 1W0036
S. Dillon Ripley Center
1100 Jefferson Drive, SW
Metro: Smithsonian Mall Exit (Blue/Orange)
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Filled with deep symbolism and planned as spaces of calm and reflection, karesansui gardens hold a special place among Japan’s landscaping traditions. Sand and stone play key roles in the deliberately limited range of natural elements from which these gardens are traditionally designed, and their interplay with wood and plants produces spaces of spare but eloquent beauty.

Landscape architect and author Marc Peter Keane, a specialist in the gardens of Japan, leads an exploration of karesansui gardens, tracing their origins, traditions, and cultural and spiritual importance. He moves from the genre’s roots in sacred stones (iwakura) to early-stage karesansui gardens of the Kamakura period (1185­­–1333) into the highly stylized gardens seen in Japan today. He discusses the meaning of these gardens, and how they are—and are not—related to Zen Buddhism.

Keane also covers his own work designing contemporary karesansui gardens, including the Spiral Garden built in a 17th-century residence in Kyoto Prefecture (a designated cultural property); the Tiger Glen Garden at the Johnson Museum of Art in Ithaca, New York; the Forest-Ocean Garden in Irvington, New York; and the Garden of the Mountain Spring in Beirut, Lebanon.

Keane is the author of books including The Japanese Garden and The Japanese Tea Garden.

Other Connections

View Marc Peter Keane’s Spiral Garden, a contemporary contemplation garden set in Kyoto City’s oldest extant residence.