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Posts Tagged ‘Three Kingdom’

Fully Enjoying the Beauty of Nature

The ancient painting named Guo Country Ladies’ Field Trip in Spring recreates the happy life when Tang Dynasty’s noble ladies played and enjoyed themselves freely in outskirts of the The ancient painting named Guo Country Ladies’ Field Trip in Spring recreates the happy life when Tang Dynasty’s noble ladies played and enjoyed themselves freely in outskirts of the city” width=”90″ height=”67″ />Beginning from the fall of the Eastern Han Dynasty (26-220 A.D.), China entered a period of divided rule and constant fighting among smaller states, which lasted around 300 years. This was a time of great social upheaval. The rise and fall of different states and the succession of dynasties was like a constantly shifting lantern show before the eyes. Normal production was disturbed, the economy came to a standstill, and the population decreased sharply. On the other hand, in the area of ideology, the tradition of Confucianism as the only ruling thought was challenged. Confucianism, Taoism and Buddhism contended for the upper hand on the ideological scene which became much livelier. The unique “Wei and Jin Style” which we can find in the history of China’s culture pertains to the cultural and spiritual characteristics of this period.

During the Wei-Jin and South-North Dynasties (220-586 A.D.), sociopolitical contradictions were very sharp. The social strata of the officials became very disillusioned with their future as officials and with life in general. This gave rise to a philosophy of seeking peace and quiet and doing nothing that goes against nature. It became fashionable to talk idly of metaphysics and other mysterious matters. What is more, in 67 A.D. Buddhism was introduced into China and this exerted a profound influence on the thought of that time. The officials of the time combined the Buddhist and the Taoist escapist altitude, and chose a lifestyle of distancing themselves from the centers of political power, losing themselves in the beauty of nature, and giving no regard to their personal appearance, so that they could both keep out of political trouble and pride themselves in the cultivation of personality. At the same time, a new form of production organization began to develop rapidly from out of the traditional Chinese feudal economic structures-the plantation. This type of self-sufficient economic structure ensured the independence and creativity of the official strata in the realm of ideology and culture.

diflucan buy align=”left”>In addition to fully enjoying walking among natural scenic spots, they also tried to emulate this scenery of forests and hills on the grounds of their own residences to create an idyllic and pastoral atmosphere of nature in the wild that they could enjoy at will. Thus the early stage of the private garden painters- Lucha, Wang Wei`s villa in WangchuanThe famous Tang Dynasty garden recreated by the Qing Dynasty painters- Lucha, Wang Wei`s villa in Wangchuan appeared on the scene. The distinguishing feature of this type of garden was that natural things like hills bodies of water such as ponds and streams, and vegetation made up the main structure of this garden landscaping system. Due to the limitations of geographic, climatic and economic conditions, the practice of using man-made rocks made from materials obtained nearby took place of the practice of building gardens next to large mountains of the Qin and Han dynasties. The plants most commonly used were pine, fir and bamboo. These were selected because they are green all year round, and are also tall and straight, which was used to symbolize the upright character of the owner. In the private gardens of that time, the spatial relationship of objects and plants became even more intricate and exquisite.

Using Luoyang, the capital of Northern Wei (386-584 A.D.) as an example, there were 220 small residential districts and large numbers of private gardens were built within these districts. According to records of the “Luoyang Jialan Records”, at that time Luoyang was rich in hydraulic resources. To take the gardens of the high-ranking official Zhang Lun as example, in his garden you could find lawns and trees and he tried to emulate nature in the wild. There was an imitation of the famous Jing Yang Mountain, the trees were tall enough to block out the heat of the sun, and vines swayed gently with the breezes. We can see that people of that time already knew how to duplicate natural scenery in their own homes. In these gardens not only were there magnificent buildings, but these were ingeniously combined with natural hills and waters to form complete landscapes. This method of utilizing hills and waters in garden construction, and emphasizing the elegance and details of the structure of the buildings, painstakingly selecting trees and plants, and cutting out winding paths leading to beautiful shaded places were exemplary models that garden builders of later times all liked to imitate.

The imperial gardens of this time were primarily built inside the palace grounds of the capital of each state. To take the Three Kingdom Period (220-280 A.D.) as an example, in the capital of the Wei Kingdom Ye Cheng City (the northern part of Anyang, Henan Province today) was built the Bronze Peacock Garden. In Luoyang of Northern Wei was built the Hualin Gardens and the Xiyou Gardens, and in the capital of the Southern Dynasty Jiankang (today Nanjing of Jiangsu Province) was built the Hualin Gardens and the Leyou Gardens. These imperial gardens were comprised mainly of hills, ponds and streams, all kinds of vegetation, and different types of pavilions. They no longer possessed the functions of hunting and merrymaking as imperial gardens of earlier periods did. In the gardens were built small-scale hills symbolic of the five greater mountains, as well as lakes and islets. The buildings and structures were adorned with carved or painted rafters, and had protruding eaves or roof corners that were tilted upwards. Some were built directly on the water, and some were connected by long corridors or bridges. All of this served to enhance the majestic and extravagant style of the imperial gardens built in the midst of natural surroundings.

Simultaneous with the development of the art of garden building during this period was the flourishing of the culture of the literati (intelligentsia and ranked officials) including poetry and literature, calligraphy, painting, music, culinary arts and clothing and jewelry. All of the above was developed to an unprecedented level. People of later times spoke highly of Chinese classic gardens as blending natural scenery together with poetry, calligraphy and painting, and this style of garden construction actually began from this period.

Nine Dragon Pond in Lintong, Shaanxi province - scenic garden built on the original site of Tang Dynasty temporary palaceTogether with the building of Buddhist and Taoist temples all over China was the emergence of many temple gardens, which gradually merged together with imperial gardens and privately-owned gardens. The imperial gardens of this period no longer possessed the splendor of gardens of the Qin and Han period. Chinese gardens beginning from this period discarded the grandiose and large-scale style of earlier periods, and began to develop the small and exquisite style of later times.