December 2, 2005

Thursday Travesty or Triumph V

(So its Friday... and I'm a bit late.) The pre-Thanksgiving Travesty or Triumph (Bomarzo, which you can view by scrolling down a wee) netted only one vote, for Triumph; I was a bit surprised that there was only one vote, as I thought it could easily go either way, but perhaps you (loyal reader) were taking a pre-Thanksgiving break from the internet. If you were, I commend you. (Aside: Are you new to Thursday Travesty or Triumph? Read about it here and feel free to comment or not comment)

I'm keeping Thursday Travesty or Triumph short this week, but I think that's in the spirit of this week's design, Ryoan-Ji. I think your opinion on it will probably depend on what you think of minimalism.
Panoramic of Ryoan-Ji

That's the basic composition of Ryoan-Ji. Ryoan-Ji is generally considered the most famous Zen Buddhist garden in Japan. It was built during the Muromachi period, probably in the late 1480s; however, there is some dispute as to whether its original design was as austere as its current incarnation. Some hold that it originally included plantings (I've heard that cherry trees are the most likely original plantings, but that's hearsay), but most people agree that the current incarnation is a more pure expression of the principles of Muromachi period Zen design than any imaginable version including plantings. I suppose it could probably be considered a good example of how things can improve over time even as the original design is lost.

The garden is composed of raked gravel and fifteen moss-covered boulders, arranged so that, from any given point within the garden space, at least one boulder is always hidden from view. The are is approximately thirty by eighty feet; it is located on the south side of a Buddhist temple. On the north side of the garden is a long veranda from which the garden is viewed, while the walls on the other sides frame the borrowed views of surrounding landscape (which are probably a large part of why the austerity of the gravelscape is successful -- if you think it is successful).

The extended entry contains several more images of Ryoan-Ji.



Here you see visitors (Westerners!) sitting in the veranda.


Posted by eatingbark at December 2, 2005 4:38 PM

I viewed this garden in person less than 1 week ago, Saturday April 3rd, 2010. It is one of the most beautiful things I have ever seen.

Just as a painting may move you, this is a 3 dimensional immersion into what felt like perfect balance.

Being in it's presence makes you realize why it is acknowledged as a true masterpiece!

Posted by: I Daniels at April 9, 2010 3:47 AM
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