Wednesday, May 18, 2005

Mirei Shigemori : Modernizing the Japanese Garden reviewed in Publishers Weekly

From Publishers Weekly:
Deeply rooted in Japanese tradition, Mirei Shigemori (1896 - 1975) began his study of the tea ceremony and ikebana (the Japanese art of flower arranging) as a teenager. He pursued a career in fine arts and went on to revitalize the practice of Japanese gardening. Shigemori's approach combined 'the garden's religious roots' with 'the consciousness of his own place in history' to create a 'compelling manifesto for continuous cultural renewal.' Tschumi, a landscape architect who has written extensively on Japanese gardens, introduces the master's work to an American audience through an analysis of 10 of Shigemori's finest designs. An informative, meditative introduction sets the tone, followed by chapters devoted to individual gardens in Japan, each one presenting the project's historical context -- often going back centuries or more -- and describing the garden in detail. As readers move from one chapter to the next, insights accumulate. By the thoughtful afterword, serious scholars of Japanese gardening and neophytes alike will find new understanding of the discipline and Shigemori's unique contribution to it. Saito's perceptively framed photographs deepen the experience, providing a view of 'beautiful texture and detailing' that is 'hardly visible to the ordinary garden visitor.' Notes, a time line, a list of contacts, maps of locations and a glossary are helpful starting points for the further study this elegant volume inspires. (Apr.)
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