The World in Miniature: Container Gardens and Dwellings in Far Eastern Religious Thought

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Stanford University Press, 1990 - Philosophy - 393 pages
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In this volume of three related essays, the reader will encounter a system of interlocking images and symbols that lies at the core of the Far Eastern view of the universe - a system that informs cosmology, ritual, ethics, aesthetics, and many aspects of everyday life. The first essay, 'miniature Gardens in the Far East', summarizes the complex cultural significance of the gardens of fantastic rocks and dwarfed trees placed in basins, of Chinese origin but transmitted to other Far Eastern cultures. The author demonstrates that these gardens are icons whose components and forms not only symbolize but replicate paradise realms important in ancient Chinese religion and folk beliefs. He shows that by replicating such realms, the gardens both manifest and bestow on their possessor the magical powers associated with them, and he details exactly how the gardens accomplished this. Many subtle mutations of the miniature garden, such as subterranean worlds equipped with their own sun and moon and populated with aspirants of eternity, are revealed.

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