The Chinese Garden: History, Art and Architecture

Front Cover
Harvard University Press, 2003 - Architecture - 240 pages
Dense with winding paths, dominated by huge rock piles and buildings squeezed into small spaces, the characteristic Chinese garden is, for many foreigners, so unlike anything else as to be incomprehensible. Only on closer acquaintance does it offer up its mysteries; and such is the achievement of Maggie Keswick's celebrated classic that it affords us--adventurers, armchair travelers, and garden buffs alike--the intimate pleasures of the Chinese garden.

In these richly illustrated pages, Chinese gardens unfold as cosmic diagrams, revealing a profound and ancient view of the world and of humanity's place in it. First sensuous impressions give way to more cerebral delights, and forms conjure unending, increasingly esoteric and mystical layers of meaning for the initiate. Keswick conducts us through the art and architecture, the principles and techniques of Chinese gardens, showing us their long history as the background for a civilization--the settings for China's great poets and painters, the scenes of ribald parties and peaceful contemplation, political intrigues and family festivals.

Updated and expanded in this third edition, with an introduction by Alison Hardie, many new illustrations, and an updated list of gardens in China accessible to visitors, Keswick's engaging work remains unparalleled as an introduction to the Chinese garden.


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The Chinese garden: history, art, and architecture

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The original 1978 edition of Keswick's book was the standard source on Chinese gardens in English, as well as the inspiration for many to journey to China. After Keswick's death in 1995, there was ... Read full review


Introduction by Alison Hardie
Western reactions
The origins of gardens
The gardens of the literati
Architecture in gardens
Flowers trees and herbs
Meanings of the Chinese garden by Charles jencks
List of gardens accessible to visitors in China

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Common terms and phrases

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