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garden-making is high art

Ryoan-ji - dry zen garden

Stone garden in the karesansui style at Ryōan-ji.

Karesansui Gardens or “dry landscape” gardens were influenced mainly by Zen Buddhism and can be found at Zen temples of meditation.

In Japanese culture, garden-making is a high art, intimately related to the linked arts of calligraphy and ink painting.



Unlike other traditional gardens, there is no water present in Karesansui gardens.  However, there is raked gravel or sand that simulates the feeling of water.

The rocks/gravel used are chosen for their artistic shapes, and mosses as well as small shrubs are used to further garnish the Karesansui style (Japanese Lifestyle).

All in all, the rocks and moss are used to represent ponds, islands, boats, seas, rivers, and mountains in an abstract way.  Ryoan-ji, temple in Kyoto, has a garden famous for representing this style.  Daisen-in, created in 1513, is also particularly renowned.

adapted from

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