Useful information

Chinese gardens

When Europeans discovered the gardens of China, they were amazed at their beauty and originality. The Chinese school of gardening art turned out to be completely original, not like everything that people are accustomed to in Europe. The idea of ​​a garden created at the whim and will of man was alien to the Chinese. Trimmed trees and shrubs, sophisticated geometrically correct patterns of flower beds, perfectly flat lawns in European gardens embodied the triumph of man over nature. The Chinese preached something different: for them, nature was the highest value. When creating a man-made landscape, the gardener, according to the Chinese, should try to reproduce nature in its most harmonious manifestations. This view was a real discovery for Europeans. Largely influenced by Chinese gardens in England in the 18th century, a landscape style of garden art was born that seeks to imitate nature. From England, the fashion for natural-style gardens spread throughout Europe and interest in it continues to this day.

Types of gardens

Conventionally, 6 types of Chinese gardens are distinguished - imperial gardens and parks located in northern China, in the suburbs of Beijing, gardens at imperial tombs, temple gardens, gardens of natural landscapes, home gardens and gardens of scientists. However, without going into details, the whole variety of Chinese gardens can be reduced to two main types: imperial and private.

Imperial gardens created artificially: huge hills were poured, reservoirs were built, connected by channels with bridges thrown over them, whole groves of trees were planted. One of the best examples of such gardens is the well-preserved Yiheyuan Park, 12 km from Beijing. The total area of ​​the park is 330 hectares, of which 264 are located on Lake Kunminghu with islands and a dam. This giant lake was created artificially and is the compositional center of the entire palace and park ensemble. The very same Emperor's summer palace with numerous pavilions is located on Mount Wanshouan. The northern slope of the mountain is occupied by a forest, and at its foot there is a stream, the banks of which reproduce the natural landscapes of the southern Chinese provinces.

Unlike the imperial, private gardens, so typical for the south of China, as a rule, did not differ in large size. Usually they tried to "fit" into the existing landscape, only emphasizing the advantages of the natural relief, but not changing it drastically. The area of ​​the city of Suzhou near Shanghai is famous for such gardens. In the gardens of Suzhou (there are now about 60 of them, some of which have existed since the 16th century), there is no official splendor of the imperial parks. The gardens were created here for relaxation, reflection, and intellectual conversations. They are characterized by small lakes with high arched bridges, pavilions with tiled roofs in the form of pagodas, and natural stone compositions. The garden, which was a continuation of the living quarters and separated from the surrounding world by a fence, embodied a special world of peace and quiet, disposed to concentrated contemplation.

Features of the layout and use of the main landscape components

According to the canons of Chinese landscape art, the garden should have been laid out so that at any point in the garden "there was still a view outside of the view." This technique was called "the principle of borrowing the landscape." The nature surrounding the garden seemed to enter it, becoming a part of it. This made it possible to visually expand the boundaries of the garden and give diversity to the opening landscape views.

The scale of the garden does not matter to the Chinese. In their opinion, the main thing in the art of creating a garden is the ability to "see the greatest in the smallest." "A handful of earth and a spoonful of water bring on boundless thoughts," writes one of the Chinese authors, and his words express a truly Chinese understanding of gardening art.

Any garden, even the smallest one, is the embodiment of the image of nature and therefore it must necessarily contain its three main elements - water, stones and plants. Waterorganizes the space of the garden and gives a different character to its individual parts. The smooth surface of the water embodies peace and tranquility, while flowing water is a symbol of life, eternal movement and constant change. The reservoirs in Chinese gardens do not have high banks and artificial lining. The pavilions on the islands were built in such a way that their foundations would occupy almost the entire territory of the island, which gave the impression that they “grow” out of the water and “look into their reflection”.

Another indispensable element of Chinese gardens - stones... It is believed that the stones in the garden balance the elements of nature - water, trees - and the creation of human hands - architectural structures. Sometimes in Chinese gardens, artificial slides made of stones without any vegetation were even arranged. The Chinese treat stones with an unusual appearance and color as masterpieces of nature: they contemplate them, put a hand to them, listen to them.

Very much appreciated by the Chinese and the old centuries-oldtrees... They will definitely become the main attraction of the garden landscape. And the older the tree, the more honor it is surrounded by. Of the trees, the Chinese are especially fond of pine - a symbol of nobility, "trees of happiness" - peach and plum - and, of course, magnolias, camellias, willows, ginkgoes. In almost every Chinese garden, you can find bamboos - a symbol of nobility and vitality.

From flowers the tree-like peony, which earned the title of "king of flowers", was especially worshiped in China. Chrysanthemums, hydrangeas, roses, daffodils were grown everywhere, and lotuses were grown from water flowers. Each noble flower had its own companions from flowers of lower rank. For the royal peony, the best companions were the rose hips and the rose, they tried to plant the plum next to the camellia and magnolia, the chrysanthemum "set off" the begonia. In general, all the plants in the Chinese garden have their own symbolism, therefore, for every Chinese, the meaning of a landscape composition is clear without additional explanations - symbolism is the basis of Chinese culture and even the Chinese way of thinking. A peach expresses a wish for well-being, a pomegranate symbolizes family happiness and procreation, a pine tree - longevity and strength of character, a peony - wealth and nobility, an apple tree - the breadth of the soul.

Usually, corners were created in the garden, intended to be visited at different times of the year. So, in the "winter" landscape there were necessarily pine and plum blossoming at this time, as well as some other early flowering plants. "Spring" landscapes were decorated with sakura, honeysuckle, almonds, violets, daffodils and other plants, the most decorative at this time of the year. Summer flowers and deciduous trees - oak, beech, ash, plane tree - were planted in the "summer corners" of the garden. In the fall, we enjoyed the multicolored maple leaves and the delicate scent of flowering tangerine trees.

The most important principle of the Chinese garden is the harmonious combination of garden landscape and architecture. The lines of the garden buildings repeat the natural lines of the surrounding nature: bridges smoothly bend over the water, the roof slopes of bright gazebos are rounded, and the silhouettes of the pavilions are softly outlined. Curly outlines are given to doorways. Looking into them, you see a beautiful picture in a frame. This is also a kind of "landscape borrowing". Thanks to this technique, the garden seems to enter the house, becoming its integral part. Perhaps this is the main lesson that Chinese gardens teach us: a person should not oppose himself to nature, he should feel like a part of it.