Symposium | Asian Gardens in the West

Posted in conferences (to attend) by Editor on September 25, 2015

From the symposium website:

Asian Gardens in the West
Haus der Universität Düsseldorf and Benrath Palace, Düsseldorf, 1–3 October 2015

Organized by the Department of Japanese Studies, University of Düsseldorf, and the Benrath Palace and Park Foundation

Many people in the West believe that Asian gardens are mystic places indicating a very special and subtle understanding of nature and a refined aestheticism. The symposium traces the history of these notions back to the 18th and 19th centuries and shows how Western and Asian pundits, gardeners and officials together created these visions of Asian gardens. We also ask about current trends in building and interpreting Asian gardens in the West.

csm_150730_asiens_gradens_poster_v06_RZ_online_dc927c558eJapanese gardens come to mind as a prime example of Asian gardens in the West as they are one of the strongest symbols for Japan. Their long-lasting fashion started in the second half of the 19th century because Japanese governments used gardens to represent the country at world’s fairs, albeit with no clear comprehension of the concept of a ‘Japanese garden’. Only through the international appreciation did the Japanese begin to fully understand the merit of gardens for self-representation. As a consequence Japanese garden experts created a canonized idea of the aesthetic arrangement of Japanese gardens.

However, Japanese gardens are not the only example of the spatial staging of a national Asian identity. Already in the 18th century, Chinese garden art had become fashionable in Europe. Yet Chinese gardeners and garden experts were only very marginally involved in this vogue. Western garden enthusiasts—mostly aristocrats—built Chinese gardens following accounts of Asia which were written by Jesuits and merchants. In the last three to four decades many Chinese gardens have been built in North America and Europe once again.

As leading Asian countries, China and Japan are role models for self-representation through cultural diplomacy. Thus Chinese and Japanese gardens incite other Asian countries as well as Western garden experts to build Korean, Indonesian and Indian gardens.

◊  ◊  ◊  ◊  ◊

1  O C T O B E R  2 0 1 5

13:30  Introduction

14:00  Address by Vice President for International Relations, Andrea von Hülsen-Esch

14:20  Stefan Schweizer, Gardens and National Stereotypes

15:15  Panel I | China / The Representation of Asian Gardens in Asia
• James Bartos, China, Chinoiserie, and the English Landscape Garden Revisited
• Bianca Maria Rinaldi, The Invention of the Chinese Garden
• Christof Baier, Heritage Gardens: Singapore’s Asian Garden Representation at Gardens by the Bay as Third Space?

2  O C T O B E R  2 0 1 5

9:00  Excursion to the Japanese Garden in Leverkusen

13:30  Panel II | India
• Karin Seeber, Imaginary Gardens: Marie Luise Gothein’s Book on Indian Garden History (1926)
• Henry J. Noltie, The Indian Career of Hugh Cleghorn (1820–1895): Economic Botany and the Transfer of Knowledge through Botanical Gardens

15:30  Panel III | Japanese Gardens
• Wybe Kuitert, Context and Praxis: Thoughts on Japan and Gardens
• Tagsold, Christian, Japanese Gardens Unleashed: From Miniatures to Advertising

19:30  Keynote Lecture
John Dixon Hunt, Questions of Authenticity

3  O C T O B E R  2 0 1 5

10:00  Panel IV | Representing Japanese Gardens
• Katahira Miyuki, Constructing the Image of Japanese Gardens: 
Analysis of the Discourse on Japanese Gardens in Japan and the West
• Elisabeth Scherer, Elaborate ‘Contact Spaces’: Staging Japanese gardens for Cinema

12:00 Final discussion

Abstracts are available here»

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