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Context & Praxis: Japan and Designing Gardens in the West


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Garden making is an applied art with a praxis that highly depends upon its topographical context. Speaking about Japanese gardens in the West it is always ‘us’ that define ourselves better, by using imagery of them, the Japanese. To sort out how context and praxis function in mechanisms of defining ourselves, this paper introduces two case studies on Japan and gardens in the West. Part one discusses how William Temple, a seventeenth century English politician and essayist, managed to define a deviating style in an unusual corner of his estate Moor Park. Though it was only an experimental piece of garden architecture, it set a trend because of his accompanying essay on gardening, leading to the English landscape garden as a national ideal. Temple, in the midst of an England defining itself, proposed a certain Englishness by positioning it against France and Holland on the continent, all helped by the aesthetics of the Far East, of Japan. The case historically demonstrates the first contextual influence - flimsy but epoch-making - of a Japanese aesthetic discourse on taste in European gardens. Part two discusses the Von Siebold Memorial Garden in Leiden, Netherlands. It is the other end of the story as we know it today; the garden is recent and designed by myself. By literally borrowing from Japanese praxis and context, within the physical context of the Leiden University, it claims certain parts of world history for the definition of this proud institution, the oldest extant university in the Netherlands. Also, because of my own involvement, first hand sources are available and give an opportunity to evaluate its supposed authenticity as a Japanese Garden.
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Figure 1: Huygens’ summer house Hofwijck was set in a geometric garden plan. The planting beds, however, were planted like in an Italian bosco, leading to picturesque
scenery, as discovered by Constantijn Jr.; drawing c.1660 by Constantijn Huygens Jr. from: Ton van Strien en Willemien B. de Vries: Huygens’ Hofwijck band 2, deel 3,
Amsterdam 2008, p. 238.
W K
Context & Praxis:
Japan and Designing Gardens in West
ings, the soil, the possibilities for planting or water, and other physical
things. is is referred to below as dispositions of nature, as it was
called by William Temple. e other end of the context is human:
it is cultural, social, nancial, or whatever else humans can think of,
below discussed under the heading fancy or contrivance, again bor-
rowing words from Temple. Within these two ends, that at times may
seem extremes, the garden comes about, designed and made by other
humans, again with their contexts. e mind of a designer is chaotic,
reective, multi-dimensional, and associative when puing things
together; it is not logical or well-organized. It follows that a garden can
be a multi-faceed piece of art, though in the end always an applied
art. at is why praxis typically develops in a certain geographical
region within a certain cultural context.
William Temple’s Sharawadgi garden
At the origin of a voluminous discourse on the English landscape gar-
den and its picturesque taste stands an essay by statesman and essay-
ist Sir William Temple (1628–1699).
His essay contains the cryptic
that dened irregularity as something opposed to
the prevailing geometry and symmetry in garden design of his times.
Striking are his eorts to design a small part of his estate on purpose in
an irregular fashion, ignoring the rigid frames of geometry. As a result
of this design and his introducing the concept of irregularity, Tem-
ple is considered to be the originator of the English landscape garden
movement. In his essay we nd the clues to a context of
in the lands of its origin, Japan, as well as the context of a practice of
landscape design in continental Europe, more precisely France and
England had its own tradition of garden writing, and Temple
builds upon this with an even wider view. A close gardening friend
of his was the Dutch state secretary, diplomat and poet Constantijn
Huygens (1596–1687), Temple’s senior by more than thirty years and
host to his English guest on many occasions.
Huygens saw his garden
Garden making is an applied art with a praxis that highly depends
upon its context. Speaking about Japanese gardens in the West we get
inevitably into a confused and complex arena, as we are talking about
established ways of doing things in the West as well as in Japan, not to
mention well-developed and diering contexts on both sides. None-
theless – and already for centuries – it is not possible to see the West
as something completely separated from Japan, as exchange of infor-
mation is inuencing contexts mutually, in addition inuencing each
other’s praxis, or ways of gardening. However, in the end it is always
‘us’ that dene ourselves beer, by using imagery of them, the Jap-
To sort out how context and praxis function in mechanisms
of dening ourselves, this paper introduces two case studies on Japan
and gardens in the West.
Part one discusses how William Temple, a seventeenth century
English politician and essayist, managed to dene a deviating style
in an unusual corner of his estate Moor Park. ough it was only an
experimental piece of garden architecture, it set a trend because of his
accompanying essay on gardening, leading to the English landscape
garden as a national ideal. Temple, in the midst of an England dening
itself, proposed a certain Englishness by positioning it against France
and Holland on the continent, all helped by the aesthetics of the Far
East, of Japan. e case historically demonstrates the rst contextual
inuence – imsy but epoch-making of a Japanese aesthetic dis-
course on taste in European gardens.
Part two discusses the Von Siebold Memorial Garden in Leiden,
Netherlands. It is the other end of the story as we know it today; the
garden is recent and designed by myself. By literally borrowing from
Japanese praxis
context, within the physical context of the Leiden
University, it claims certain parts of world history for the denition of
this proud institution, the oldest extant university in the Netherlands.
Also, because of my own involvement, rst hand sources are available
and give an opportunity to evaluate its supposed authenticity as a Jap-
anese Garden.
For readers not familiar with garden art it is important to under-
stand that the context of a garden moves between two antagonis-
tic spheres. One end is the site itself, dened by material surround-
at Hofwijck, his summer house in Voorburg close to e Hague, as the
embodiment of a comprehensive philosophy explained in his exten-
sive poem
published 1653. Both garden and poem intended
to frame the irregularities the poet/gardener observed in human life
as well as in free natural growth in classic, geometric frames. In his
garden plan Huygens invented perhaps the most literal application of
symmetry and geometry in Vitruvian order in all of Europe’s archi-
tecture to that time. e design of his planting beds, canals, and gar-
den paths relied on dimensions derived directly from the greatest
work of art: the human body, like Vitruvius had proposed. However,
Huygens also understood that trees do not grow in squares and such
golden proportions. e drawing of his son Constantijn Jr expresses
this even beer than the words of the poem on his garden. ere is
nothing Vitruvian about this ink sketch – it is fully picturesque. (Fig-
ure 1) e drawing is dated c.1660, which makes it one of the earli-
est picturesque expressions in garden representation in North-Euro-
pean history. Huygens, always contemplating the things he observed
around him, was a literary master when elaborating on perceptions. In
his poem he accommodated the two opposites of Vitruvian order and
the irregular picturesque by pointing to the Japanese robe, which has
an irregular design on the symmetry of the sheets of its cloth – similar
to Huygens’s symmetric parcels cut from the swampy soil of Holland
on which his trees grew freely in irregular forms.
William Temple was an English ambassador in e Hague, a reg-
ular visitor to Hofwijck, and was of the generation of Huygens’s sons.
Temple in turn could elevate the appreciation of irregularity in the gar-
den to a personal judgment, a taste for which he introduced his
. He picked up the Japanese word from a conversation he had in
Holland with a merchant in the circles of Huygens, who had brought
back a set of fabulous lacquer chests.
(Figure 2) ese chests show
irregular and picturesque scenery, the landscapes of Japan through
which merchants, like Temple’s informant, had traveled. For centuries
representation in lacquer ware in Japan had always referred to estab-
lished emblematic iconography derived from classic literature. For the
Japanese lacquer crasmen the
of these chests was about the
novel aesthetics of showing a real, existing landscape – moreover with
exotic, foreign travelers.
Dispositions of Nature
A few years aer Temple’s essay was published, a picture appeared of
Temple’s country seat Moor Park; it is a water color aributed to the
Dutchman Johannes Kip (1652 or 1653–1722). It shows the house
set in formal squares and rectangles of a main garden that is com-
pletely within the established paerns of praxis of his times. However,
in this drawing, prominently in the foreground on the le, an idiosyn-
cratic design features in the lower part of the garden with purposeful
serpentine lines for the design of paths and waterways. (Figure 3)
Topography and taste form the seing for this idea, and are the
major clues by which it can be fully understood. Returning to taste in
the next section, here we will discuss topography, the disposition of
nature found on the estate, in Temple’s words ‘dispositions of Nature
in the Seat’. As inspiration for irregularity in garden design, Temple
speaks of something ‘I have seen in some places’. One place where he
saw irregular gardens was Holland. During Temple’s stay in e Hague
he became good friends with Constantijn Huygens, who had grasped
the irregular growth of the trees in his geometric garden with the anal-
ogy of a Japanese robe. e discourse with Huygens’ other garden
friend Westerbaen had opened the appreciation of irregular beauty of
natural topography, without any architectural intervention in the land-
scape of the hilly dunes close to e Hague.
Nature had been even
more purposefully exploited in the garden Sorgvliet, again set in the
sandy dune hills. is old and respectable country seat was owned in
these days by William Bentinck, much admired by Temple. Bentinck
was a loyal assistant to William III, who became King of England aer
the Glorious Revolution.
In Holland, Bentinck enjoyed a lile natu-
ral stream at the back of his estate and wrote: ‘e most beautiful and
rarest sight in Holland is to have a lively rivulet. One should let this
run its own natural course ... crooked as it may be, since straight lines
are not always pleasant.
A look at a popular print of Sorgvliet shows
the parallel with Moor Park. Bentinck too had a natural stream touch-
ing upon the corners of his geometrical garden. In the print we see it
represented in the far distance and once again in the foreground of
the same lower le hand side. (Figure 4) A circular open space, sur-
rounded by a high planting screen, gives a sight over the stream that
runs towards the viewer of the print within a straight valley, before
entering its natural course. Speaking from topography, it must have
been an almost impossible task for the gardeners to keep the stream
running straight in the so sand of the dunes, as from nature it would
be meandering to follow its natural course – hence Bentinck’s words.
He too, like Huygens, had discovered that nature is not always to be
forced into the geometric. e print of Sorgvliet is similar to the pic-
ture of Temple’s Moor Park, where the stream is even more expres-
sive in its bends with winding paths and more round spaces added
here and there. e most prominent round in the foreground echoes
the round space in the Sorgvliet print and is a circular water basin in
Moor Park. Temples small irregular garden found many followers in
England in the decades aer his discovery.
And Bentinck’s Sorgvliet
was valued later as an English garden on the continent by German vis-
itors in the 18th century.
Temple’s garden stream enhanced the beauty of the undulat-
ing natural landscape in a studied fashion with contrived bends and
curves that typied his garden paths as well. Speaking from the land-
scape situation it is the valley oor of the meandering river Wey that
touched upon the edge of his formal garden. We can imagine it as a
valley meadow with a lot of reed sweet-grass and meadow-sweet, at
about breast height in summer, indicated quite precisely as if it was
well maintained by clipping gardeners who also kept winding
paths open.
is non-geometric
garden echoed Tem-
ple’s endeavor to advertise landscape beauty in irregularity. With
help of Huygens and his sons, Temple could nd an opening in the
rigid prescriptions of classical garden design, proposing irregularity
as a quality of a garden landscape. In his essay he phrases his depar-
ture from geometric gardens, ‘in some sort regular,as follows: ‘W hat
I have said of the best Forms of Gardens, is meant only of such as are
in some sort regular; for there may be other Forms wholly irregular,
that may, for ought I know, have more Beauty than any of the others;
Opposite page:
Figure 2: Lacquer ware chests were brought from Japan together with the
aesthetics of shara’aji. Topographical landscapes depicted on it show irregularity;
Collection Intendance der Koninklijke Paleizen; from Yvan Trousselle: La voie du
imari: l’aventure des porcelaines à l’ époque Edo, Paris 2008, p.113, detail.
but they must owe it to some extraordinary dispositions of Nature in
the Seat ...’ Temple’s discovery is very clear: Gardens showing beauty
in irregularity owe this to extraordinary dispositions of nature, the
natural landscape or topography of one’s estate.
Fancy or Contrivance
Strikingly, Temple not only enters natural topography, but also will-
ful design, a purpose of the garden maker, as his quote continues
explaining that beauty in irregularity may also stem from ‘some great
of Fancy or Judgment in the Contrivance .... He had heard
about it from others who had returned from the Far East where ways
of thinking of people seem ‘... to lie as wide of ours in Europe, as their
Country does. Among us, the Beauty of Building and Planting is
placed chiey, in some certain Proportions, Symmetries, or Uniformi-
ties; our Walks and our Trees ranged so, as to answer one another, and
at exact Distances.’ e people in the Far East ‘scorn this way of Plant-
ing ... their greatest Reach of Imagination, is employed in contriving
Figures, where the Beauty shall be great, and strik the Eye, but with-
out any order or disposition of parts, that shall be commonly or eas-
Figure 3: William Temple’s country seat at Moor Park; section from a bird’s eye watercolor painting (1690s) attributed to Johannes Kip; Collection Surrey County
Council, here from Wybe Kuitert 2013, p.171 and Plate VI, detail.
Figure 4: Section from a print showing the country seat of Sorgvliet; General Gesigt van het Schone Perk van Sorgvliet by Johannes Jacobsz van den Aveele (1650-
1712), published by Johannes Covens en Cornelis Mortier Amsterdam 1690s, detail.
ily observ’d.’ Although we, in England, hardly have any notion about
such beauty in irregularity they, over there, have ‘a particular Word to
express it; and where they nd it hit their Eye at rst sight, they say the
is ne or is admirable, or any such expression of Esteem.
And whoever observes the Work upon the best Indian Gowns, or the
Painting upon their best Skreens or Purcellans, will nd their Beauty is
all of this kind (that is) without order.
Temple does not use his
as a term pertaining to gardens, it is a term used to appreciate
contrivance and beauty on works of applied arts, like gowns, lacquer
screens, and porcelain. e term
in modern romaniza-
, is still used for design in Japanese robes today. Japanese
robes, called
Japonsche rock
in Dutch or ‘Indian gown’ in English,
form in fact a clue in understanding Temples courage to come up with
new ideas on beauty. It is demonstrated in the portraits of Temple and
Christiaan, another son of Huygens. Both young men are dressed in
the same fashionable, Japanese robe.
e background to these por-
traits, as was usual at the time, relates to the intellectual and spiritual
spheres of the siers: a garden scene with a classic statue in the case of
Huygens’s son, picturesque scenery for Temple. (Figure 5)
e role of
as an inspiration to design, however, was
modest in establishing the picturesque, romanticism and the English
landscape garden. Not only Japanese, or Far Eastern arts in general,
but also many other developments within England and on the con-
tinent as well, were far more instrumental. A glimpse of this is seen
in another comment by Temple’s spokesmen of the East that disap-
prove of geometric planting and ‘... say a Boy that can tell an hundred,
may plant Walks of Trees in strait Lines, and over against one another,
and to what Length and Extent He pleases’. e Boy clearly refers to
Louis XIV who reputedly was not very good in reading and writing
as nobody ever had taken the trouble to teach him properly. Now,
this poorly educated ‘Boy’ was planting kilometers of trees in straight
lines in his Versailles. What a childish way of doing things, an Eng-
lisman of taste can do beer than that! Temple’s was a cunning under-
statement, but Versailles was overtly criticized by others, for example
by the German gardener Georg Meister: ‘Kein Zweiel ist, daß der
izige Französische Tyrann sein Versailles mit seinen auch der Natur
abgenöthigten Wunder-Gärten aller Welt fürgehen und sie prächtig-
sten haben wollen’.
e geometry of France and the discourse of the
Dutch helped Temple to discover, appreciate, and dene irregularity,
while his grasp from Far eastern art was that irregularity could give
spectacular scenery and could be even elevated to the level of a the-
ory on taste.
Figure 5: William Temple and Christiaan Huygens shown in the same Japanese robe; portrait left dated 1675, Collection National Portrait Gallery , London, here from
Kuitert 2013, Plate IV, detail; portrait right dated c.1671, Collection Haags Historisch Museum, The Hague, here from Kuitert 2013, Plate V, detail; both portraits by
Caspar Netscher.
The Chinese or the Japanese, setting a perception
Today, China and Japan are two proud nations with South Korea
joining in, and when it comes to gardens, feelings of competition, if
not nationalism may arise. In Temples days, notions of ethnicity and
nation were usually not precisely dened, certainly so when talking
about the Far East. Spectacular works of art came in by ship from
the Far East, referred to as the Indies, and were oen collected in an
Indian cabinet, a separate room for display of Chinese, Japanese, or
other Far Eastern works of art.
In the above section I wrote ‘peo-
ple of the Far East’ whereas Temple speaks of the
(sic) that
speak of the aesthetics of irregularity as
, claiming a Jap-
anese term for the Chinese. At supercial and rst sight, it seems
that China can be taken as a vague nominator for these people liv-
ing far away in the Far East, where in the best case Japan is under-
stood as some peripheral region at the edge of great China. Indeed
Temple himself was perhaps the most enthusiastic secondary writer
on China in the seventeenth century and never mentions Japan in a
positive sense.
However, there is a straightforward and simple rea-
son that makes Temple to refer to the Chinese in his quote on irreg-
ularity. e set of Japanese lacquer chests that had carried the word
to the circles of Huygens, came in the possession of King
William III, only a few years before Temple wrote his essay.
In the
very same year of his writing, quite surprisingly, Queen Mary had
received a leer from the Chinese Emperor, who was furious about
her having cut up a lacquer screen from his country, thus spoiling
the whole iconographical meaning of this fabulous piece of art. e
leer was in fact a burlesque by Constantijn Huygens himself.
a late Northern renaissance intellectual he was more than familiar
with the emblematic in art and obviously, as the leer proves, under-
stood the emblematic function of
in Japanese lacquer
ware precisely. Huygens poses not as the Japanese, but as the Chi-
nese Emperor for obvious reasons. Political power in seventeenth
century Japan was not assigned to the emperor, acting only as a spir-
itual leader referred to as Dairo, or Dairi by the Dutch, whereas the
shogun of the new Tokugawa dynasty with his group of elders was
the de facto leader. Into such details, Japan was only in the picture
of a select group of informed travelers, authors, and readers. On the
contrary there was much admiration among philosophers and men
of state in wider Europe for Chinese statesmanship and Confucian-
ism, fuelled by reports of Jesuit missionaries in China like Maeo
Ricci, and in England by secondary writers as Francis Bacon, Walter
Raleigh, Robert Burton, John Webb, and William Temple.
Seen in this light it is not a surprise that Temple introduces the
as a Chinese concept. e question of Chinese
or Japanese plays on in the following history of oriental garden inspi-
rations such as the Japanese House at Sansoucci. Japan, being closed
for trade with foreign nations apart from Koreans, Chinese, and Dutch
fades out of focus in the course of the eighteenth century and the taste
for Chinoiserie is a story relating to the Chinese nation.
In late nine-
teenth century Japanese gardens one notices the Chinese style red
bridges, actually inspired by the Sacred Bridge of Nikko.
e boom
line is perhaps that for us in Europe it does not maer so much when
it comes to dening works of art in our context.
The Von Siebold Memorial Garden
Temple’s Moor Park does not exist any longer, and there is perhaps not
much more than the owners’ writing and the illustration given here,
when it comes to the practical reality of Temple’s garden making. e
design and construction process of the Von Siebold Memorial Gar-
den in Leiden, Netherlands, carries no such secrets. Its context is mul-
tiple and complex, and may give some insight into motivations and
workings of praxis and context of Japanese gardens in the West more
in general. e small garden was constructed in the botanic garden of
Leiden University, the Hortus Botanicus, on the occasion of its 400
years anniversary. It was also close to commemorating four centuries
of Japan-Netherlands relations and it seemed t to commemorate one
of the main actors in these relations, the German Dr. Philip Franz Von
Siebold. Plans were underway to establish a specialized museum for
him, departing from his collections held by the National Museum of
Ethnology in Leiden.
e memorial garden project was supported in
various ways by the Netherlands' government, the Embassy of Japan,
and local Japanese and Dutch businesses. Construction of the Von
Siebold Memorial Garden was carried out in the years between 1987
and 1990.
e commission by the Clusius Foundation that was in charge,
was not much more than a simple oral message to design ‘a Shinto
shrine, or something like that’ for the Von Siebold bust that had been
commemorating the German plant hunter ever since 1932 when the
bust had been placed in a planting bed together with plants originally
introduced by Von Siebold. e plants had been growing ever since,
and as keeping the natural habitus of each species was a major point
in the management of the Hortus, it had become quite a jungle. ere
were no objections in redoing the whole planting scheme, but some
specimens were really good and were taken up in the new design. e
bust though had to be placed in a more prominent position, but put-
ting it under a red Shinto
gate simply would not be satisfactory.
Matching the western statue in a pleasing way to some kind of Japa-
nese garden architecture formed the core of the problem the designer
had to solve. (Figure 6)
Dispositions of Nature
e Hortus Botanicus of Leiden University was laid out along one of
the branches of the old Roman period River Rhine. Speaking from
the geology therefore, the site is dened by the clay and loam of
river washes with added soil formation through centuries of human
activities. e river geology speaks through the healthy and enor-
tree on the site that dates from the early years of Sie-
bold’s introductions. is elm-family species is found in Japan in allu-
vial landscapes where subsoil water benets its healthy growth, as it
does in Leiden. ough the Hortus gardeners worried that their pre-
specimen might suer from the garden building activ-
ities, it actually proted. In its natural habitat too, it can take ooding
and seems to have advantage of the accompanying dynamics of water
and soil being moved in the root region. Aer the garden was built we
made a hundred holes in the ground around Von Siebold’s
ese were one meter deep and made with the hand soil drill to aerate
the soil that was compacted aer the works. With its roots activated,
Figure 6: Early design sketches for the Von Siebold Memorial garden turn to the problem of matching a Western piece of sculpture to the natural surroundings of a
garden. Sketches by Wybe Kuitert, January 1987.
Figure 7: The Von Siebold Memorial Garden blends in with the park-like landscape and buildings of the Hortus Botanicus along the water, a branch of the former River
Rhine. In the middle of the picture, the Zelkova can be made out; from Google Earth, retrieved winter 2013-2014.
rewarded the gardener’s work generously with healthy
fresh spring foliage more than ever before in the following year. At the
foot of the tree, a double, wide gravel pathway was made as part of the
garden design; in a way it also reads as gravel wash in the river bed and
reminds of the Kamogawa river bed in Kyoto, where
trees are
found along the gravel beds of this stream. (Figure 7)
Another major site concern was the situation of the Hortus where
buildings and glass houses are found in a park-like seing. To enforce
this idea, wall and pavilion of the Memorial Garden were located to
the side of the glass houses, so that the green half of the Garden joined
the lawns and specimen trees in the park-like southern half of the
Hortus. is southern end of the Garden has several of Von Siebold’s
introductions, some under management, such as the hedge in
lium racemosum
. At the northern end, incoming sunlight would fall
on the lile pavilion, with an added eect of oncoming light when sit-
ting in it viewing the Garden. e sunlight, being a body-warmer for
the visitor taking a rest in spring or autumn, also shrouds the main
parts of the garden in rays of diuse, oncoming light. Using this light
in the design, stones, ferns and moss are backlit. Placed in the shadow
of Von Siebold’s
that is in view from the pavilion, depth is
enhanced. Today, overgrown over the years, this illusion has gone.
Fancy or Contrivance
Dr. Philip Franz Von Siebold was a German doctor in service of the
Dutch East India Company and traveled two times to Japan. He stud-
ied the local ora and fauna, as well as the way Japanese people lived
and worked. At the same time he taught Western medicine to Japa-
nese students. He devoted a great deal of his time to research on
Japanese plants, and introduced numerous horticultural species to
Europe; many became successful garden plants in the West. Aer his
rst trip Von Siebold returned to Europe in 1830, seling in Leiden.
Some specimens of the plants he brought back from Japan are still
growing in the Botanic Garden today, like Japanese wisteria,
olepis umbellata
, Japanese maple, and a Japanese horse
chestnut; the
discussed here is one of the more spectacular
of these so-called ‘Von Siebold plants’. In addition the Leiden Neth-
erlands Herbarium
holds a large collection of herbarium
sheets with plants collected by Von Siebold in Japan.
While in Japan, Von Siebold was stationed in Dejima, a small
man-made island in the bay of Nagasaki, assigned to the Dutch East
India Company sta on their mission of trade with the country that
was otherwise closed to Europeans. (Figure 8) Legend has it that Von
Siebold’s German tongue was explained away as ‘
Dutch spoken in the mountains of Holland. It speaks of the enterpris-
ing spirit of the young Von Siebold that he managed to set up a sec-
ond residence on the mainland, at the outskirts of Nagasaki, a place he
used as garden, class room, and oce for his research. e walled-in
world of Nagasaki had several small gardens where not only things for
the kitchen were grown, but also various ornamental plants.
is idea of a narrow walled-in world plays on in Leiden where the
garden is hidden behind a Japanese traditional mud wall covered with
roof tiles imported from Mikawa in Japan. e wall has a red color that
was in the beginning heavily criticized by some Japanese living in the
Netherlands who argued that it should be white, which they thought
was the proper color for a Japanese wall. Surprisingly, such essential-
ist experts came up, as if any Japanese, simply by the fact of being Jap-
anese was automatically an expert in garden walls. Actually, perhaps
not even half of the mud walls in Japan is white; many other colors
can be found, such as the deep red of the wall in Leiden. It calls tradi-
tional teahouses to the mind that have such red colored walls, not nec-
essarily garden walls, but also interior walls of parlor rooms, and the
like. Nagasaki’s most famous teahouse Kagetsu has deep-ochre yellow
walls, and at rst I had this color in mind. I let the contractor for the
wall make several samples as options to choose from, like the red and
yellow. Indeed a similar yellow color is found on some older buildings
in Leiden city, but it did not match very well with the bright green of
the lawns of the Hortus. Brown reddish (
ben' gara
in Japanese) was
a much more aesthetically pleasing option, something that was clear
soon by trying out the color samples in the Hortus at various weather,
light, and lawn maintenance conditions. ough the wall looks like a
mud wall, it is in reality a hollow wall made in typically Dutch brick,
Figure 8: The Dutch, and Von Siebold had a lot of time to study and relax in their confined world on the island of Dejima. Several small gardens were planted with
ornamental plants; from a copy of a scroll by Ichujin Tō: The Lodging of the Red Haired Barbarians 1782; collection Tokyo University, Institute for Historiography, detail.
challenging the brick layers to induce a subtle sink in the longest rid-
geline, so that the wall does not look too sti.
at worked. e sink
is from the outside of the garden enforced by a brick foot path for
which the typical small-sized Leiden red brick is used.
It was foreseen that one would enter the garden between the two
wall sections, but the management of the Hortus felt the garden too
precious to be fully entered by the public who would be siing on the
rocks rather than contemplating them, and this entrance was closed
o by a bamboo stake. From this proper entrance, one has the
in full sight. (Figure 9) A dry waterfall expressed in rocks and white
gravel can be seen to the le when enter-
ing; it symbolically ows as a stream towards
a gravel sea with islands. Here a clear piece
of Japanese garden praxis, the so-called dry
landscape style or
is employed.
In Japan it is only meant to look at, but here
the style is reinterpreted and functions as a
fully traditional Dutch gravel path to walk on,
opening up the possibility to play with sym-
bolism all the same.
e whole arrangement
intends to symbolize Von Siebold’s danger-
ous sea voyages to Japan to which the visitor
is joined by walking over the ‘seas’ towards
the small pavilion. e islands were meant
to be in the shape of Japan in an abbreviated
form; Honsh and Kysh can be made out
in the design drawing. While working on
the ground work it was immediately clear
that this was too ambitious, given the rela-
tive small size of the islands and in realization
these became even simpler in outline.
A Japanese Garden is born
In the summer of 1989, when the wall was
under construction the time was right to do
the seing of the stones. In this part of the
project I got help from Makoto Nakamura,
Hiromasa Amasaki,
and Hiraoka Naoki.
It was the technical skill of Amasaki – with
his Japanese
shoes soon called ‘the
stone master’ by the Dutch workers on site
– that helped us in creating a good sugges-
tion of a waterfall landscape. Other rockwork
was done by Nakamura and me; Hiraoka
was helping in a general way. As rocks we
could use the beautifully withered ones that
I could get from the Swedish Agricultural
University’s experimental station at Tagel,
where I went up for selection with Amasaki.
Another set of rocks came from the Dutch
Water Board emergency stock piles at Neeltje
Jans in southern Holland, where I selected
another truckload together with Nakamura
and Hiraoka. e presence of three real Jap-
anese working on the mystical magic of nat-
Figure 9: Design for the Von Siebold Memorial Garden; Wybe Kuitert, April 1, 1987
Figure 10: One of the first sketches for the pavilion of the Von Siebold Memorial garden had a plaque reading
kōkai , ‘navigating the sea’; sketch Wybe Kuitert, January 1987.
ural rocks contributed greatly to the ‘authenticity’ of the project and
the only journalists that I have seen on the job site were there dur-
ing the rockwork. Commemorating the Japanese connections of Von
Siebold was done more than enough with the gravel and rock land-
scape within the wall and from the very start I did not want to intro-
duce a stone lantern. Such an object would be a kitschy claim to an
easy kind of Japanese-ness. But a generous donation by the then for-
eign minister Tar Nakayama for the placing of a stone lantern could
not be ignored, both from a political and a purely human point of
view. Nakayama, himself with a PhD in medicine, admired Von Sie-
bold who laid the foundation for modern Western medicine in Japan.
Nakayama’s wife is from Sakai, a city that had open trade with the Por-
tuguese before the Dutch came in. It le a legacy of Christianity, later
forbidden by the central government. With such thoughts in mind I
selected a replica of a historic Sakai lantern. It is a so-called Christian
lantern supposedly used by hidden Christians as cross, whereas the
small human gure on the pedestal is supposed to represent Maria.
Both side stones can be taken o, belying the cross, whereas heaping
up some soil can disguise Maria when police would come in to check
on hidden Christianity in later history.
Whatever the deeper emo-
tions might be though, with its stone lantern the Von Siebold Memo-
rial Garden was promoted, as it were, to become a real, authentic Jap-
anese garden, though never commissioned or designed as such.
Aer the garden was nished the Hortus sta was very pleased and
prepared an explanatory booklet. Although I was supposed to be the
author, many felt responsible and added more texts or even illustra-
tions, some quite essentialist, such as a picture numbering the stones
in the waterfall. e booklet is signicant as it dened the position of
the Von Siebold Memorial Garden as
garden. It was a pro-
motional decision taken by the Hortus Botanicus that was later made
widely public through a publication by the Dutch Royal Society for
Horticulture and Botany.
And as any work of art should be open and
free to interpretation, I did not meddle with these opinions.
The Memorial
Visitors walking on the gravel arrive at the stepping stones, the ‘land-
ing’ in front of the arbor. is lile pavilion can be seen as a vehi-
cle for transport of memories, or the physical boat that transferred
Von Siebold. (Figure 10) e carpentry work was drawn in techni-
cal detail aer my design by a draughtsman and it was built by able
carpenters, one of them a furniture maker. All joints are without vis-
ible nails and done in Western Red Cedar, as a replacement for Japa-
wood with a tropical hardwood for the supporting pillars.
e roof is covered with copper slate. Siing in the pavilion one looks
upon the actual memorial, not any larger than a few square meters.
In this narrow space, reminding of the conned world of Dejima one
sees the bust of von Siebold made in 1932 by sculptor Ludwig Oswald
Wenckebach (1895–1962). A particular garden form of
Hydrangea macrophylla
Sieb. et Zucc. var. ‘Otakusa’) is planted
behind the bust. Von Siebold named the plant aer Otaki.
11) Otaki was the given name of his Japanese love whom he met in the
world of the tea houses in Nagasaki, hence the garden wall colour. She
bore him a daughter who became the rst female gynecologist doc-
tor in Japan. A bawdy mind may discover the Otaki-stone at the foot
of the busts pedestal.
e Von Siebold Memorial Garden narrates
the life of a historical character through its symbolic elements. Vari-
Figure 11: Von Siebolds herbarium sheet for his Otaki herb gives the details of his renaming of Hydrangea Belzonii that commemorated the famous explorer and
archaeologist Belzoni into Otaksa, remembering his Japanese love; collection Leiden Netherlands Herbarium Naturalis, detail
ous contexts and various forms of praxis intersect and inuence each
other. It was the hope of the designer that anyone could nd at least
something of interest in this compact, lile world.
Now, looking back, it has become clear to me that designing this
small, symbolic, naturalistic garden was a personal exercise of the mind
aer my landscape architecture education at Wageningen University.
Modernism and straight lines were the credo; curved lines were suspi-
cious. Modernism in the West had been legitimized as being the inter-
national style with reference to Japanese minimalism as expressed in
certain Japanese gardens. It was in this frame that my adventures in
Japan were seen by my former classmates and teachers who viewed
the minimalism of a Ryoan-ji garden as a most pure form of ‘less is
more’ aesthetics. For me, personally, the Von Siebold Memorial Gar-
den was a reaction on this discourse. In my years of study in Kyoto I
had discovered that this was a false representation of things, as the rea-
sons for minimalism seen in some Kyoto gardens were not an ideal of
less is more, but rather creativity as an intellectual play within a scar-
city of means that prevailed over all other context.
Temple was one of the rst Europeans to state on paper that the Far
East had a valuable message for European garden aesthetics. He could
do this because the discourse had only just begun and whatever posi-
tion one wanted to take, was open. In his case it was the formation
of a new protestant English state that came about in a glorious, roll-
ing landscape that was demanding an elevated understanding of its
beauty. In Leiden in the 1990s it was the triumph of the Japanese
nancial economy, paired with the pride of Leiden University and its
400 years old Hortus. Japan and the role of Von Siebold were claimed
as it were for Leiden, and not for Germany, to form part of that proud
Seen in a wider perspective, Japanese inspirations in garden design
have changed dramatically, ever since Temple pulled in
to legitimize his endeavors in irregular design, the beauty of which
he had seen conrmed in the dune landscape of Holland. Valuing the
winding, natural stream at his garden following a Dutch praxis, he
added inspiration from a context of taste in Far Eastern applied arts.
Axing this to the existing praxis of geometry enhanced the status of
landscape design as applied art, and elevated it to become a pointer to
Englishness. For the modernists of the West, again, Japanese minimal
gardens were pulled in to legitimize their own minimalism. On the
contrary, I introduced the
style in Leiden for its symbol-
ism and naturalism, not for its minimalism.
In conclusion both proj-
ects may illustrate how gardens need a proper context to be successful.
When a Japanese garden in the West borrows from praxis only, with-
out any positioning within a context, it remains a supercial eort.
In preparing the present paper I received various suggestions and sup-
port from Christoph Baier, Stefan Schweizer, Christian Tagsold, and
Gerard ijsse.
e present paper was developed from the international symposium Asian gar-
dens in the West, organized by Stiung Schloss und Park Benrath, and the Insti-
tut für Modernes Japan, Heinrich-Heine Universität, Düsseldorf and aer read-
ing a preview of Christian Tagsold: Spaces of Translation: Japanese Gardens in the
West, Philadelphia 2016, not published yet when this paper was submied; many
ideas presented here, such as ‘translations of Japan, ‘the essentialist expert’, or ‘us
dening ourselves by means of them’ are Tagsold’s.
William Temple: Upon the Gardens of Epicurus; Or of Gardening in the Year
1685, in: Miscellanea, the Second Part, in Four Essays, London 1690. A facsim-
ile reprint in: Takau Shimada and Keiichi Matsudaira (eds): A Collection of Books
on the English Landscape Garden, vol.1, Osaka 2006, pp. frontispice-67, here pp.
57, 58. For a transcription of this famous section on sharawadgi, following the
oen corrupted original typography of Temple’s original, see Wybe Kuitert: Japa-
nese Art, Aesthetics, and a European discourse – Unraveling Sharawadgi, in: Japan
Review 27 (2014), pp. 77–101, here p. 78.
Huygens writes to Temple that he had ordered those in charge to hand over the
keys of Hofwijck any time he wanted to visit the place, see a leer dated June 2,
1682 in J. A. Worp (ed.): De Briefwisseling van Constantijn Huygens (1608–87),
Zesde Deel 1663-87, Den Haag 1917, p. 442, No. 7188. Another conrmed Eng-
lish visitor had been Henriea Maria (1609–1669), wife of King Charles I.
Ton van Strien (ed.) with Willemien B. de Vries: Constantijn Huygens, Hof wijck
Band 1, Monumenta Literaria Neerlandica XV, 1-2, Den Haag 2008, p. 53 with
Huygens’ observation. See further Wybe Kuitert: Japanese Robes, Sharawadgi,
and the Landscape Discourse of Sir William Temple and Constantijn Huygens, in:
Garden History 41-2 (2013), pp. 157-176, and Plates II-VI, here p. 164.
On this merchant Hoogenhoek and the route the word travelled, see Wybe Kuitert
2014 (see note 2) pp. 88-92.
In the present romanization of the Japanese language sharawadg i is spelled
shara’aji and it relates straightforwardly to today’s share’aji, still used by kimono
fashion critics. For the history, meaning, linguistics, and aesthetics of shara’aji see
Kuitert 2014 (see note 2).
e contrast of the hilly dunes and the at and parceled inner lands on which
Hofwijck was designed forms the clue, see: Kuitert 2013 (see note 4), pp.161-
Temple was much impressed by Bentinck’s loyalty, aer witnessing how he cared
for his master who fell ill from Small-pox, to the extent that Bentinck, having con-
tracted the disease himself, also fell seriously ill; see William Temple: Memoirs Of
what pass’d in Christendom, From 1672, to 1679, in: e Works of Sir. William
Temple, Baronet; in Two Volumes. Volume the First. To which is Prex’ d Some
Account of the Life and Writings of the Author. J. Round, J. Tonson, J. Clarke, B.
Moe, T. Woon, S. Birt, and T. Osborne, 1731, pp. 371-480, here p. 401.
See Vanessa Bezemer-Sellers: e Bentinck Garden at Sorgvliet, in: John Dixon
Hunt (ed.): e Dutch Garden in the Seventeenth Century, Washington 1990, pp.
99-130, here p. 107, with a quote in translation and original Dutch from Consider-
atien op Sorghvliet (1679).
e winding channel of water at Moor Park was the rst serpentine of its kind in
England, and became one of the idiosyncrasies that marked the English garden
between 1700 and 1740; see John Harris: Is Chiswick a “Palladian’ Garden?”, in:
Garden History 32-1 (2004), pp. 124-136, here 125-126. Bentinck introduced a
serpentine stream in his estate Bulstrode, Buckinghamshire around 1705, if not
earlier, see Harris (ibid.), p. 126.
Friedrich Wilhelm von Erdmannsdor (1736–1800) August 19, 1764 and Johann
Jacob Volkmann (1783); see omas Weiss: J’eus le bonheur de vous accompa-
gnez (...) Friedrich Wilhelm von Erdmannsdors Reisenotizen der Jahres 1764
in: Den Freunden der Natur und Kunst – Das Gartenreich des Fürsten Franz von
Anhalt-Dessau im Zeitalter der Aulärung, Wörlitz 1997, pp. 30-71, here 42, and
67. Sorghvliet’s stream was le to meander, we may assume.
e deep-water alder swamp seen presently on the site is a following stage of eco-
logical succession. In Temple’s times the landscape was much more open and
e word ‘tradition’ is my translation for Temple’s ‘race’. e word echoes his ‘dis-
position’ and must be seen as a disposition of humans, in which ‘tradition’ follows
the earlier meaning of ‘race’ as seen with Shakespeare. See: shakespeareswords.
com with various options at the entry ‘race’, such as: inherited nature, natural dis-
position; origin, stock, ancestry; descendants, children, posterity; family, house,
dynasty; etc. Temple’s Nature echoes Fancy as two general concepts made
and pertinent respectively on
site (Seat), and
‘People from the Far East’
is at
this point my replacement for Temple’s
see a
following section
for a
discussion. ‘Indian Gown
is the so
Rock, often seen
portraits and fashionable
in the
Netherlands from
the 1670s
on; see Figure 5 above, also: Kuitert 2013 (see note 4), p.166-168 and Plates IV
The painter was Caspar (Gaspard) Netscher who, dressed in another gorgeous
anese gown, got himself portrayed by one of his sons. See Wybe Kuitert:
teien to Nihonbi
Sharawadgi wo motomete (In Japanese: European gardens
Japanese aesthetics
16 Georg Meister: Der
Kunst- und Lust-Gärtner, Dres-
den 1692,
Foreword, unnumbered,
p. 13; see also Wybe
Kuitert: Georg
ter, in:
Japan Review
125-43 and Wybe Kuitert: Nagasaki
and Georg Meister (1653-1713), in: GENESIS
(1998), pp. 94-102. Meister
with many
after his
to the
Gaspar Fagel w hose plant collection became
of the
Queen Mary
in England.
John Evelyn noted
in his
... We
... to
good neighbour
Bohune, whose whole house
is a
of all
elegancies, especially Indian,
the Contrivement
the [
Japan] Skreenes instead
the Hall,
excellent Pendule-Clock inclosed
in the
curious flower-work
of Mr. Gibbons
the middst
the Vestibul e,
very remarkable; and
are the Landskips
of the
Skreenes, representing
of the
of the
...See: Guy
de la
Bédore (ed.): The Diary
John Evelyn, Woodbridge
2004, entry July 30,
On Temple’s position in the English literary discourse on China see: Qian
in the
English Literature
of the
Seventeenth Century,
in: Quarterly
Chinese Bibliography
(1940), pp. 351-384, here pp. 371-376.
In his
writings on China Temple speaks about gardens only shortly and never
the term sharawadgi that only appears
his essay on
Temple’s essay
but was
1690, three years
Huygens’ death
might perhaps
be seen as
posthumously honoring
the one
that had introduced him to the pleasures of
garden. The set of lacquer chests
acquired by William III in 1683 at
visit to the storehouses of the East India
For this letter
Constantijn Huygens
September 27, 1685 (no. 7231), see
1917 (see note 3)
Zesde Deel,
pp. 456, 457.
up the
screen was done
wainscot for
room, cf. note 17
John Evelyn had translated a Dutch book on China, though it was never edited;
Qian 1940 (see note 18),
p. 367.
most comprehensive overview, see Rinaldi, Bi anca Maria (ed.): Ideas of
nese Gardens, Western Accounts, 1300-1860, Philadelphi a
Wybe Kuitert: Japonaiserie
London and The Hague,
Shepherd’s Bush (1910)
tory 30-2 (2002), pp. 221-238, here
222 and
The so-called Siebold Huis opened 2005 at Rapenburg 19,
stately house that
Siebold had rented during his stay in Leiden. Though
was asked to present
ideas for the rear
of this
it was an
at the Rijksgebou-
wendie nst (Central Government Real Estate Agency) that did the garden.
It is in
modernist taste, without any effort
express Von Siebol d’s 1856
as I
Zelkova serrata (Thunb.) Makino, Botanical Magazine (Tokyo 1903),
17: p. 13;
the Hortus specimen
have been brought
himself around
26 Ko
– Een
Koninklijke Maatschappij Tuinbouw
en Plant-
kunde (November 1995), cover, and pp. 14-16, here
p. 15. Recently, st ucco of
pavilion and wall was covered with fresh paint, spoiling nuances in texture
and color. The shiny, bright red of the wall in particular is dazzling,
compared to the subdued original Spachtelputz in copper brown RAL8004.
Dry landscape gardens
often found
Zen temples
It is a
den form that can be designed by the literary man (the Zen abbot) as
a hobby-like
pastime without having
to call in a
In the
West these gardens
been framed
‘Zen garden’,
falsified interpretation; see Wybe Kuitert:
Scenes, and Taste in the History of Japanese Garden Art, Amsterdam 1988,
150-160. However,
as a
simple garden idiom,
the dry
landscape style
the possibility of symboli c representation of water landscapes,
fully employed
in the
Von Siebold Memorial Garden, which,
I did not
be understood
Japanese readers
Wybe Kuitert: Kinen
Japanese: Memory as designed garden),
(1996), pp. 54-57,
139, here
p. 97.
Makoto Nakamura (1931). Nakamura was professor and head
the Institute
Landscape Architecture
Kyoto University where
wrote most
of my doctoral
dissertation submitted at Wageningen University in 1988. Nakamura is presently
retired Kyoto University emeritus
Hiromasa Amasaki (1946– )
these days was
the Kyoto College
Art and formerly had been
gardener. He graduated from, and took
in the
Professor Nakamura (see above). Nakamura and
were instrumental
in setting up the landscape architecture department at the Kyoto Universit y of
and Design that evolved from the Kyoto College
Art. Amasaki later headed
presently, though retired
is still
with the
Kyoto University
of Art and
Research Center
for Japanese
Garden Art and Cultural Heritage, where
Naoki Hiraoka (1960–)
was a
Belgium w ho
Japanese gardens
Brussels during the Europalia-Japan, presently
he is a
landscape architecture
See: Katsman/Van Arnhem 1995 (see note 26),
14 with
Nakamura (see note 29) was most senior an d from Kyoto Universit y.
he does not design and owes his career to a thesis on
Naturschönh eit
he was
as the
and was
even given
orarium. Politely, Nakamura e xplained that Wybe Kuitert
was the
honorarium. The money was used
send one Leiden Hortus
training and
seed money
for an
international symposium
with a
title; see Tjon Sie Fat, L./E. de Jong,
(eds.): The
Authent ic
– A
Gardens, Leiden
1991. My
in the proceed-
E. de
Jong, (eds.)
237-239, Plate 41-44, here
p. 237.
34 See
Wybe Kuitert:
De Von
Siebold Gedenktuin
tuin in de Leidse
Hortus, Leiden 1994. Though only
has an impressive colophon
many names
people responsible
for text and
illustrations. The next year
man/Van Arnhem
1995 (see note 26)
‘Japanese garden’
and its
Dutch designer
to a
wider public reserving
major part
the text on the
of the
in the
garden, something already focuse d upon
in the
1994 brochure.
Taki Kusumoto (18071869),
Otaki with
‘Otakusa’ reads
otaki herb. The herbarium sheet
in the
Herbarium Naturalis
has Von
Siebold’s handwritten
notes as follows:
[Hydrangea Belzonii
. S . /
Hydrangea Otaksa
Zuccar. flor. Japon. tab.52
Exemplar authenticum florae Japonicae
quod inserviit
/ Hb.
Siebold]. Siebold wanted
it to be the
type specimen
for his
Hydrangea otaksa, stating
that it was the
‘authentic specimen
that had
served for the
of (his) Flora
table 52’ Later botanists
cultivar status to Von Siebold’s Otaksa,
it is
correctly known as
gea macrophylla Sieb.
Zucc. var. ‘Otaksa’. Sonogi was Otaki’s artist’s name in
Hiketaya tea house
36 See
Loekie Schwartz:
is ook
in: Onze Eigen Tuin (Len-
tenummer 1992), Vol. 38, No.
1, p.
2-4, here
p. 4.
37 Von
Siebold Memorials
38 My
upcoming book Japanese Gardens and Landscapes,
the conclusive elaboration
39 See the
Japanese Garden
in the
Nordpark, Düsseldorf. The pruning
of the pine
perfectly done. However,
it is
only done perfect for each specimen
to a
wider concept
of the
garden, because there
is no
apart from producing some kind
Wybe Kuitert
Kontext und Praxis:
Japan und die Gestaltung von Gärten im Westen
Im Mielpunkt des Aufsatzes stehen zwei zeitlich weit auseinander
liegende Prozesse, in denen jeweils Japan in der Formschönheit eines
Gartens für den Westen übersetzt wurde.Auf der einen Seite wird
Moor Park behandelt, William Temples Garten aus dem 17. Jahr-
hundert. Ein am Rande liegender Teil dieses Gartens etablierte einen
künstlerischen Geschmack, Temples „Sharawadgi“, der später den
englischen Landschasgarten begründete. Temple beeinusste den
englischen Diskurs grundlegend, indem er sich an das ästhetischen
Konzept des „shara’aji“ aus Japan anlehnte, während er zugleich die
Praxis der Gartenkunst vorantrieb und bereicherte.
Der zweite behandelte Garten zeigt, wie sich seit Temple künstle-
rischer Geschmack als ein Ausgangspunkt für Gestaltung immer stär-
ker mit der Praxis vermischt hat. Der Siebold-Garten in Leiden in den
Niederlanden wurde vom Autor dieses Aufsatzes geplant und ange-
legt. In diesem Garten soll japanische Gartenbaupraxis in einem euro-
päischen Kontext dazu dienen, eine neue Interpretation zu nden. Der
Garten wurde nach seiner Errichtung als „japanischer Garten“ bewor-
ben, obwohl er weder so in Aurag gegeben noch mit dieser Inten-
tion geplant worden war. Da japanische Gartenbautechniken verwen-
det worden waren, el es leicht, den Siebold-Garten als authentisch zu
vermarkten, wenngleich dies überhaupt nicht die ursprüngliche Idee
hinter dem Entwurf für den Garten war.
Beide Gärten verdeutlichen auf ihre Art ein konstitutives Span-
nungsverhältnis. Auf der einen Seite steht der Garten in seiner Mate-
rialität, der sich an die Gegebenheiten seiner natürlichen Umgebung
anpasst. Auf der anderen Seite sind es soziale, kulturelle oder nanzi-
elle Aspekte, die seine Ausgestaltung und seine Interpretation bestim-
men. Temple ist einer der ersten, der auf eine inhärente Bedeutung
japanischer Gärten hinweist, indem er das Konzept des shara’aji auf-
nimmt und erweitert. Das Beispiel des Gartens in Leiden zeigt hin-
gegen, dass die Idee einer inhärenten, japanischen Bedeutung inzwi-
schen als selbstverständlich angenommen wird. Hier waren es u. a. die
Interessen japanischer Akteure in den Niederlanden, die dazu führ-
ten, den Siebold-Garten als japanischen Garten zu interpretieren und
damit zu einem Statement der Kulturdiplomatie zwischen beiden
Ländern umzuwerten.
To cite this paper:
Kuitert, Wybe "Context & Praxis: Japan and Designing Gardens in the West" Die Gartenkunst (2016) 28/2: 278-292
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Een ieder die kennis heeft van tuingeschiedenis, weet dat de tuin van Hofwijk van Constantijn Huygens (1596-1687) zo classicistisch is als het maar zijn kan. Zijn plat-geometrische plattegrond lijkt niets te maken te hebben met de vergezichten over glooiende grasvelden en slingerende serpentines van water in de Engelse tuinen. Bovendien nam die stijl pas een eeuw na de aanleg van Hofwijk een aanvang. Zo lijkt het tenminste op het eerste gezicht. Bij nadere bestudering blijkt de tuin van Huygens wel degelijk allerlei schilderachtige aspecten te hebben en is er het een en ander aan bijkomend bewijs te vinden dat onze Constantijn Huygens een fundamentele bijdrage geleverd heeft aan het gedachtengoed dat leidde tot die grootse schilderachtige stijl van onze buren aan de overkant van de Noordzee. Dit artikel is een samenvatting van vier academische publikaties in het Engels. Gepubliceerd in CASCADE - Bulletin voor tuinhistorie
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The Japanese Garden at Clingendael at The Hague, the Netherlands, was made in line with prevailing theories on the Japanese garden of the time. A typical mannerist classification (tsukiyama, hiraniwa, etc.) was made known in the West by the works of Josiah Conder borrowing scholarship from Kinkichiro Honda. Together with garden specialist Keijiro Ozawa, the two Japanese men made theory into practice at the Japan-British Exhibition held in London in 1910, where they conceived two gardens. Works were supervised by the Japanese Embassy, adapting in certain ways to European fashions. The garden in The Hague was also supported by the Japanese Embassy, but perhaps only with a donation of design schemes. It followed the same mannerism, but in a free and sensitive interpretation, and demonstrated the personal taste of the owner, Baroness Van Brienen, and her garden architect, Theo Dinn. The two case studies give clues to the understanding of the backgrounds of the Japanese garden fashion in Europe in the decades before and after 1900, which is defined here in more detail under the term 'japonaiserie'. Both projects are presented to demonstrate the above points. However, if more source material is found, factual history could link the two more tightly through the British connections of Baroness Van Brienen.
Een vijgeblad is ook natuur
  • See Loekie Schwartz
See Loekie Schwartz: Een vijgeblad is ook natuur, in: Onze Eigen Tuin (Lentenummer 1992), Vol. 38, No. 1, p. 2-4, here p. 4.
Willemien B. de Vries: Constantijn Huygens, Hof wijck Band 1, Monumenta Literaria Neerlandica XV, 1-2
  • Ton Van Strien
Ton van Strien (ed.) with Willemien B. de Vries: Constantijn Huygens, Hof wijck Band 1, Monumenta Literaria Neerlandica XV, 1-2, Den Haag 2008, p. 53 with Huygens' observation. See further Wybe Kuitert: Japanese Robes, Sharawadgi, and the Landscape Discourse of Sir William Temple and Constantijn Huygens, in: Garden History 41-2 (2013), pp. 157-176, and Plates II-VI, here p. 164.
The Bentinck Garden at Sorgvliet The Dutch Garden in the Seventeenth Century
  • See Vanessa Bezemer-Sellers
See Vanessa Bezemer-Sellers: The Bentinck Garden at Sorgvliet, in: John Dixon Hunt (ed.): The Dutch Garden in the Seventeenth Century, Washington 1990, pp. 99-130, here p. 107, with a quote in translation and original Dutch from Consideratien op Sorghvliet (1679).
–) was a student in Belgium who had helped me with two Japanese gardens in Brussels during the Europalia-Japan, presently he is a profes-sor of landscape architecture at
  • Naoki Hiraoka
Naoki Hiraoka (1960–) was a student in Belgium who had helped me with two Japanese gardens in Brussels during the Europalia-Japan, presently he is a profes-sor of landscape architecture at Minami-Kyushu University.