The Craft of Gardens

The Classic Chinese Text on Garden Design

The Craft of Gardens

Foreword by: Maggie Keswick / Photographs by: Zhong Ming / Translated by: Alison Hardie
With dozens of stunning photographs, this modern translation of a Classic text is a masterpiece of classical Chinese gardening.

Ji Cheng's great work on garden design, the Yuan Ye or Craft of Gardens, was originally published around 1631 and is the earliest manual of landscape gardening in the Chinese tradition. This is the first complete English translation of Ji Cheng's seminal work.

This Chinese gardening book is based on J Cheng's notes and experiences from his career as a garden designer, which he discusses at some length in his introduction> Since architecture is an integral part of the Chinese garden, much of the book is taken up with the design of different types of buildings and the integration of architecture with nature in the garden. Ji Cheng explains the religious and aesthetic principles underlying garden design and the appropriate emotional response to various effects. he then offers a down-to-earth series of instructions about the requirements of different types of sites, building layouts, architectural features, paving, the construction of artificial mountains, selection of rocks, and the use of natural scenery.

This delightful book provides not only insights into Chinese gardening but also a unique perspective on Chinese culture and society in the late Ming dynasty. Full notes by the translator explain obscure points and introduce relevant aspects of Chinese culture, while an introduction by Maggie Keswick sets the book firmly in its historical context. Illustrations include not only Ji Cheng's original diagrams but also historical paintings and contemporary photographs of a number of outstanding gardens in the part of East China where Ji Cheng lived and worked.
  • Shanghai Press | 
  • 144 pages | 
  • ISBN 9781602200081 | 
  • April 2012
List Price $34.95
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