The Zen Garden & Why Use the Word Zen?

Prof Wybe Kuitert of the Seoul National University explores in this article the subject and origins of the “Zen Expression” in the garden art of Japan. He investigates how the theme and expression of Zen appears to not be found in old Japanese Garden texts and neither in early twentieth-century literature on the subject of garden art in Japan. This in contrast with the more popular and recent references to Zen in relation to the Japanese garden. In other words: “Why use the word Zen?”.

The pdf version of the article can be read and downloaded here:  The Zen Garden – Pdf (336KB).

This version of the article, provided by Wybe Kuitert, is an abbreviated version of “The Zen Garden” as it was published in Themes, Scenes, and Taste in the History of Japanese Garden Art, Gieben, Amsterdam, 1988, and in Themes in the History of Japanese Garden Art, Hawai’i University Press, 2002.

Prof Dr Wybe Kuitert lectures at the Department of Landscape Architecture of the Graduate School of Environmental Studies, Seoul National University, South Korea.

Text by Jan Haenraets

Jan Haenraets is a Director of Atelier Anonymous Landscapes Inc., Vancouver, BC, Canada

The stone garden of Ryoan-ji in 1938 (Source: Shigemori, Nihon teienshi zukan in Kuiter, The Zen Garden).
The stone garden of Ryoan-ji in 1938 (Source: Shigemori, Nihon teienshi zukan in Kuitert, The Zen Garden).

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