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Infinite Spaces. The Art and Wisdom of the Japanese Garden

by Joe Earle

Photos by Sadao Hibi

“When you design your garden you can pick and choose from the very best that you have seen in nature, ensuring that every stone contributes something to the overall effect.”-—from the Sakuteiki.
Japanese gardens have long been admired for their capacity to improve on nature through impeccable design, detail, and composition: properties that elevate them from mere gardens to sacred spaces. The Sakuteiki, literally “notes on garden design,” by the eleventh-century courtier and poet Tachibana no Toshitsuna laid out the principles that shaped the design of these gardens. A distillation of centuries of garden design, the Sakuteiki remains a vital influence for garden makers in Japan today.

Infinite Spaces pairs extracts from the Sakuteiki with inspiring images that beautifully illustrate the principles of this ancient work. Sadao Hibi’s superb photographs capture some of Japan’s best-known gardens—from austere compositions in stone and gravel to richly planted landscapes. The photographs express the extraordinary beauty and diversity of one of the world’s most ancient and revered styles of gardening. Discover a treasure trove of practical advice and philosophical insight on building and maintaining pools, lakes, and streams; arranging stones for the most natural and harmonious effect; and designing water features and placing stones to welcome auspicious deities while excluding malevolent influences.

The timeless visual artistry of the gardens and the specific design techniques will inspire you to create magnificent sanctuaries in your own garden.


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