A study of garden aesthetics in the Song Dynasty. Confucian, buddhist, and daoist influences

Begin - Einde 
2021 - 2023 (lopend)



Studying the relationship between nature and human beings is one of the main propositions of Chinese philosophy. The garden is a material formation of the ideal landscape 山水, and the spirit of the garden is essentially a landscape spirit. Therefore, garden construction is a reproduction of nature in a narrow space. The Song Dynasty was known for the construction of famous gardens. These gardens wer mainly concentrated in Kaifeng 汴京, Luoyang 洛阳 , Hangzhou (临安) , Suzhou 苏州 and other places. The refined taste of literati and government officials was often vividly reflected in the garden landscapes.

From the perspective of Neo-confucianism, the garden space is a lively and vigorous aesthetic space which reflects the harmony between man and nature. This kind of garden aesthetic experience is still of great significance at present. As such, research on classical gardens is not only important in the context of Chinese traditional culture, but has close relationship to the concept of nature in contemporary China.

The topic will be approached from several angles:

Text analysis.In terms of the treatment of literature, first of all, it is necessary to analyze the relevant historical documents.

Comparative study. Neo-Confucianism is the most distinctive philosophical trend of the Song Dynasty. Compared to the scholar-officials who lived in the early Song Dynasty, the literati who lived in the mid-Song developed distinct attitudes towards “mountains and rivers” 山水, garden landscaping, and landscape painting. In addition to Neo-Confucian philosophy, Buddhist and Daoist concepts were integrated in the theories of and approaches to gardening.