chapter  11
16 Pages

Nature Restoration Without Dissimulation

Learning from Japanese Gardens and Earthworks

This chapter discusses the problematic perceived in the notion of nature restoration. It considers Japanese gardens and earthworks, in so far as both types of art forms foreground the relationship of artefactuality to nature. Gardens constitute manipulations of nature par excellence. A focus on nature as found in one's own region is emphasized by the preference for local vegetation, and by the incorporation of natural scenery lying outside the garden proper through the deliberate creation of openings between trees and shrubs. Throughout the course of Japanese history various layers of nature-related significance were added, culminating in the adoption of gardening by Zen Buddhism as a way to illustrate the underlying unity of all things. Japanese gardens may seem veritable models for nature restoration, both in execution and underlying ideology, while earthworks may seem to represent the very opposite.