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Tenryū–ji: Life and Spirit of a Kyōto Garden

Tenryū–ji: Life and Spirit of a Kyōto Garden
Norris Brock Johnson
Stone Bridge Press
Publication Date: 

cloth, 368 pp., $39.95

Anthropologist Norris Brock Johnson relates the results of his contemplative study of a remarkable Japanese garden at a Zen Buddhist temple located in western Kyōto. Built in the 14th century, the structures and landscape are noteworthy in the history of Japanese culture. The author describes the setting, consisting of buildings, walkways, and a pond garden, all nestled among surrounding mountains. He emphasizes the relationship of people toward the garden when he notes, “Animism will be manifest in the manners in which the garden over time is perceived and experienced by people...” His early experiences when he first visited the site and his later trips to contemplate the significance of the buildings and grounds drew him into a special relationship with the pond garden. The narrative is accompanied by a wealth of black-and-white photographs, as well as 16 pages of color illustrations bound in the middle of the text.

— Marilyn K. Alaimo, garden writer and volunteer, Chicago Botanic Garden