The Garden Guide

Book: Landscape Gardening in Japan, 1912
Chapter: Chapter 10. Ornamental Water

Other types of island symbolism in Japanese gardens 1

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The above four Islands are considered strictly according to rule for gardens, but others are often arbitrarily introduced. In the garden of Kinkakuji, for example, the Islands of the lake are said to represent in form and distribution the Empire of Japan; and in the lake of the Mangwanji at Nikko they are outlined to pourtray the felicitous emblems of the crane and tortoise. Many terms descriptive of Islands of different form and character are employed, among which the following may be mentioned: � the "Mountain Isle" (Yama-jima), as its name implies, is shaped like a mountain rising from the water. Two peaks,�one higher than the other,�adorn its summit, and its sides are planted with numerous evergreens. Encircling it is a stretch of flat beach, on which sand and occasional rocks are spread; mosses and autumn grasses are cultivated between the stones. The "Forest Isle" (Mori-jima) is of low elevation, covered with a plantation of straight trees, placed sufficiently apart to allow of a view from between their trunks. Sand should be spread and short grasses planted between the trees. The "Rock Island" (Iso-jima) is rugged and precipitious in form, like a huge sea-rock, having vertical crags above, and detached fragments at the water's edge. It should be adorned with one or more crooked pine trees, suggesting in their contorted shapes long exposure to the wind and tempest. This kind of Island is often employed to represent the scenery of Matsushima (see page 37).