The Garden Guide

Book: Landscape Gardening in Japan, 1912
Chapter: Chapter 6. Garden Enclosures

Sleeve Fences Sode gaki

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SCREEN FENCES. Screen Fences, � called by the Japanese "Sleeve Fences" (Sode-gaki),- are short screens helping to conceal some object in the garden, but mainly ornamental in purpose. They are chiefly arranged near the verandah of a house, or at the side of a water basin, � generally on one side attached to a wall or verandah post � and are about three or four feet wide, and from five to seven feet high. In form they are sometimes rectangular, sometimes curved at the top on one or both corners, and occasionally of irregular shape. The designs are numerous, and are distinguished by many odd names as follows: � "Tube Screen Fence" (Teppo-sode-gaki),�a fence made with stout bamboo tubes like organ pipes, alternately long and short. Sometimes other materials, such as slender poles of scorched wood, and round bundles of reeds or twigs, are combined with the bamboo tubes. The whole is bound with horizontal strips of bamboo tied with stained cord. "Sliding-door Fence" (Fusuma-gaki). This resembles in shape the summer rush-work door-slide of a Japanese chamber. It is constructed of slender reeds or rushes strengthened with thin wooden frames and cross-bars. "Peeping Fence" (Nozoki-gaki.),�a fence about six feet high, built of reeds or lespedeza branches, with a long barred opening in the middle. "Clothes-horse Fence" (Kicho-gaki),�so called from its resemblance at the top to the ornamental clothes-horse used in a Japanese dressing or sleeping apartment. It is arched below, leaving an open quadrant, and it has a large circular orifice in the centre, ornamentally barred with bamboo strips. It is made of water reeds bound with wistaria stems, its height being five feet, and width nearly two feet. "Tea-whisk and Lattice Screen Fence" (Chasen-bishi sode-gaki). This kind of fence is so called from the whisk-like form of the standard heads, which are composed of round bundles of reeds or twigs tied with cord or wistaria stems. The lower half is composed of lattice-work. "Double-Screen Fence" (Yaye-sode-gaki). This example is designed with double borders to look as if one fence overlapped another. It is of irregular stepped shape, curved at the top, and with the filling-in of complicated design. "Korean Screen Fence" (Korai-sode-gaki). A fence five feet high, and three and a half feet wide, curved at the top in a quadrant, constructed with reeds arranged in diamond-shaped lattice-work and bordered with a thick roll of the same material. It is illustrated, in combination with a water basin and lantern, in Plate XX. "Low Korean Screen Fence" (Koshi-korai-sode-gaki),�similar to the former but of less height. "Moon-entering Screen Fence" (Haso-getsu sode-gaki). This kind is about seven feet high and three feet wide, having in the centre a circular hole from which it receives its name. The vertical border on one side is broken off at the edge of the orifice so that the circle is not complete, and this gives it the form of a three-quarter moon. Above the hole, the bundles of reeds are arranged vertically, like bars, and below in a diagonal latticework, tied with hemp cords. "Armour Pattern Screen Fence" (Yoroi-gata sode-gaki),�receives its name from a diagonal band in the centre, filled with numerous rings made of wistaria tendrils, tied together somewhat after the manner of chain-mail. The construction is arched at the top, and consists chiefly of vertical twigs or reeds bordered with a heavy roll, and barred with cross-pieces of stout bamboo. "Nightingale Screen Fence" (Uguisu-sode-gaki),�so called on account of its rustic character. It is a rough fence constructed of irregular twigs of Ilex integra arranged vertically, left untrimmed at the top, and held by horizontal cross-pieces of bamboo tied to a bamboo tube border. This is a favourite design for Tea Gardens, in which it is used both as a short screen and as a continuous fence. "Bent-branch Fence" (Eda-ori-gaki),�constructed of leaf-clad branches of bamboo bent in diagonal curves crossing in a kind of coarse lattice-work, the interstices being partly filled by the leaves. The branches are tied with cords at their crossings. "Hurdle Fence" (Mase-gaki),�a kind of rough fence constructed of twigs of ilex or rushes arranged vertically in a bowed form, and fastened to horizontal bamboo strips. "Komachi Fence" (Komachi-gaki), also called Shinobi-gaki (Hiding Fence),�a construction seven feet high, and about four feet wide, resembling in design the pierced walls in front of certain city buildings. The middle portion is of reeds with hexagonal barred windows, the bottom of split bamboo, and the top has a wooden cap-piece and open trellis. Komachi,�generally known as Ono-no-Komachi,�was a heroine of great beauty, the idea conveyed by the name as applied to a Screen Fence being that of a suitable retreat for lovers. "Triple-stage Fence" (Sandan-kasane-gaki),�a fence constructed of twigs of ilex mixed with slender branches of bamboo, arranged overlapping in three stages, with thick rolls at the edge and intermediate bands of bamboo. "Locking-through Fence" (Mitoshi-gaki). This is a construction seven feet high and six feet wide, very similar to the "Komachi Fence," but having a band of open trellis-work in the centre, instead of window-like openings. The border is framed in wood, lacquered black, with projecting corners, and the rest is in bamboo and reeds. The design resembles the divisions used in the galleries of palaces. "Leaning Plum-tree Fence" (Koboriume-no-sode-gaki),�has a semi-curved top and three circular holes arranged irregularly in its surface, through which the stem of a leaning plum tree may be seen. It is built of slender bamboo or lespedeza twigs, strengthened with a roll border and with horizontal bamboo strips; its height is five feet and its width three feet. "Two-stage Torch Fence" (Taimatsu-no-niju-gaki),�a high fence constructed chiefly of bundles of twigs like torches, combined with bamboo work, and made to look as if built in two stages. It is seven feet high and three feet wide, and is only used in large gardens. "Shinto Arch Fence" (Torii-gaki),�so called from its resemblance to the tra-beated gate-like erections in front of Shinto temples. "Light-revealing Fence" (Kwato-gaki),�has a round opening at the top revealing the light of a stone lantern placed behind it. "Round Window-lattice Fence" (Enso-bishi-no-sode-gaki),�a low square fence of twigs and bamboo-work, containing a large circular hole filled with lattice-work. "Unjo Screen Fence" (Unjo-sode-gaki),�named after the title of a Court official. It is hollow below, being made to arch over the verandah floor, and is constructed of reeds with a narrow border and a pierced band of cryptomeria wood. It is five and a half feet high, and three feet wide. "Hokumen Fence" (Hokumen-gaki),�named after another rank of Court official. It is seven feet high, made of wooden frames and broad planks of deeply grained wood, the joints of the boarding being covered with bamboo strips. Some of the chief Screen Fences are illustrated in Plates XV., XVI., XVII., XVIII., XIX., and XX. Figure 22, on page 83, represents an example of somewhat unusual design, made in imitation of a framed screen such as is used in entrance halls, and called Tsuitate. Drawings exist of hundreds of such fences as the above, slightly differing in design and material. As exact forms for these fences are by no means so rigidly established as that of many other garden features, the gardener has much more license in dealing with them; appropriateness to surroundings, in scale and degree of elaboration, is always kept in mind, and the dimensions given are therefore not absolute but only proportionate. Whether the Garden Fences be heavy or frail in design and execution depends greatly on the style or character of the garden.