CIHA 2016 in Beijing

34th World Congress of Art History

About History Press Release Sessions Schedule Activities Participants Venue Discussion Registration Closed


Borrowing scenery in China and Japan:theory and practice in seventeenth century garden art(中国与日本的借景:17世纪园林艺术中的理论与实践)

Session 12 Garden and Courtyard

Enviromental Research, Seoul National University


Gardens in Japan with a wider view over surrounding landscape are often referred to as gardens having 'borrowed scenery', in Japanese shakkei (借景). Shakkei-gardens were explained in formal terms as continuity in space between interior and outdoors, by Japanese architects in the 1960s, confirming ideals of the modernist movement in architecture. However, the term shakkei is not from the field of architecture. The earliest text on shakkei is found in the seventeenth century Chinese book on gardening Yuanye (園冶). The last chapter is titled Shakkei (借景), Jiejing in Chinese and it does not formalize continuity of space; rather it is about using the existing landscape as much as possible to create a garden.

Among the historical Japanese borrowed scenery gardens, a few relate to the seventeenth century salon of Emperor Go Mizunoo. A study of these gardens indicates indeed that there is much more at stake than a formal continuity of space. Topography, natural, and man-made, defines these gardens; quite different from most other Japanese shakkei gardens where a distant view forms part of the garden scenery only, without concern for topography.




Wybe Kuitert is a researcher, writer, and university professor of landscape history and architecture. After his studies in the Netherlands (Wageningen University), research in Kyoto (Kyoto University and International Research Center for Japanese Studies), and his term at the Kyoto University of Art and Design, Japan, he is presently tenured professor at the Graduate School of Environmental Studies, Seoul National University, South Korea. He lectured at Collège International de Philosophie Paris, China Architecture Association Architecture History Council, UNESCO in Nara, the universities of Alnarp, ENSP de Versailles, Harvard at Dumbarton Oaks, Leiden, Paris 8, Sarajevo, Sheffield, Torino, Wuhan, and others.

Presently he is also: Guest Professor Graduate School, Kyoto University of Art and Design (KUAD), Japan

/ Chief Researcher, Research Center for Japanese Garden Art and Historical Heritage, (KUAD) / Landscape Architect, Principal, BNT-licensed National Architects Register Netherlands / Team Researcher at the International Research Center of Japanese Studies, Kyoto, Japan / Member Japan Institute of Landscape Architecture (JILA Research Prize 2007), Tokyo, Japan / Professional member Netherlands Association for Landscape Architecture (NVTL), Amsterdam, Netherlands / Member Netherlands Association of Japanese Studies (NGJS), Leiden, Netherlands / Member Netherlands Garden History Society Cascade, Netherlands.