The Design Process: Stylized Forms (Yo) and Modeling After (МапаЫ)

The term “yd” appears repeatedly throughout the text of Sakuteiki, referring to stylized forms in which each of the six compositional elements can be rendered to express “the natural landscape.” “Yd” has a broad range of nuances and is used in Sakuteiki to indicate form or shape (sometimes also indicated by the term “kata”), definitive style, and/or appearance, air, or state. Examples of the key uses of “yd” and “kata” are shown in boldface in the excerpts below:

The dry landscape [form] .. .31

… some charming mood such as of a mountain vil­lage.. ,32

Various Styles for Landscape Gardens. The Ocean Style, the River Style, the Mountain Stream Style, the Pond Style, the “Reed-hand” Style, and so on.33

That there are various styles of landscape designs by the placement of stones does not mean all such styles should be applied in one garden work. However, depending on the aspect of the pond and the lay of the ground, at times different styles may be com­bined in making one water landscape… Thus it all depends on each circumstance. Uninformed persons often speak about the specific style by which this or that garden was made, but such talk is quite odd.34

About the Various Shorelines of Ponds and Rivers. The Spade and Hoe Shapes .. .’5

About the Various Types of the Pond Island Landscape. They are: the Hill Island, the Field Island, the Forest Island, the Rocky-Shore Island, the Cloud Shape, the Running Stream Type, the Ebb-tide Beach Style, the Pine-bark Pattern, and so on.36

About the Various Manners of Falling. Facing Falling, One Way Falling, Running Falling, Leaping Falling, Corner Falling, Linen Falling, Compound Falling, Left and Right Falling, Side Falling.37

There are various forms of waterfalls.. .38

[Y]ou should use such wild-flower plants as the Chinese Bellflower, the Patrinia, the Burnet, Plantain Lily, and the like.39

Подпись: 11А garden landscape composed solely of clipped shrubs, Daichiji, Shiga Prefecture.

In the stone setting work there are also such meth­ods as the Lapping Joints, the Tilted Hat Wearing [Form], the Table Form and the Tub Setting.™

In [the Ocean Style], first construct the scene of a rough seashore

… This makes the waterfall appear, when seen from a distance, as though it were falling out of the mountain rocks."12

… [T]he falls will look like a hanging sheet of cloth.13

… thus presenting a view that looks as though a number of threads were hanging.14

… but when seen from some distance it looks like a meaningless pile of stones… [Y]ou should place the stones [so as] not to present a poor view when seen from some distance.45

All uses of “yd” in the Sakuteiki relate to visual garden making techniques. The use of “yd” or “kata” establishes a stylized form of a compositional element as a definitive style.

Intermediating between stylized forms (yd) and the act of “design [ing] your garden with the mood of harmony,” (that is, implementing the design), is a learning/ideation
stage—the process of “studying and modeling after” a sub­ject. The practical aspect of learning (manabi) the art of gar­den making, or any of the traditional Japanese arts, requires repeated simulation of existing models; thus “studying” and “modeling after” are by Japanese terms inextricably linked.

For the widened portions of the pond and the island shores, the ocean style is [studied and] used [mana­bi], while the aforementioned “reed-hand” style maybe [studied and] applied [manabi] to the soft landscape of hillside fields.46

In the case of a man-made landscape garden, since only the best parts of the places are studied and modelled after [manabi], meaningless stones and features are seldom provided along with man’s work.47

… [T]he people of China always build artificial fountains, and place the stand simulating (manabi) the Isle of Eternal Youth…4S

Based on yd, or stylistic forms, “studying and modeling after” calls for a profound understanding that facilitates transposition from nature’s existing form to the garden form to be implemented.

The Design Process: Stylized Forms (Yo) and Modeling After (МапаЫ)

The Design Process: Stylized Forms (Yo) and Modeling After (МапаЫ)12 Stones placed in a pond landscape to simulate a rough seashore, Motsuji, Iwate Prefecture.

Since the stones in the pond landscape are placed to simulate a seascape, be sure to install the “deep- rooted rock” and the “wave-repelling stone” in the scenery.49

Here the prototype of the pond is the sea, and the most essential aspect in implementing the yd is indicated as providing a “deep-rooted rock” and a “wave-repelling stone.” These two elements are key to expressing the essence of the scene. Likewise, the proper means of expressing a scene of a rough seashore (Figure 12) is prescribed as:

… placing there some pointed rocks in a casual­looking manner. Then place a sequence of rocks from the shore toward the offing, making them appear as though the rocks had grown out of the same bedrock extending from the shore. There should be a few rocks isolated from the rest.50

The stylized forms {yd) were based on existing forms of nature, which—according to the third overall principle— the designer should “make his own” and “model after the general air of,” that is acquire an internalized understand­
ing of them and express them in essence. The implemen­tation should be “designed] with the mood of harmony.” Above all, however, the prototype being expressed must be evident.

None of these stylized forms {yo) faithfully reproduces nature in its existing form; instead, each extracts a certain form or air that can be said to exist within nature and, in re-creating it, intensifies and transposes it. Fundamentally abstract in character, this stylization became a primary factor in the development of Japanese gardens thereafter, remaining at the core of the various garden styles that later emerged.

The commonly recognized prototypes of these stylized forms {yo) are not contingent upon scale. In the process of implementing these styles, where scale comes into play, a variety of interpretations emerge to accommodate dif­ferent existing conditions. Thus, for each stylized form there are a myriad of interpretations. Creativity and indi­viduality manifest in the design process, albeit within the confines of the prototype.

The styles and forms passed down from master to apprentice, known as densho (transmitted traditions),

kuden (oral transmissions), and hiden (secret transmis­sions), were also created within the framework of the pro­totype. It is precisely because all design refinements are implemented within the format of a stylized form (yd) that the prototype is commonly recognizable. The design­er’s interpretation will ultimately be subject to the view­er’s ability to comprehend it; thus it must clearly reflect the prototype.

“Recalling,” “thinking over,” and “studying/modeling after” are steps in the design process that lead from proto­type to interpretation, and from stylized form to imple­mented form. Sakuteiki summarizes the prototype of the Heian garden as “the natural landscape” and “famous places of scenic beauty” and outlines the design process as “recall­ing your memories of how nature presented itself for each feature” and “think[ing| over the famous places of scenic beauty throughout the land, and by making your own that which appeals to you most, design your garden with the mood of harmony, modeling after the general air of such places.” More specific comments such as “[T]he ocean style is used,” or “the ‘reed-hand’ style may be applied” are suggestions of design solutions. The term “modeling after,” as seen for instance in Jikkinsho’s description of the Sukechika residence, “ [ m ] odeled after Amanohashidate in Tango, the island in the center of the pond is elongated and planted with young pines,” refers not to a totally real­istic depiction of nature, but rather to a process of con­veying its essence by extracting a stylized form, or what Sakuteiki refers to as “modeling after the general air of such places.” “Designing with the mood of harmony” calls for imbuing an interpretation with originality and cre­ativity. The reference to the model—for instance, Amano­hashidate—must however be manifestly clear.

The terms “recalling,” “modeling after,” and “being mani­festly clear,” in fact describe successive steps in the Japanese garden-making process—a process in which stylized forms are extracted from nature in its existing form and then transposed to create interpretations that also fulfill the func­tional criteria of specific architectural forms and gardens.

Updated: September 25, 2015 — 4:38 am