Ji Cheng's great work on garden design, the Yuan Ye or Craft of Gardens, was originally published around 1631 and is the earliest manual of landscape gardening in the Chinese tradition. This is the first complete English translation of Ji Cheng's seminal work.
This delightful book provides not only insights into Chinese gardening but also a unique perspective on Chinese culture and society in the late Ming dynasty. Full notes by the translator explain obscure points and introduce relevant aspects of Chinese culture, while an introduction by Maggie Keswick sets the book firmly in its historical context. Illustrations include not only Ji Cheng's original diagrams but also historical paintings and contemporary photographs of a number of outstanding gardens in the part of East China where Ji Cheng lived and worked.
Ji Cheng was a practicing garden designer in the first half of the 17th century. He designed gardens for several well-known individuals in the late Ming dynasty, who supported the original publication of this book.
Alison Hardie, a graduate of Oxford and Edinburgh Universities, began to translate The Craft of Gardens in the 1980s. She is a Senior Lecturer in Chinese Studies at the University of Leeds, and internationally known as a scholar of Chinese garden history.
Zhong Ming is an artist whose work has been exhibited in many countries including China, France, the UK, Japan and Sweden. He divides his time between China, France and the UK.
"This book offers a view into a strange and delightful world with characteristics worth emulating."—The Atlantic
"[Ji Cheng's] delightful "how-to-do-it" manual, published around 1631, is here put in historical context by Maggie Keswick in her foreword, while Alison Hardie provides an accurate and readable translation, a scholarly preface and a wealth of necessary endnotes based on the work of the modern Chinese editors."—Times Literary Supplement
"Ji Cheng's book, beautifully translated and illustrated, gives a wonderful insight into the Chinese concept of what a garden should be and shows how, in the late Ming dynasty, the planning and ownership of a garden was a way of life. Alison Hardie's excellent notes lead you through this exquisite back door into the high culture of 17th century China."—The Garden: Journal of the Royal Horticultural Society
"This delightful book provides not only insights into Chinese garden design but also a unique perspective on Chinese culture and society in late Ming times. Garden designers and historians alike can learn much from it."—Garden Design Journal
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